Over the past few weeks I’ve been reading about customer service in Fred Reichheld’s book “The Ultimate Question.”  In the book, he explains why there is only one question that matters when we consider how we pursue good profits and true growth.  As I’ve read his research and ideas, I’ve applied it to the foster care industry and specifically the way we treat our families.

Is there only one question that can tell everything you need to know about how your customers feel about you?  It sounds preposterous, but I believe that there is.

A New Application of an Old Rule

Reichheld’s suggested key to good profits and true growth sounds much like the Golden Rule, “Treat others as you would like to be treated”.  The one question that tells us everything focuses on creating customers (in our case foster families), who are so satisfied with how they are treated that they bring their friends and their relatives into the agency.

Here it is…

The one question that tells everything about how we treat our families is, “Would you recommend us to a friend?”

It may seem too simple for those of us who think we must have a complicated scheme to have great customer service, but I’ve always found that simple is better.  Everyone involved in foster care recruitment already knows that recommendations from our existing families are significant contributors to reaching and engaging new families.  The data in my agency shows that number right at 30%.

The Satisfaction Factor

This one question leads to many other related questions. It forces us to look at the satisfaction factor.  Do our families feel served, supported and that we are aware of and attentive to their needs?  These related questions point foster agencies at specific issues we need to address and fix if we are interested, not just in retaining families, but in creating foster parents who actively recommend our agency to others.

If the answer to the “one question” is not “yes”, then we have work to do.  If the answer is “yes”, we need to be thankful and pursue ways we can maintain this high quality of service to our families.

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