A cornerstone of any customer experience management program is the solicitation and receipt of customer feedback. To understand your customers you must engage with them and give them the opportunity to provide feedback. You then need to show that you listened to them and did something with what they told you.
Below are six guidelines to consider when implementing a customer feedback program.
Ask Why – Its great to get quantitative data but qualitative data increases the value of customer feedback exponentially. As an example, lets take the Net Promoter Score question: “On a scale of 1 to 10 how likely are you to recommend us to a friend?”. The answer enables the calculation of your company’s NPS score which allows you to benchmark but when you follow up that question with “Can you tell us why you gave us that score?” you gain real insight into the things your company is doing right and wrong and crucially makes the feedback actionable. Unless you’re going to do something with their feedback, there’s no point asking a customer for it in the first place.
Voice of the Customer – Customers will provide more feedback if they are able to speak it rather than type it so if one of your communication channels is a contact centre, record the voice of the customer. Not only will you receive a greater quantity of feedback but by listening to the captured verbatims you will hear the intonations the customer uses making the feedback richer. Customers are also much more likely to provide more honest feedback if they aren’t giving it to another human being so to get to the truth you need to automate the process.
Accuracy – Customer feedback accuracy declines over time. A 2006 Gartner report (“Implement Customer Satisfaction Processes to Improve Revenue”) determined that feedback collected immediately after an event is 40 per cent more accurate than feedback collected 24 hours after an event. It is therefore important to survey the customer as soon as possible after an interaction. As a separate point, you also need to survey customers on the channel upon which the interaction took place. If they called you, provide a post-call survey. If they visited your webpage, provide a web survey. If they contacted you via web chat… you get the picture.
Real Time – Company agility, the ability to adapt to change, relates directly to profitability. In an Economist Intelligence Unit survey from 2009, nearly 90% of executives surveyed believed that organisational agility was critical for business success. A key component of a company’s responsiveness to market forces is perceiving change. Company’s must receive unfiltered environmental information in a timely manner. This is especially critical in today’s hyperconnected world where brand value is created and destroyed literally in minutes. Agile companies collate, analyse and report on customer feedback in real time. Best in class contact centres can produce reports on the Top 5 issues affecting their traffic flows at any given time.
Close the Loop – Once you’ve actioned the insights that were distilled from the feedback your customers provided, go back to them and tell them what you did or did not do with what they told you. People are much more likely to provide feedback in future if they know their opinion was heard and responded to. This could be in the form of a newsletter, an outbound telemarketing campaign or above the line advertising: “you told us X so here’s what we’ve done…”.
Share It – Have the customer’s voice ring throughout the four walls of your organisation! Connect your entire business with the customer by sharing verbatims throughout the company. Hearing something direct from the customer’s mouth can have a huge impact on the development of your staff. Enabling the frontline staffmember with whom the customer had an interaction to comment on their feedback will also add another layer of richness to it. Back of house staff who do not regularly interact with customers are more likely to be customer centric if they understand how they support the CX strategy and then hear the results of their efforts.
A customer feedback program is most valuable when it produces accurate, timely, actionable insight and when that feedback is shared throughout the organisation. Do you have a feedback program in place today and how well does it comply with these 6 guidelines?
This post first appeared on the ICMI blog in February, 2022. I started my career in my early 20’s working
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