Businesses today need to be able to analyse and interpret their customer experience in real-time and then adapt their response to effect positive change. The faster they can do it – the more agile the company is – generally the better their performance.
Remembering that customer experience is how a customer feels about you based on every interaction they have with you, it follows then that customer experience managers need direct customer feedback to measure the effects of their efforts to improve customer perceptions.
Feedback highlights what customers think you’re doing well, what you could be doing better and, in some cases, even how you could be doing better.
I’ve written previously about some of the guidelines to follow when implementing a Voice of the Customer program. This post adds to that original list with five more suggestions to help you get the most out of listening to the Voice of the Customer.
1. Actively Listen
Customers won’t always want to provide feedback at the time you send them a survey. But conversely, there’ll be times they’ll want to let you know their thoughts (for example, after they received great service from one of your customer service representatives) and there won’t be a survey presented to them for them to do it. For this reason it’s important to survey after every interaction. In addition to this, for the situations where there hasn’t been an interaction, you need active listening posts. These could include a discreet feedback tab on your website, a phone number on your company vehicles, or a web link on your user guides. We are all very busy, so make it easy for your customers to share their thoughts with you.
2. Optimise The Survey Experience
With survey response rates generally hovering between 5% and 20%, it’s important companies do what they can to optimise the survey experience. Every extra completed survey you receive provides you with greater customer insight. Customers are much more likely to provide feedback if you survey them via the same channel through which they’ve had an interaction with you. Sometimes that may be difficult, for example in a retail setting. The key is to make it as easy as possible. Many retailers now use a kiosk or iPad asking a single question with graphics-based response buttons similar to those in Figure 1.
3. Determine Drivers
If you are using a metric such as Net Promoter Score or Customer Effort Score, correlate the scores you’re getting with other data to help understand the drivers that affect those scores. An e-business might consider website downtime, a help desk – spending on staff, a technology company – product defection rates. Understanding the reasons why customers rate you as they do allows you to conduct regression analysis to predict what impact a variable will have on your chosen metric. Using the technology company example, regression analysis could uncover that reducing product defection rates by 10% will, with a fair degree of certainty, lead to a 2-point increase in their NPS.
In a business-to-business environment, it makes sense to give your more strategic customers – those that spend more with you and/or have been with you the longest – a louder voice. Segment your customer base by profitability and give priority to fixing the issues that cause your more profitable customers to defect. Losing those customers is going to hurt your business more than losing a customer who only buys once from you.
5. Close the Loop
How many companies currently do this? In my experience it’s very, very few and it’s such a critical part of the process. 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 update on your website, an outbound telemarketing campaign or above the line advertising: “you told us X so here’s what we’ve done…”.