This guest post was written by Ben Motteram at CXpert. Ben helps SME businesses engage customers, increase loyalty, and grow by developing and implementing omni-channel customer feedback programs that produce actionable insight.
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 – 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 on customer perceptions. Customer feedback is the lifeblood of every good customer experience program. 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.
- Actively Listen
Customers won’t always want to provide feedback at the time you send them a survey. 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 in front of them to do it. For these situations, you need active listening posts for customers to provide ad-hoc comments. These could include a 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.
- Optimise Response Rates
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, my car is serviced by a dealership that mails surveys out to me a week after it is serviced because at the time I collect my car I don’t want to fill in another form. The key is to make it as easy as possible. Ideally my car service centre would provide a web link to reduce the effort it takes. Currently I have to write my answers, seal my feedback up in the envelope they provide and then deliver it to a post box to mail it back to them. A web link would make it easier for me and much more timely for them.
- Determine Drivers
If you are using a metric such as NPS (Net Promoter Score) or CES (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 – staff training spending, a technology company – product defection rates. Understanding the reasons why customers rate you as they do then 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 may 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.
- 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.“… you have to go back and tell these customers what you’ve done and let them know the reasons why you didn’t do something.”
– David Canty, Director, Loyalty and Partnership Marketing, JetBlue AirwaysPeople 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…”.