The success of any service organization depends on continuous improvement, and the key to improvement is found through listening to the voice of the customer via direct surveys. There are numerous methods available to collect customer feedback, which include e-mail, SMS text, IVR, live phone, web-site surveys, live chat surveys, and more… Each organization must experiment with these methods and develop its own tailored way of best capturing the customer’s voice.

The following are some key Best Practices that will help you optimize the customer feedback survey process of your organization:

  • Map out your customer touch points, i.e. your customer’s journey through your contact functions. Gathering feedback on each touch point will help identify the points of success or failure.
  • Understand and differentiate among the three specific types of surveys deployed by contact centers so that they can be utilized appropriately. They are:
    • Specific purpose surveys – generally a one-time survey that asks a specific question about a contact center operation such as hours of operation, etc.
    • Periodic surveys – these are usually used to gauge customer perceptions around a specific issue. These types of surveys are more process related than transaction specific. For example, how the customer perceives the company’s contact center-based billing processes, etc.
    • Transaction-based survey – tied to a specific interaction. It is the most popular and useful type of survey for contact centers as it measures customer satisfaction following their transaction with the call center. To be effective, these surveys should be done immediately after the customer interaction to gather honest and accurate feedback.
  • Avoid “survey exhaustion” – – don’t create long surveys that cause customers to opt out, or that fail to measure the customer’s perception of their last interaction with the call center. Resist Marketing’s efforts to muddy your surveys with their questions! Also, avoid surveying customers more than once every 60 – 90 days.
  • Avoid redundancy – don’t ask questions that are answered through other processes. For example, the reasons why a customer called, or the number of times the customer called, etc. as technology often captures these data points.
  • Survey processes that offer a high level of customer interaction achieve the highest response rates. Best case scenarios are: live phone surveys (up to 60%); IVR (30% – 50%); live chat (25% – 50%); email (5% – 10%); “snail mail” (1%)
  • As cost-to-value is important, organizations should consider the benefits of lower cost methods, such as e-mail (under $0.25 per completed survey) or post-call IVR surveys ($0.25 – $1.00) as opposed to live surveys ($14.00 to $17.00 per completed survey).
  • Critical questions that should be included in your customer feedback surveys are:
    • What can we do to improve your overall customer service experience?
    • Based on this interaction, how likely are you to recommend our center to a family member or friend, in order to resolve an issue?
  • Don’t penalize agents for poor scores received due to issues that are beyond their control. These include policy standards, marketing issues, manufacturing issues and their likes.
  • It’s not just the contact center that is responsible for customer satisfaction; therefore it is important that the customer satisfaction team should share its insights with sales, marketing and other teams within the organization.

Tip of the Month: Cultural differences have an impact on how customers respond to satisfaction surveys in terms of participation rates and the ratings given. These differences should be identified and considered before making important decisions based upon their responses.

This CallTalk Caramel was compiled and edited by Bruce Belfiore and Kamál Webb. It was drawn from a CallTalk episode with Joe Ordyna, entitled “Optimizing Customer Satisfaction Measurement”. To listen to the archived episode click play below:



calltalk-caramelsCallTalk is a monthly internet radio program featuring the most innovative managers and thought leaders in the customer contact field, interviewed by BenchmarkPortal CEO, Bruce Belfiore. “Caramels” distills “Aha!” moments from these interviews into practical, bite-sized nuggets to inform and assist you as a contact center professional.

Topics: CallTalk Caramels, Contact Center Articles, Caller Satisfaction, Best Practices