Customer feedback is only worthwhile when it is used to change behaviors within the organization to improve the customer experience. Yet most companies find it challenging to design and implement a truly effective customer voice program that adheres to best practices from beginning to end.   Some of the reasons include poor survey design (very important!), technology issues that surround survey administration and data collection, and a lack of clear focus and direction on  how the data shall be used.

Our experts say that surveys and their associated processes should be reliable, credible and actionable:

  • Reliable – Are you collecting data in an unbiased way? Is the survey itself large enough to give you meaningful information? Is it scientifically sound? Do you need some expert assistance to validate your survey and methodology?
  • Actionable – For a feedback survey to be actionable the data set must be rich enough to connect cause to effect (i.e. this is why the customers called, and these were the outcomes). This means:
    • developing short but sufficiently detailed questionnaires in which you can ask people about specific things that happened
    • tying transaction records to the call and agent
    • building recovery processes that act in direct response to incidents tracked

Bottoming out causation of problem points  is very important.  It helps point out things that companies can change by taking appropriate actions:

      • What are you doing with your customers when they called?
      • What kind of agents are they speaking with?
      • How well are those agents chosen and trained?
      • What are the processes involved (including IVR processes)?

Also determine the effects that result, including:

      • How does the customer feel about their experience: happy, satisfied, sad, frustrated, angered, or confused?
      • Are they going to complain?
      • Are they going to buy again?
      • What information, either positive or negative, are they going to tell their friends

In addition to a survey being reliable, actionable and credible, attention should be given to strategic vs. the tactical elements involved. At a strategic level you should be following a well-constructed plan and be able to track your overall trends. How are things changing month-to-month and quarter-to- quarter? What impact did the implementation of new systems have on the customer experience?

In terms of being tactical, what is being done to communicate survey feedback to the front line so that agents can act upon it. Who must hear the feedback first, the agent, the supervisor? How quickly can complaints be fed back and pro-actively resolved.

The integrity of the survey administration process is also critically important. Best practices dictate that the surveys should be randomly administered, and thus agents should not have control over which callers to put into the survey tool.  When agents are made responsible for putting people into the survey, results can become biased, as agents will only transfer callers they think will supply survey responses that put them in a good light.

A well-designed voice-of-the-customer program can have extremely positive impacts on your processes and overall performance. Leverage this powerful tool to improve your center.  Let us know if we can be of help.

Tip of the Day for those using customer feedback interviews: For coaching, use the “Did you hear?” approach. Sit with the agent and play sequentially the recording of a customer feedback interview and then the recording of the original customer experience. By playing the interview first the coach can then play the original call and ask the agent if he or she can identify the points to which the customer is referring in the feedback.

This CallTalk Caramel was compiled and edited by Bruce Belfiore and Kamál Webb. It was drawn from a CallTalk episode with Peter Leppik, entitled “Customer Satisfaction: Acting on the Voice of the Customer, Using Feedback to Improve Service & Loyalty”.  To listen to the entire episode click on this link: Voice of the Customer

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: At-Home Agents, CallTalk Caramels, Contact Center Articles, Voice of the Customer, Customer Feedback