What’s your Star sign?
Whatever “it” is customers will have an opinion, but how to get to that opinion whilst avoiding the many challenges that present themselves in collecting customer feedback?
The simple obvious answer is to ask the customer, surely they are only too happy to give their opinion, apparently not as there are many challenges when collecting this feedback, including:-
- Survey fatigue; long boring and irrelevant surveys that appear to more of a marketing tool than any real interest in gathering feedback to improve the service levels
- Balance; getting to the truth beyond the emotion of the immediate elation or dissatisfaction to what actually made the customer feel the way they did about your service.
- Frequency; how often should the customers be surveyed? Too infrequently and the customers may well have forgotten, too frequently leads to Survey fatigue and irritation.
- Who, Should everyone be surveyed or should the business be selective? That then leads to who should be selected putting the business in danger of missing vital facts.
- Relevance, what should be asked about, keeping the survey short is essential but isn’t there a danger of missing some vital data points.
With the key question still remaining, how to ensure it’s the truth and about the product or service being provided and do we required quality or quantity?
Quantitative v Qualitative
We have all seen the Customer Satisfaction machines at airports, public toilets, shops, cafes etc. and probably pressed the buttons based on some immediate thought which may or may not have anything to do with the quality of the facility or service. So is what the machines reading adding any value?Statistically quite probably at a macro level, people are generally happy or not and a trend will emerge. However happy or not with what aspect of the facility, service or product and within what context?
Taking the airport as an example, is the sad face being pressed because the passenger had to wait too long, or the security staff were rude, or because it’s 6:30 on a January morning and the passenger is fed up as this is the 4th early morning trip in 5 weeks to some grey business location on some uncaring airline. Or the happy face because they’re off to some sunny exotic location at someone else’s expense and no matter how long the queues nothings is going to upset them. It’s important to find out more.
The same goes for the star ratings provided by your customers on your website or from email surveys, etc. what is driving a 2 or 3 verses a 5 star rating or vice versa. Is a constant 5 star output really helping your brand and what is it telling you about the survey?
There is some thinking that people will only respond to surveys if they have a really good or really poor experience. Some research by Marketing Charts found that “Bad Customer Service Interactions are more likely to be shared than good ones”, so it’s important that there is a good sample size across all customers and that its properly managed, so this shouldn’t be left to chance.
It is also important that customers know that as a brand you will actually do something with the information they have provided you so a positive difference is going to be made and seen in future.
There are several things to consider to make sure you have some real information to work from.
- What is the information really telling you?
- How to interpret what is being provided?
- All good doesn’t mean all is good…. Make sure you look into reasons
- What needs to be take notice of?
- What needs to be prioritised and focussed on?
Then follow up with your customers and employees, tell those surveyed and your employees what has been found and what will be done to change and improve, not forgetting to thank them for their participation..
To generalise whatever feedback is being received needs to be treated within the right context within a specific business area. Open terms like “How are we doing?” or “where could we improve?” are not likely to provide anything useful. It is important to focus in on a couple of areas and funnel the questions where possible to get a more layered response, remembering that individuals will take the course of least resistance and expect the survey / questionnaire to be brief and to the point.
Customer contact options
There are reams of documents and discussion papers about customer satisfaction and how to capture the feelings and emotions of customers as they go through the buying journey. Determining actionable information from the data is complex as it comes down to personal perception.
- Board of Advisors … cross section of customers / clients who are consulted about current activities and proposed changes.
- Surveys … post activity interaction either online, instore or mail instigated
- Email response …. Post activity interaction to respond via email
- Social …. This can be formal or informal via the many social media capabilities
- Survey Points … press button machines placed thought the place of business to capture customer or employee feeling
There are many options for capturing the levels of customer satisfaction with a few listed below, all have their value and costs as well as a strong reliance upon the customer’s willingness to cooperate. Many dissatisfied customers will just vote with their feet so don’t forget to ask the frontline employees what they think.