Customer Satisfaction- A How to Guide
Quality is what the Customer says it is
Intuitively we know that better service and higher satisfaction is good for our business, but why is this often very difficult to put into practice? There are a number of factors that contribute to challenge organizations. These include;
· Difficulty in hitting a moving target- Customers are a fickle lot at times and what they want will shift. This makes it difficult to get an accurate and current picture of the actions and attributes that will result in improved Customer Satisfaction.
· Difficulty in measuring Customer Satisfaction. Annual or semi-annual omnibus satisfaction surveys are fine and can be a helpful tool in assessing overall customer satisfaction, but these surveys too often confuse issues of product quality with service quality and fail to adequately differentiate amongst the different channels through which service quality can be delivered ( branch, call center, web, email, distributors etc.). The result is a report that often is too vague and infrequent to be actionable.
As a result of the above challenges many organizations have created internal ‘Customer service quality metrics’ to act as a substitute for ‘real’ customer satisfaction. We must remember however that ‘Quality is whatever the customer says it is’, so internal quality metrics, disconnected from the customer are often doomed to fail.
When you care enough to give the very best service
So what is an operator to do when faced with ineffective internal systems and an absence good ‘real’ customer satisfaction data? The following points will outline some of the options available to improve your measurement and ability to act upon ‘real’ customer satisfaction data;
1. Start to sample Customer Satisfaction on a Monthly basis. This can be done in a number of ways;
a. Mail out surveys to your customers who called the Contact Center each month,
b. Call back your customers who have called the contact center an administer a Satisfaction survey,
c. Send email questionnaires to customers who were served via the web or email,
d. Enable your IVR to administer a post call survey to callers when they call into your center.
Whether you do one or more of the above ensure that the questions their structure and content is the same across all channels.
Remember a third party will have more credibility and be less likely to lead the customer and/or skew the results than if completed ‘in-house’.
2. Ensure your survey design will deliver actionable results. The design should focus narrowly on their experience…don’t ask them about your web site unless they have visited it. This also means that it must focus on what is important to the customer, for a contact center satisfaction survey you should include;
a. Was their inquiry handled to their satisfaction?
b. Was their problem/challenge corrected?
c. Was it resolved on the first attempt?
d. Were they transferred?
e. Were they put on Hold?
f. Would they recommend your company to friends?
g. Have they recommended your company to friends?
h. You must design the survey to get specific positive/negative feedback for some of the questions. A four point scale for describing satisfaction is more effective than a five point scale as it forces them to deliver a positive or negative message.
Generally the survey will feature 20-25 questions in total, any larger and you will limit response.
3. Provide input into the annual omnibus survey that will ask the same questions (in the same way) that you have been asking in the monthly survey. This will add value to the overall process and will ensure that the Omnibus results are relevant to the contact center.
4. Share your results with management. Visibility regarding the satisfaction your center is achieving from your customers perspective in more powerful than internal quality observations. This can also assist you to build business cases for technology, process, people or methodology changes that will improve customer satisfaction.
5. Act upon the results you achieve. One of the most common shifts that occur with contact centers once they begin to study and understand the importance of customer satisfaction is a move away from quantitative metrics to qualitative metrics. Metrics are the numbers and reports you employ each day to run your center. If you are primarily looking at ASA, GOS, Abandon rate, AHT, Occupancy, these are quantitative measures. They tell what was done, but not how well it was done. Adding qualitative measures such as First Call Resolution, Active referrals, transfer and hold reports will help you improve your alignment to attaining increased Customer satisfaction from your customers.
This article has barely scratched at the opportunities and positive benefits that can accrue to a contact center that is focused on the satisfaction of their customers. We all get complaints and some customers are never satisfied, but if we abdicate our responsibility to improving the overall satisfaction our customers will vote with their feet