by: Ben Stephens, Service Strategies
Delivering service that achieves consistently high customer satisfaction over the long term is not easily accomplished. It requires focus, attention to detail and organizational discipline. Event surveys have provided service transaction feedback for many years and are a key component of an effective customer feedback process. Event surveys provide a good benchmark of customer satisfaction over time; however as improvements take affect the number of actionable events based on survey results diminishes. Service organizations need to drive beyond the traditional event survey process to develop a deeper understanding of customer satisfaction and the support processes that deliver it.
Valuable insights can be identified by targeting event surveys to particular customer and staff populations or case types. Targeting your audience for survey campaigns may require additional surveys. However, the results can provide additional insights into the customer’s experience.
The best opportunities for targeted surveys fall in three areas, surveying specific groups of customers, sub-groups of staff members and certain key case types. One example of targeting customer segments would include new customers or new contacts accessing the service organization for the first time. Targeting new customers provides valuable feedback on how well the support organization establishes its ‘first impression’ of the support experience. Seeking a higher survey rate for new customers can also provide insights into the transition to support process, through your professional services arm, a partner or through a self-installation. Other customer segments that may provide insights for your organization include strategic accounts, new markets, high usage customers or historically dissatisfied customers.
Providing immediate feedback to staff on their survey results is important to improving their service skills. It provides them with an understanding of how their behaviors affect customer satisfaction and they can immediately begin to correct their behavior. Most event survey sampling techniques provide between one to five cases per month for each staff member based on their case closure rate. However, some staff would benefit from a larger case sample over a shorter period. For example, targeting new staff members for a higher number of surveys will provide more timely and accurate results. Understanding the new hire survey results in aggregate can also provide feedback to improving new hire training programs. In addition, higher frequency sampling aids management in identifying poor behaviors early and take corrective steps to address them. New hires are the most obvious group to target, but others may include staff members in remedial programs to aid in their recovery and call coordinators because they have such a high contact rate with customers that their interactions have a larger impact on satisfaction. Providing targeted staff more frequent feedback gives both the staff members and the management team more opportunities to drive improvement in customer satisfaction.
Targeting specific case types can also be helpful in understanding support behavior across an organization while aiding in delivering consistent service levels. Targeting critical cases certainly offers an opportunity to understand how the organization performs when the customers are in most need of service. Critical case surveys provide valuable feedback on the most critical services provided while indicating to the customer that the support organization is committed to meeting their needs. Because critical cases are low volume, all critical cases should be surveyed. Using voice surveys for critical cases provides a more personal touch and identifies feedback that is more actionable. Other case types that may provide meaningful feedback include defects, beta cases, re-opened cases and cases in new product areas.
Customer feedback methods used by many support centers are not providing the value they did when they were first deployed. By targeting event surveys, new insights into customer and support organizational behaviors can be identified and leveraged to drive improvements in customer satisfaction and fewer case escalations.