As anyone with teenage children knows, “hearing” and “listening” aren’t always the same thing. Customers today are more demanding than ever, and they tell the companies with which they do business quite a lot. Whether those companies are actually listening is another story entirely.
Most companies do some type of customer service survey on occasion, but most don’t do it often enough or intensively enough. If customers are leaving transactions with a company with a bad taste in their mouths, it’s in the company’s best interest to find out why. Not only can the contact center correct the problem, but it can help “defuse” the customer and avoid a scenario in which he or she airs the grievance in front of a few thousand friends on social media.
Whether a customer has had a bad experience, a mediocre experience or a good experience, it’s in a company’s best interest to give the customers a way to express their feelings right after the customer service situation –and not wait for days or till the next yearly customer satisfaction survey is due, according to a recent blog post by Kirsi Tarvainen for SAP’s (News - Alert) Customer Edge.
“For contact centers there are two quick and easy ways to do this: an SMS survey sent after the call and post-call IVR,” writes Tarvainen. “In the post-call IVR survey option, the customers will be routed to an IVR service where they can give feedback right after the call.”
Immediate feedback can do a number of things. It can help the company correct the problem so that other customers aren’t experiencing it. It can salvage the customer relationship with the complaining customer so that he or she doesn’t turn into an ex-customer. It can help calm that customer and turn the relationship around so he or she doesn’t head immediately to Facebook (News - Alert) to report that your company stinks. (Instead, the Facebook post could be about a company that cares.)
It’s critical, however, that you do it right, and keep it short and sweet, or customers simply won’t use the feedback vehicles. You’re not there to record your customer’s entire history with your company, just to pinpoint a problem.
“Don't bore your customer with long questionnaires: concentrate on the essential questions and give the option for free feedback,” writes Tarvainen.
Once you’ve pinpointed the problem, take action. If the customer has recounted a misunderstanding or an error on the part of the contact center, contact him or her and straighten the problem out. If the problem is more abstract – “I waited on hold for too long,” for example – and this is becoming common feedback from other customers, it’s time to adjust the schedules and ensure there are enough agents on staff. If complaints are pouring in about your products and services, this information needs to escalate up to the company’s executive layer.
You may be recording your contact center’s calls today – most companies do, to some extent – but unless you’re really listening to customers instead of just hearing them, you’re not doing much to improve their experiences.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson