A successful customer experience strategy relies on knowing what your customers really think, and being able to convert the feedback into actions.

Over the last five years the contact centre industry has seen a significant shift in its focus to deliver exceptional customer service.  The rising expectation of consumers when interacting with their bank, utility provider or retailer has shaped how companies approach service delivery.

Social media enables consumers to leave a constant stream of views about companies and their offerings. With the risk of the feedback going viral and potentially influencing hundreds of prospective customers negatively it is crucial that you find out what your customers think and to do it fast.

Gathering reliable customer insight is a science.  Mats Renstam, MD at Bright, explains. “Many contact centres have deployed some form of customer survey tool, but the chances are it is not providing a true reflection of the views of your customer.  As a result, when the results are used to shape your customer experience strategy, the real issues impacting the quality of your service delivery are not addressed.”

“Here are my top tips on getting real actionable customer insight that will help you drive your customer experience strategy in the right direction.”

1. Check how you are using the information

It is far too easy to set up a series of questions, invite customers to respond, record all the responses and then do nothing with them.  If you’re asking your customers to take time to give you feedback, ensure every question has a value, and that the results are actionable.

2. Deploy non-intrusive surveys to avoid survey fatigue

For example, avoid pop-up windows on your website and instead opt for floating widgets.  Only send one reminder when a survey has been emailed.  And for phone contact, offer the survey immediately after the interaction.

3. Keep your survey short and simple

A benchmark for IVR surveys is two minutes, and no more than 6-7 questions regardless of channel.

4. Gather a minimum of 20 surveys per staff per month

The key to changing customer experience is to change the behaviour of your staff.  Setting a target of a minimum of 20 surveys per advisor per month will provide sufficient evidence for them to learn from, and a large enough pool of data to assess and measure team improvements.

5. Avoid manual cherry picking that skews the results

For example, in a manual approach, select a day when all customers will be offered the survey, with no exceptions.  Alternatively, automate a call back for ten seconds after the call, excluding those that have already been surveyed.

6. Promote your customer care strategy online

Being transparent by describing your customer care journey on a page on your website will make your customers feel appreciated and involved, strengthening the relationship between your business and the customer.  This is also a powerful marketing asset.

7. Survey your customers even if you only interact once a year

For some businesses, an interaction with a customer may only be once a year, for example for an insurance renewal.  These could still be valued customers and their opinion is critical, so you may want to survey based on the time since last interaction.

Many organisations have learned a lot about their customers from deploying a survey tool.  However, poor sample sizes, irrelevant survey scripts, bad timing and channel use can all result in threatening your customer relationship.