Since the 80’s there have been two major obstacles in trying to significantly improve customer satisfaction. Firstly, the lack of structured insight to focus on the right things, secondly the lack of funding and engagement from the C-suite.

The first can now be solved by performance management solutions and advanced voice of customer programmes. These systems continually forward actionable insight across organisations making sure customer experience is improved not just in contact centres but across any part of the customer journey.

The second is trickier. We have seen improvements in the form of share analysts monitoring quoted companies’ results using independent benchmarking studies such as the Bright Index, realising there is a correlation between well run customer service departments and profits (via improved retention and sales). We’ve also seen the emergence of chief customer officers taking board positions and directors starting to own all aspects of the customer journey. However, as consumers we still face broken processes and difficulty getting help from our suppliers. A lack of urgency remains.

In addition to Which? and other organisations publicly listing poor performers, we recently saw the launch of the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) publishing banks’ service quality metrics for the first time, which were subsequently covered in most broadsheets.

Prospective banking customers will now be able to easily identify how well banks are performing, and make their choice based on metrics such as the Net Promoter Score. This as part of CMA’s “Making banks work harder for you” initiative.

At Bright we welcome this; as any pressure on companies to focus and spend more on treating customers fairly can only be a good thing. As long as the method of scrutinising the companies are fair and robust.

In 2016 Bright raised eyebrows when publishing a press release on the banking and insurance sectors scoring highest out of millions of cross-sector surveys. Amongst the worst performers in the CMA’s list we have benchmarked departments that were best in class, and vice versa. A sample of 16,000 surveys may sound a lot but broken down to company and division level it drops to hundreds. So, depending if it’s a mortgage, credit card, current account etc. you are after, the published tables could be misguiding since they are potentially too broad. Does this matter though if it’s forcing the ranked companies to focus and spend more on CX? Perhaps not. There should be more transparency on the bluntness behind the headlines though.

How to achieve higher scores in the public tables
Bright’s Average client NPS score is around 50 which is significantly higher than average, mainly due to clients putting in place three measures.

1. Accountability.
If negative customer feedback is not broken down to contact centre agent, branch, service area or whoever is behind the feedback, the company will not be able to drive change. Adding alerts for bad scores will also support performance management as well as the customer retention process.

2. Monitor the full customer journey / look beyond customer service.
A company is only as strong as their weakest link so make sure there is full visibility of all channels and touchpoints. Dissatisfaction arises outside of contact centres in the majority of cases, but we pay dearly to handle it there.

Put text analytics in place enabling you to present the COO with “Top 10 customer gripes” and have him/her stop other departments doing stupid things to your customers. Add a question to your transactional surveys asking, “Did you try and solve your query online/ in app before you called us?”, and you will see that there are £M’s wasted on malfunctioning self-service features.

3. Link customer feedback with performance and employee engagement.
You will be amazed by the additional insight you get from correlation analysis of the three. FCA also approves of this way of measuring productivity since it includes customer satisfaction.

At Bright we will try and help by advising industry and government bodies on what actually drives customer satisfaction, and how to make sure companies are measured robustly and fairly.