Seek and mea­sure cus­tomer feed­back

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE - Mys­tery shop­ping — Ob­ser­va­tion — One-to-ones and fo­cus groups — Sug­ges­tion box — Sur­veys — NET PRO­MOTER SCORE (NPS) POST-FEED­BACK COR­REC­TIVE AC­TIONS

Some or­gan­i­sa­tions mea­sure their ser­vice by the num­ber of com­plaints that they get. If the num­ber is re­duc­ing, that of course is a good mea­sure. But that as­sumes that ev­ery cus­tomer that has a bad ex­pe­ri­ence will ac­tu­ally tell you. Here are some other means to mea­sure your cus­tomer’s ex­pe­ri­ence.

This is a ser­vice that is pro­vided by an ex­ter­nal ser­vice provider. Ques­tions are agreed in ad­vance that re­flect a great cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. The agency usu­ally has a panel of con­trac­tors or pro­fes­sional shop­pers who are then re­quested to carry out an agreed num­ber of in­ter­ac­tions with your busi­ness. The scores are then col­lated and pre­sented back to the client.

Once the ser­vice has been de­fined, agreed, and com­mu­ni­cated to all, man­agers should take time out ev­ery now and then to sim­ply ob­serve how cus­tomers are be­ing spo­ken to and treated by front-line per­son­nel. Af­ter ob­serv­ing, man­agers should then fol­low up with the col­league and give them feed­back, re­gard­less of whether it is good or bad.

Mak­ing proac­tive con­tact with a cus­tomer and ask­ing them “how do you feel about our ser­vice to­day?” or “how could we im­prove our ser­vice for you?” is very ef­fec­tive. Di­rect and im­me­di­ate feed­back is valu­able if done with au­then­tic­ity. Cus­tomers will im­me­di­ately recog­nise you gen­uinely want to know how they feel and will give you es­sen­tial feed­back.

Fo­cus groups will do the same thing. But be care­ful as if they are not fa­cil­i­tated, they can be­come very neg­a­tive. Pick can­di­dates that are in­di­vid­ual in thought that don’t just go along with oth­ers be­cause they don’t want to be dis­agree­able.

A sug­ges­tion box is good for get­ting quick and short com­ments. They typ­i­cally ask a short few ques­tions about the ex­pe­ri­ence. The mix of ques­tions vary and there is no uni­ver­sal pat­tern to them. But there is one ques­tion that will have the most value to you! And it is this… “Mr/ms cus­tomer, thank you for shop­ping/din­ing/stay­ing with us to­day. We try hard to give you the best ex­pe­ri­ence we can. What is the one thing we could im­prove on in the fu­ture?”. That will fo­cus the cus­tomer and they will more than likely give you a valu­able com­ment.

Sur­veys are a struc­tured way of get­ting the cus­tomer’s writ­ten views on their ex­pe­ri­ence, us­ing a struc­tured set of ques­tions that mir­rors their ex­pe­ri­ence at key touch points. For B2C or­gan­i­sa­tions that will in­clude the whole shop­ping/din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. For B2BS, that should in­clude all touch-points form the time of order­ing all the way through to de­liv­er­ies.

Sur­veys are a pow­er­ful way of iden­ti­fy­ing strengths and weak­nesses in your propo­si­tion and will help you to im­prove. Net pro­moter score (NPS) is a new way of mea­sur­ing cus­tomer loy­alty and is widely adopted by large and small cor­po­ra­tions around the globe. NPS is cal­cu­lated based on re­sponses to a sin­gle ques­tion… “How likely is it that you would rec­om­mend xxxx prod­uct/ser­vice to a friend or col­league?”. This ques­tion is con­sid­ered to be the most im­por­tant ques­tion, as af­ter all, cus­tomers are un­likely to rec­om­mend their bad ex­pe­ri­ences to their friends. The NPS score gives you a sense of how the cus­tomer is feel­ing af­ter their in­ter­ac­tion. It doesn’t give you the rea­son why, so other ques­tions are of course crit­i­cal to es­tab­lish their rea­sons. Hav­ing a way of mea­sur­ing what your cus­tomers think of you en­ables you to take cor­rec­tive ac­tion ac­cord­ingly. If you don’t take ac­tion, then what’s the point in mea­sur­ing?

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