Seek and measure customer feedback
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?