You hate your spouse’s selective hearing so why do it to your customers?

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You hate your spouse’s selective hearing so why do it to your customers?

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Earlier this week I attended a city council public hearing regarding the annual budget in my current hometown.  I won’t bore you with the details of why and how we came to have a $33.5 million budget deficit, but needless to say residents had some very strong opinions about the proposed solutions – increased property & wheel taxes and a 4.4% gross proceeds tax on restaurants.

Residents overfilled city hall and shared intimate stories of loss, hardship and frustration.  They took time out of their day to express their opinions and provide unique insights into their lives  – much like your customers do every day.

What was surprising to me was the veritable wall of silence and ignorance with which these opinions were met.  I understand that the purpose of such public hearings is to collect (not share) opinions, but the blank stares on the faces of a number of council members told me that for some, this was not a research effort designed to elicit a better plan for the city’s future but simply an exercise in futility for the attendees.  They asked because they had to ask.  How many of your customers would describe your customer experience research in the same way?

Are you listening AND engaging your customers?

customers-grade-the-callsIn order for your Customer Experience evaluation to truly be an effective tool for your organization, customers must feel that your organization values their input and plans to take their evaluation into consideration for coaching agents and improving company performance.  You can convey this to your customers in many ways:

  • Tell customers why

Tell customer why their input is important when you invite them to participate in your evaluation (“survey” for the low-skilled) –Customer Relationship Metrics’ business partners vary widely in the places and ways in which they inform customers of the the opportunity to grade the company and agent.  Some business partners play an IVR message about the evaluation to all customers, some play an IVR message for a randomly-selected portion of customers, some rely on their call center agents to inform and invite customers to evaluate their service experience.  Regardless of the approach you have chosen to take, the way you phrase the invitation has a lot to do with the response rate you receive.  If you take the time to inform customers why their evaluation is important and/or how it will be used, customers will be more likely to take valuable time out of their day to provide their ratings.  Customer Relationship Metrics works with clients to design an invitation to determine which appeals most to your customers and aligns with your brand.

  • Follow-up

Follow up on dissatisfaction alerts (and be timely about it)– When customers do take the time to complete an evaluation and they request follow-up from management, it is imperative that management take action.  And swiftly.  Failure to do so indicates to customers that your organization is either not paying attention to them or worse; that your organization doesn’t care about the customers experience at all.  If you value the evaluations you receive from customers, make it someone’s job to follow-up on the alerts.  These alerts are not just complaints, they are a goldmine of opportunity to convert another customer into a loyal missionary for your brand.  I saw a fantastic tweet on twitter recently that is spot on true, “Engagement builds loyalty! Some of the most passionate brand advocates are satisfied former complainers” (@KnowledgeBishop, Tristan David Bishop).  Let’s face it, the minute your customer stops complaining you’ve already lost them.

  • Tout yourself

Tout your own customer service achievements – If focus on the customer experience is not a new concept to you and you’ve been doing the work (not just talkin’ the talk), many of your customers may be spoiled by your efforts.  As you’ve improved over the years, their level of expectation has climbed.  It’s time to shake them up and remind them of how great it’s been to work with you.  If you’ve recently won a service award, if you ranked well in an industry benchmark study, tell your customers about it – in your IVR, in your bill inserts, on your website, and on Twitter!

  • Tell them

Tell your customers how their evaluation has helped shape your organization – Most importantly, if you have been recognized for your customer satisfaction efforts, remember to thank your customers for making it all possible.  It is after all their evaluation that led to your organizations’ recognition.

About Jim Rembach

Jim Rembach is a panel expert with the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) and an SVP for Customer Relationship Metrics (CRM). Jim spent many years in contact center operations and leverages this to help others. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence (EQ) practitioner and frequently quoted industry expert. Call Jim at 336-288-8226 if you need help with customer-centric enhancements.

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By | 2016-12-05T15:15:19+00:00 September 30th, 2010|For External Relationships, IVR Post-call Surveys|0 Comments