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Asking for feedback is not enough

How many times did you receive a survey from a company? 100? 1000? How many times were you confident a company

would do something about your feedback? 1? 10?

Surveys can be a wonderful tool for coaching your customer service agents and feeding continuous process improvement, but far too often they are being used as a way to ‘hit a number’, ‘achieve a KPI’, reward or penalise.

I will give you two examples from well-known companies.

A claim experience always is a bit of a stressful event, due to the incident itself, the uncertainty and the perceived hassle for the resolution. This time, Jane thought it went rather smoothly. The approval was received instantly via the website, the repair date was agreed at the convenient time, the engineer turned up and everything was fixed. It was delightfully quick and easy! Two months later Jane received a request for feedback from the insurance company. “Why would such an agile company send me a questionnaire for an event that happened so long ago and has almost been forgotten? I can’t imagine this being right… Perhaps there was some sort of a fraudulent claim on my account?! I must alert them!”.

With her newly created sense of anxiety Jane phoned the insurance company only to find out that the surveys go out two months after the settlement due to the system configuration.

What could have been used as an opportunity to reinforce a positive experience, serves frankly no purpose at all. It created a minor frustration with an otherwise happy customer, an unnecessary call into the call centre and a feeling of inefficiency with the call centre employee. And what if something did go wrong with the repair? Would you wait two months to find out?

Another example is a story of Abigail who contacted customer support via email to switch on a new feature for the social media account. The response came back within 2 hours saying the chosen feature wasn’t available on her plan and suggested an alternative option. Abigail tried to switch it on, but couldn’t quite get her head around the process so decided to leave it. A satisfaction survey that followed in the next 24 hours prompted Abigail to share her frustration. To here surprise and delight 1 hour after the survey a customer support representative got in touch with helpful articles that resolved her issue. She even decided to keep her premium plan that she thought of cancelling!

If not for the survey, a premium subscriber would have been lost and, quite possibly, advised others to do the same. A survey is a powerful service recovery tool if used in a pro-active, deliberate and agile way.

1.Trigger a survey shortly after you resolve the issue

2. If a resolution is some time away and you want to evaluate agents’ performance, send a survey about the agent. However set an expectation for the resolution date

3. Ensure red flag alerts and escalation if the customer responds the issue isn’t resolved

This survey approach will feed your agent coaching, continuous process improvement and indeed positive customer experience


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