The Quest For Customer Centricity: Stage 2 – Collect Feedback

2020-05-05| Neil Sharp

How often do you ask your customers what they think?

True customer centricity stems from learning their feelings and opinions about every interaction they have with you. And then using that to improve customer experience (CX). But you need to do it in a structured way.

We use our tried and tested CX measurement framework when helping our clients become more customer centric. It’s a simple, practical and effective 4-step process that we’ve broken down for you in this blog series.

In last week’s blog, we covered how to find out who your customers are, what journeys they go on, what matters most to them and what you need to be measuring. Today, we’re looking at the second part of our framework, Stage 2: Collect feedback.

Agree the collection method

Now you’ve selected your metrics, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to collect your customer feedback. There are four things to consider – what, when, who and how.

What

What questions are you going to ask your customers? Whatever you ask them in your surveys should relate to the points in the customer journey you want to measure and the metrics you’re using. We find the most effective questions have both a quantitative and qualitative aspect to them.

The quantitative element tells you the “what” – what they think, and whether it’s easy or hard, good or bad etc. The qualitative element tells you the “why” – why they think it’s easy or hard etc.

For example:

  • What = “On a scale of 1-5, how easy was it for you to do XXX?”

which invites a qualitative follow-up

  • Why = “Why did you give this rating?”

Design your surveys with your audience in mind – the aim is to get the biggest response rate you can, so you should make them quick and easy to understand and complete. And the best surveys have a warm, human tone.

When

Timing is crucial. In general, the sooner you can ask customers for feedback after an interaction, the better. For example, when working with a major supermarket, we sent shoppers who had used their loyalty card an email the same day, to encourage customers to share their experience while it was fresh in their minds.

If you leave it too long, the emotional state the customer was in will have passed, and you won’t get a full and clear reflection of the experience they had.

You should also think about how often you want to ask for feedback – too little, and you risk not getting enough feedback, too much and you might annoy people. No one likes being asked to fill in the same survey again and again.

Who

When defining a sample size – the number of customers you intend to gather data from - the bigger the better. But don’t sweat it if it’s a small sample, as it’s still useful insight.

It’s easy to get obsessed about needing a bigger sample size for your data to be reliable, especially if you usually conduct quantitative research programmes where all samples need to be large.

In our experience, you sometimes need to opt for a smaller sample for practical reasons and, providing you position it correctly, it can be insightful and informative.

And, if you really do need to gather more data, there are ways to build a richer picture with insight from other sources.

How

Which channels will you use to ask your customers questions? You can conduct surveys in many ways – via email, SMS, social media, websites, phone, etc – but you need to choose the channels that work best for your target customers. And the ones most likely to generate a high response rate.

You can also use insight from other sources to help you better understand the experience. Here are three:

1. Scour existing data

If you go looking, you’ll be amazed what you can find. It’s likely you’ll already have useful information from which you can drive insights, such as customer complaints, or existing research. So dig into your archives and start pulling it together.

2. Visit the front line

Leave your desk and go to the places customers are interacting with you. Watch what happens during face-to-face interactions with your sales teams, listen in to customer calls, review customer emails and look at your social media channels. Customer insight is flooding in every day – you just need to find it and measure it.

3. Speak to your staff

Ask your customer-facing employees what they think. They can usually tell you how happy customers are in general and where the problems are. This could be through a conversation with them while you’re shadowing their work, or in targeted focus groups.

Build your dashboard

You’ve agreed your metrics and before jumping straight in and issuing a load of surveys, you want to take a step back and think about the story you want to tell. We always say you should begin with the end in mind, and measuring your customer experience is no different.

A CX dashboard is a great tool to help you bring the data together to succinctly tell a story about how well you're delivering on your customer experience goals at different stages in the customer journey, and let both you and your leadership team quickly identify what’s going well and what you need to improve.

An example of a dashboard:

Your dashboard is a living document that provides a summary view of your CX metrics, how they link up to your organisation’s strategic priorities, and how they link down to the operational metrics which drive them.

Collect the customer feedback

Once you’ve designed your surveys and built a dashboard that will tell a story with the results, you’re ready to issue your surveys and start talking with your customers.

As we’ve mentioned before, don’t try and do too much at once. We find it works best to start collecting feedback on the most important touchpoints first, and then over time expand the number of surveys you issue.

Top tip: Remember that customers are human, so make sure your team is empathetic to their needs. If a customer calls to ask for the details of a recently deceased relative to be removed from your database, it’s wise to avoid asking them to complete a survey on the same call.

An example from one of our clients

When this outsource provider committed to improve their customer experience as part of a contract extension proposal, they knew they needed more insight on their customers and wanted to get the right data in the right way.

Following our trusted framework and using our CX measurement experience we:

  • Designed and ran a post-call email survey to explore how easy it was for customers to do what they need to do and gather insight on the experience through open-ended questions.
  • Listened to hundreds of calls and reviewed hundreds of emails from customers to see if their needs were being met, observe how interactions were being handled, and gather thoughts and ideas from staff.
  • Brought together and analysed existing data from an annual engagement survey, focus groups outputs and complaints to gauge customer expectations, the current experience and what their pain points were.

This insight helped our client pinpoint the root causes of the problems in their operations and develop potential solutions. It gave senior managers a clear view of the current customer experience, what worked well and what needed to improve.

Best of all, it had a direct impact on their bottom line, as we identified over £500,000 worth of potential savings from reducing the number of repeat inbound calls and emails into the contact centre.

Over to you

After completing this second section of the framework, you’ll be armed with all the key insights you need to enhance your customers’ experience of your business.

We’ll be back next week with Stage 3 of The quest for customer centricity blog series which is all about analysing the data you’ve collected in Stage 2 and developing your recommendations for improvements.

If you don’t want to wait until next week then you can get started on stage 3 right away, by downloading our CX measurement framework eBook, which includes everything we’ve covered in today’s blog, as well as the next two stages of the framework.