When customer service agents respond to customer concerns, do they understand how the customer feels at the end of the exchange with the representative? To deliver excellent customer service on any channel—whether it be by phone, chat, SMS, email, or social media--it’s not enough to handle concerns in a timely and professional manner. Customer satisfaction surveys allow companies to better understand what is working well, and what areas need improvement.
Such surveys can have a critical impact on the reputation of a company and its long-term success in numerous ways. For example, properly addressing customer concerns can result in fewer negative comments that customers might be tempted to post on social media channels or spread by word of mouth. The direct result is greater loyalty and a stronger chance for customer retention, as well as the possibility of attracting new business, as customer service improves. Companies may also learn what products or services customers are looking for and work to offer them to further grow their business. Lastly, it’s important to note that it costs more to attract new customers than to retain existing ones. Statistics show that it costs 6 to 7 times more to acquire new customers when one factors in the marketing costs involved in seeking potential clients, nurturing leads, and finally making sales.
Two ways to conduct these surveys are post-contact and periodic. With a post-contact survey, a customer may agree at the start or end of an exchange with a customer service agent—on any channel--to complete a satisfaction survey detailing the experience they just had. This kind of survey allows a company to monitor and improve a specific agent’s performance as well as follow the case history of a specific client to provide better individualized service. With a periodic survey, customers may be contacted on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis to provide overall feedback, and this may be beneficial for the company’s strategic planning and marketing campaigns.
Regardless of the type of survey given, there are a few points to follow in order to increase the likelihood of getting useful feedback. For one, it’s important not to make any survey too long—more than 10 questions is usually considered too time-consuming for a customer. Keep the questions specific enough so that the answers yield insightful information—for example, it’s better to ask how knowledgeable the agent was in resolving an issue than asking if the agent was merely professional. Such questions reveal information not only about the customer’s perception of the service offered but also how skilled the agents are in conveying information and whether they need additional training to provide the right service. Another point is to use a consistent scale on all questions. If one question asks to rate service on a scale of 0 to 10, every question should be answered on the same scale to prevent confusion, allow each question to carry the same level of importance, and allow the customer the same flexibility of response to each question. Lastly, it’s important to allow for qualitative feedback on a survey. On any channel other than the phone, it’s simple to ask the customer at the end of the survey to write any additional comments they may have. If the survey is conducted by phone, a voice recording is a good option.
To deliver the best customer service, it’s important to understand how your customers feel and give them a chance to tell you why. In this way, companies may better tailor services to their customers’ needs and offer an optimum customer engagement experience.