Do your surveys create dissatisfaction? (part 2)
This article first appeared on the Engage Customer blog. Read the full piece here.
Customer surveys are a staple of the customer experience process and the most commonly-used way of measuring the customer experience. You would expect therefore that the application of the technique would by now be pretty slick. Unfortunately, that all too often is not the case. Rather than measure satisfaction, the majority of surveys turn what should be a positive, brand-affirming experience into a cause for dissatisfaction that leads to lost business.
In part two of this article, we’ll address the second three (of six) primary reasons that surveys create dissatisfaction. Be sure to check out Part One to see reasons 1-3.
4) Right hand, meet left hand
All feedback that is professionally presented and linked to action is good: right? Wrong! Remember, feedback is part of the experience and has therefore to be designed into the customer lifecycle in a way that provides a positive experience. Imagine how customers feel if they receive three surveys in a week, all asking about different aspects of their relationship, or even worse, the same aspects. This is not as uncommon as it sounds, particularly in large, multi-product companies.
The customer rightly wonders if different parts of the company talk to each other or have any idea what the other parts are doing. This is yet another example of inside-out, company first-customer second thinking and another reason response rates are falling.
Good feedback programs remove over-surveying by planning from the customer-in. They use the customer journey to identify what feedback to collect, when and from whom. They build in business rules that track survey participation and suppress surveys where necessary to meet these rules. The really clever companies embed the feedback points into their wider customer communication plans.
5) Our way or no way
Today’s customer wants to use different ways to communicate with a company according to time of day, location, and whim. Providing feedback is no different except that companies rarely provide the choice customers want. The result is lost opportunities to gather feedback and lower response rates. This lack of channel choice is again the result of inside-out, not outside-in thinking. Surveys are often deployed in ways that are cheap and easy for the company; that’s why email predominates.
The same survey should be available in all channels that the customer uses to communicate at that stage of the lifecycle and all the data should go into the same dataset. What’s more, the process of presenting the survey should be automated, removing cost and time and freeing up both to understand and act on the results.
“Mobile-first” is increasingly the mantra, recognising the growing use of the smartphone and tablet as a vehicle for both inbound and outbound communication. There is no doubt that mobile is increasingly important and has to be provided by default, but that should not be an excuse for mobile-only communication; that is just as restrictive for customer choice. The key is device independence. Feedback should be provided across several channels and work equally well on all.
6) Lip-service not leadership
This is the biggest reason of all those previously mentioned! If these problems exist it is because no one in the company takes ownership of feedback in a meaningful way. If feedback is to be a positive experience for the customer and an effective driver of change for the business, it has to be backed by leadership. Someone (and it doesn’t have to be the CEO), has to take control of the problem and through force of will and quality of ideas and execution, drive a coherent approach to feedback.
The most likely candidates are the Chief Customer/Experience Officer or the Chief Marketing Officer, increasingly the latter. They have the breadth of organisational scope, the expertise, the know-how to build a business case that will persuade others, and hopefully, the vision to build a coherent program. That does not exclude others from taking on the role; leaders often nominate themselves.
Are you ready to step up to the challenge?