Contact Center Customer Feedback as a Strategic Tool

In the call center business, everyone knows it’s basic practice to collect customer feedback. But it seems few remember why. A Gartner study shows that 95% of companies collect feedback, however only 10% make improvements based on this feedback.

"The true goal of collecting customer feedback is to serve customers better—better than you are today, and better than a competitor could tomorrow. In order to do that, ask yourself a few key questions:

How and when do I measure? With the complexity of multi-channel interactions, feedback methodologies are becoming multi-channel too. They vary from the old-fashioned mail or telephone surveys to emails, interactive voice response (IVR) and short-text messaging service (SMS) surveys. Of the three criteria survey effectiveness is judged on—response rate, timeliness of results and cost per survey, Gartner says the most important is timing: “Feedback collected immediately after an event is 40 percent more accurate than feedback collected 24 hours after the event.” Collect feedback immediately, post-call, when it is most effective and accurate.

Am I measuring what really matters? Research by Bain & Company among senior managers shows that, while 80% of them believe they are delivering a superior customer experience, only 8% of their customers agree. The main reason for this gap is that, in many cases, we don’t measure service representatives in terms of how they meet the customer’s intent. For example, we might put a very strong emphasis on agents’ soft skills, but all the customer really wants is a minimal queue time and the right answer to his inquiry without the need to call back. Be sure your metrics are most meaningful: ask your customers what matters to them, and measure those things. 

Am I using survey time to best advantage? Your customers’ time is valuable. If they are willing to participate in your survey, make the most of it. Use surveys as an opportunity to get insight, not just on the level of service customers receive, but on other important metrics. Find out, right from the source:

  • How well you are resolving customer issues on the first contact: “Is this the first time you are calling about this issue?”
  • If your marketing efforts are making an impact: “How did you hear about this product?”
  • Whether customers would refer others to your business (net promoter score): “On a scale of 1-5, how likely would you be to recommend us?” 

Do I have the means to explore deeper? Feedback also should be in some way tied back to the actual interaction between the customer and the contact center. Having access to individual interactions can provide deeper insights, such as root causes of dissatisfaction, and what improvements can be made or corrective action taken as part of the quality management process. Many survey applications can be integrated (or, as with NICE Customer Feedback, pre-integrated) with your call recording and analytics platforms, enabling you to listen to and gain deeper insight on calls based on feedback themes, customer calling patterns and more.

Am I following up with customers?

According to the same Gartner study mentioned above, of the companies that collect customer feedback, only 5% inform customers of changes made based on their feedback. Imagine the impact on your customers if you let them know, after they took the time to complete a short survey on your products or services, that you actually made a change based on their feedback. Imagine your own response as a customer. You’d feel like you’d been heard.

Am I following up with my agents? During the recent NICE APAC Customer Conference, I was fortunate to attend a presentation by a customer who had deployed NICE Customer Feedback, our post-call survey application. Beyond the fact that his call center was able to measure FCR directly from customers, obtain their net promoter scores and get additional valuable feedback from using customers’ voice comments, it did one more thing: shared the results with agents. The effect was immediate: “The morale of the agents in our contact center changed overnight.”

Generating customer feedback and acting on it are among the most powerful things you can do to benefit your call center, your customers and even your agents. So don’t just collect feedback data. Use it!

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