It’s Not as Easy to Do Business With You as You’d Like to Think It Is

Your executive team is committed to customer experience (CX) success. On paper, your customer journey map looks strong. But that doesn’t mean your organization is easy to do business with.

The proliferation of new channels and touchpoints brings ever greater complexity to customer interactions—yours included. Plus, your current processes and silos may create bottlenecks for customers trying to make a purchase, get service, or expand their business with you.

You can use all the shiny objects you want to add glitter to your marketing and service interactions. But it’s only putting lipstick on a pig if your organization isn’t easy to do business with. Maybe you’ve added more mobile app functionality, for example, but your customers are pinching, swiping, and scrolling to the point of frustration to accomplish a basic task. Or you’ve launched an attractive marketing promotion, but your contact center agents don’t have any information on it for customers who call with questions.

Whether your organization is easy to do business with cuts to the core of the customer experience. It can give you a leading indicator of future trends for customer relationships. After all, your organization can have a great product, a great brand, and even great intentions for CX, yet still be difficult to do business with.

Perhaps most important, “Are you easy to do business with?” is a question that if explored and measured thoroughly, can quickly reveal whether the various pieces of the CX puzzle are working together as they should.

In fact, once you’ve examined whether customers think your organization is easy to do business with and use the resulting feedback to improve, you’ll find that it’s one of the best ways to ensure that your organization’s customer-facing operations (as well as those that support them) are living up to the spirit of your CRM and CX efforts.

Following are three lessons I learned while exploring that pivotal question, “Are you easy to do business with?”

Truly understand, and measure on a regular basis, whether customers think that your organization is easy to do business with.
Internal naysayers will claim that, of course you’re easy to do business with. After all, the CX efforts are refined, leadership is customer-focused, and the company puts the customer first in everything it does.

But, wait, not so fast…

Whether a company is easy to do business with is not solely determined by the efficiency of processes and programs it has in place. Instead, it’s a reflection of customer perceptions that can rarely be gleaned from operational data. To find out whether customers really believe that your organization is easy to work with requires a dedicated effort.

Ideally, you can attain this view of your customers’ true perceptions through a combination of methods. Surveys and one-on-one interviews with customers—preferably through a third party to ensure that feedback is candid—are exceptionally valuable and powerful tools to gather external perspectives. Speech and text analytics tools that make real-time sense of customer feedback, moods, and reactions are also extremely helpful. Customer-initiated digital feedback offers a goldmine of information, as do online communities that marketers and customer experience leaders can use as a listening tool. Use as many of them as you can to really understand where your organization falls on the “easy to do business with” spectrum.

Define what “easy to do business with” means for every
customer-facing role.

One of my aha moments in CX was when a particularly savvy customer-facing employee confided that she didn’t know if she had the ability to make it easier for customers to do business with the company, or even what that would entail. And she was right! Most people don’t intuitively know what something as encompassing as “easy to do business with” means.

To address this reality, we instituted a series of workshops across all departments throughout the company. These interactive sessions begin by exploring why it’s important for us to be easy to do business with. We then delve into what that means for each person in the room, and more specifically, which behaviors for each role will make the company’s vision come to life. Through these workshops, our employees helped to define what it meant to be “easy to do business with” and how to achieve it. Defining expectations is important, because most people have different interpretations of what makes an organization easy to do business with.

Apply what you learn across the organization.

Once you know the customer perception of the ease of doing business with your organization, you’ve defined what that ease means for various departments, and you have a framework in place that outlines required behaviors for specific roles, it’s time to use that information throughout the company to guide other decisions and processes. This includes hiring the right people, rewarding the right behaviors, and creating processes that complement them.

Perhaps, most important, institutionalizing these practices and encouraging these behaviors ultimately creates and nurtures a true, customer-centric culture that not only rewards behaviors that make it easy for customers, but also inherently encourages them among all employees.

Asking your customers if your organization is easy to do business with, and seeking candid answers, isn’t easy. But it’s one of the most powerful ways to ensure not only that the customer relationship and CX programs you oversee are working well, and that they’re being successfully applied where it matters most: with customers.

 

About the Author
Nancy Porte, CCXP, is the vice president of Global Customer Experience at Verint, a board member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association and a frequent speaker at industry events where often presents on her passion: developing meaningful customer experiences through the collaboration of numerous business functions and effective employee engagement.

Using Telephone Surveys to Drive Higher & Better Quality Responses to Customer Service Surveys

Using Telephone Surveys

Surveys have always been crucial when it comes to determining the next steps any company must take to improve its customer service experience. By tapping customers for their honest perspectives, brands open themselves to information that would otherwise remain unknown.

Yet while collecting actionable information in real time drives improvements throughout the organization, the processes behind gathering such data have shifted in recent years. Online surveys have gained prominence, as such methods cost less and are easier to deploy.  Online surveys typically are used to measure customer satisfaction with specific service incidents, such as the handling of trouble tickets.  Multiple choice responses allow customers to comment on such things as first-call resolution (yes or no and how many contacts were needed), the agent’s knowledge and helpful attitude, etc.  Transaction surveys are not meant to evaluate customer loyalty, just the degree of satisfaction with the handling of a specific recent service incident experience.

Particularly in B2B markets, telephone surveys offer invaluable insights and significantly increase survey responses to achieve statistically valid sample size.  As we know, valid sample size is the key component in all survey research.  Also, research shows that telephone responses provide a higher quality response in measuring the customer experience and allows capturing detailed information from key customer contacts (e.g., decision maker, recommender) on critical failures.  This invaluable information can trigger action alerts used to initiate the appropriate corrective action to address key customer issues from the key customer contacts.

In addition, telephone surveys allow a company to insert that personal, human touch that online surveys lack.  Such an approach enhances customer loyalty, as respondents feel they’re part of the process and that their input can effect change. Online surveys do tend to offer open-ended opportunities for feedback, but telephone surveys enable customer service representatives to speak directly with customers so they may gain thorough insight into the reasoning behind the responses as well as the loyalty based on the customer’s overall relationship with the company.  While such data may ultimately be difficult to quantify, it’s this qualitative information that’s necessary to get to the heart of what might be plaguing the brand in question.

Companies must identify their market research objectives carefully before they can determine the ideal channel that will help them achieve their goals. For those looking for responses that go beyond the multiple choice styling of the average online survey, phone surveys are likely to deliver those precise results—but only if the company proceeds with caution. While telephone surveys embolden customers to speak up, such methods must be strategic and succinct.

Researchers must develop hard-hitting questions that maximize value in the shortest amount of time. In today’s busy world, few have the time or desire to spend 20 minutes talking to anyone without adequate notice. The questions, therefore, must allow both representative and customer to get down to business relatively quickly. Prioritizing time in any and all customer interactions, survey or not, demonstrates how deeply the company values its customers, for time has become currency in its own right.

Once the brand has chosen its sample, representatives will conduct the interviews to gather data. The information collected will then be analyzed in an effort to assess the primary pain points driving customer frustration and the overall highlights sustaining customer loyalty.

To further increase survey response rates, companies might also benefit from incentivizing customers to complete the initial online survey. For instance, a company might offer discounts upon survey completion to gain basic feedback. This will allow the company to ease customers into the idea of connecting via telephone. Regardless of channel, however, all companies must reward customers with a consistently superior service experience. By demonstrating that they’ve listened to their base, leaders can bolster brand loyalty and advance their bottom line simultaneously so everyone wins.

Always remember, it’s customers, not products and services, that are the source of all revenue and profits.  Follow these recommendations to drive higher and better responses to customer service surveys and you’ll strengthen your efforts in customer acquisition, retention, growth and even win-back.

3 Ways Customer Surveys Will Benefit Your Business

A successful business needs honest feedback from its customers to evaluate how well those customers’ needs are being met. But customer feedback should be far more than a generic gauge of customer satisfaction. Obtaining customer input is a valuable way to hear firsthand what customers think of your customer experience, products, and services, as well as how to improve them. Just as important, asking customers for their feedback builds customer loyalty and increases retention.

Here are three key benefits of using customer surveys as an information gatherer and relationship builder.

Detailed Insight

The number one benefit of customer surveys is gathering customers’ honest opinions about various facets of your business. Surveys can help you gain insight into how the customer feels about your company and the experience you deliver. Asking the right questions will help you determine, for example, how much customers value the products or services you offer, which provides additional insight into their likelihood to switch providers. Surveys can be an outlet for customers to share detailed feedback not only on products and services, but also on everything from customer service and sales interactions to billing and shipping to ad campaigns and the website experience. Surveys also can help identify potential areas for growth.

Long-term View

Surveys can be repeated. Running a survey multiple times with a defined control will provide you with data ready for comparative analysis. As you collect more surveys, you will have more data to draw deeper analysis and conclusions about your business. Over time, the data will not only reveal important and perhaps unexpected trends, but also may uncover changes you did not anticipate.

Commitment to the Customer

Asking for feedback shows customer commitment, which helps build loyalty and trust—especially if it’s clear to customers how their feedback will be used. If customers’ values, opinions, and feelings are important to your company, demonstrate that by involving customers in ensuring and improving the quality of your products or services. Their input can uncover opportunities for improvements or expansion that you might not have discovered otherwise. And using their feedback is a powerful way to build engagement and loyalty if you close the loop and communicate back to customers the ways that you’ve acted on (and plan to act on) their input and the outcomes of doing so.