How to...assess customer satisfaction levels by going beyond the standard satisfaction survey
Customers may not tell you when they're happy, but when they're unhappy, look out--you'll get an earful.
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It's no secret that customer satisfaction levels directly effect brand loyalty, but getting a realistic understanding of your customers' sentiment can be tricky, especially when using antiquated survey methods. Consider these tips for assessing customer satisfaction levels by going beyond the standard satisfaction survey. Deliver on the brand promise Efficiency and basic levels of courtesy have become the benchmark for many organizations when measuring customer satisfaction, but times are changing. "Those have become necessary conditions to be in the game--it's not enough anymore," says Rich Schreuer, senior vice president of Chadwick Martin Bailey, a market research company. To distinguish themselves, companies need to do better. That's why Schreuer says "delivering on brand promises is a way to look unique. If you then accept the premise that when customers interact with you directly they are experiencing the brand, that's what you should use to measure the success of your customer-facing touch point. That's what's driving loyalty and profits." Define value drivers "One of the problems with the customer satisfaction movement is that it led to everyone looking alike, because the measurements and feedback were all very similar. It was measuring minimum standards. If you measure to a minimum standard you can only manage to a minimum standard," Schreuer says. So stay focused on three to five things that agents can do better than the competitors. Examine value drivers other than the usual agent courtesy and time to resolution goals. To do this, define value metrics that go beyond the norm, such as flexibility, or the ability to resolve unexpected difficulties. Come up with procedures that enable agents to exceed the usual parameters of service and measure their effectiveness. "If you don't, it could be a hugely expensive customer interaction," Schreuer says. Focus on behavior, not satisfaction. Ask a new set of questions that puts more emphasis on behavior, instead of one that emphasizes whether a customer was satisfied. "The new questions should focus on what customers will do," Schreuer says. Save and search Customers may not tell you when they're happy, but when they're unhappy, look out--you'll get an earful. Call recording applications from companies like Utopy can digitally capture conversations , which can then be searched by agitated-emotion cues. These red flags provide real-world insight into detecting the emotional state of the customer. With this information, companies can respond quickly with targeted offers or communication to keep customers happy. The media is the message Marshall McLuhan's theory that the medium is the message comes into play for marketers--and they should pay attention to the media as well. "The world is moving faster and the amount of information that is available to us grows exponentially every day," says Cheryle Custer, director of product marketing at marketing intelligence firm Biz360. "We need to know how to measure this and we need a strong understanding of what everyone is saying to understand your impact in the market." Press coverage influences consumer sentiment. Applications from companies like Biz360 can search the Web for favorable and unfavorable coverage of companies. These applications can determine how a company and its competitors are being perceived and whether that perception is positive, neutral, or negative. They can also determine where a company's brand value stands and what it can do to enhance it.
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