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  • June 1, 2013
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

T-Mobile Listens to Its Customers

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By integrating customer feedback into its everyday operations, T-Mobile Austria realized significant improvements in customer satisfaction and increases in customer contract extensions.

The phone carrier, which serves 4.1 million subscribers, is using Response-Tek's Collection Solution to solicit feedback from customers who call customer service, visit a store, or use the self-service interactive voice response (IVR) system. The voice-of-the-customer collection service is largely based on text messaging, but email can also be used. For contact centers and stores, the SMS survey is sent out the next day; for the IVR, the customer is invited to give feedback minutes after completing his call.

Before implementing the solution in May 2011, T-Mobile Austria relied on computer-aided telephone interviews (CATIs) done by an outside agency. "Quality very much relied on the agent performing the CATI," says Christoph John, the company's senior manager of customer experience management.

The cost of conducting these CATIs, at roughly $7.83 each, was high, and yielded little return. For every 100 customers called, just 17 completed the survey, resulting in about 60 surveys per month for the contact center and about 20 per store per month. "It was hard to accept these as a valid input," John says.

T-Mobile Austria began piloting the solution with two of its four call centers in July 2010. It took just nine weeks from the kickoff meeting in May 2010 to send the first SMS surveys to customers.

Getting executive buy-in was important, John says. "Get your mid- and upper management to understand the value of this huge interface toward your customer, to make sure that it's...a company-wide indicator of the experience you deliver to your customers every day."

The company tested an IVR-based survey system at the same time, but found it didn't let customers give free text/verbal comments to explain scores.

With the SMS surveys, response rates went from 17 percent to 26 percent. The number of surveys sent out per month increased by more than 430 percent.

"The larger amount of interviews allowed more targeted coaching and training," John says. "Using negative feedback for postcontact outbound calls increased customer satisfaction."

One location alone saw a 10 percent increase in customer satisfaction just five months after implementing the solution. Calling back customers who gave negative feedback also reduced churn substantially, according to John.

"[Trying something new to measure] customer satisfaction is not only about implementing a new solution. It's also about getting the processes right to work with the data delivered from such a solution," he adds.

ResponseTek's solution set comes with a display and analytical online tool and additional tools to manage the customer experience, including alarms for predefined filter rules.

The implementation had only one major hitch: In the prelaunch stage, because of technical issues with file format and encoding, several German characters were not displayed in the SMS correctly. T-Mobile discovered this, and ResponseTek was able to fix it.

"All our relevant touchpoints are using the solution now. We're pleased with the way this is working," John states.

John's not stopping there. He's working with ResponseTek to include mobile online surveying, "respecting...that the majority of our customers are using smartphones," he says.

The Payoff

Since implementing ResponseTek's customer feedback collection tools, T-Mobile Austria has seen:

  • a 10 percent increase in customer satisfaction;
  • response rates increase from 17 percent to 26 percent;
  • the number of surveys per month increase by 430 percent; and
  • reduced customer churn.

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