Archive for March, 2012

A recent article in the Toronto Star titled: Top 10 mistakes, courtesy of Direct Energy described how a Utility company made 10 deadly mistakes when trying to change some terms and conditions for its rental water heater business. Customers are not dissatisfied for no reason. And customer service is not always the place where these issues can be resolved. Customer service was totally unequipped to handle the change imposed on them by senior management. In this case, senior management was the cause of the problems and did not put in place the proper processes and communication with customers to avoid dissatisfaction.

One of the biggest problems with satisfaction surveys is that many customers won’t fill them in. Many surveys are boring, asking too many detailed questions and consumers get bothered too often. Internet and mobile technology allow for new methods of engaging customers. Here are some of the old techniques I have seen recently in surveys I have completed, followed by some new techniques you might not have considered. My thanks to Qualtrics for demonstrating these new survey and market research techniques and allowing me to use excerpts from their demo materials in this post.

Here’s a little known fact. Most universities, colleges and management programs don’t teach enough about customer service management. Is it any wonder customers are so dissatisfied? This article cover 18 topics that could be included in a course on customer service at a college level.

Should you train your customer service representatives or just hire caring, empathetic staff with excellent communication skills? What a question! My answer is YES. I agree that it would be preferable to hire people into the customer service organization with empathy, patience and excellent communication skills but that is not enough. You need to train your staff about your company, your policies, your tools and your processes.

One of the keys to customer satisfaction is to set expectations correctly and then meet those expectations. But customer expectations can be reset by your competition, raising the bar for your product or service offerings. KLM and Malaysia Airlines have added social seating programs, not found on US airlines.

One of the challenging aspects of designing a customer satisfaction survey is determining what kind of questions to ask. The usual process involves asking an overall satisfaction question, either at the beginning or the end of the survey and several questions about aspects of the experience to drill down to a lower level of detail, in order to better understand what has the most impact on customer satisfaction. One of the key elements that is often overlooked in measuring customer satisfaction is how important each element of the experience is to a customer. Both are needed.

Regardless of whether an organization surveys all its customers (ie a census) or only a sampling of them, if it is possible for a customer to receive multiple surveys in a short period of time, then survey fatigue can become a factor. Customers will rebel and refuse to answer requests for feedback or provide lower than usual scores. Some organizations have a policy that they never respond to surveys. Some individuals with organizations that accept surveys, may not want to be surveyed. A Survey fatigue process must capture these possibilities and remove them from the list of customers to be surveyed.

There was a time when obtaining survey data was a difficult process, often manual or requiring the use of agencies. Today there is a large variety of survey options to choose from. This article covers some of the features to look for and 36 tools currently available for surveys and polls that can be conducted on the web, social media and mobile devices.

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