In a large organization, the sales team on an account may not know about issues the customer is having. Customer personnel may be calling the service organization with their problems. In many cases the front line staff in support handle the problems from the customers in an efficient and effective way and the sales team need not know. But what if the customer is not happy with the resolutions being offered. The sales team may be preparing a new proposal for the customer or have a presentation planned with the customer. If the sales team doesn’t know there are hot issues, they may walk into a firestorm at the customer’s office and be ill prepared to handle it.

Customer Effort Score is a customer service measurement created by a the Corporate Executive Board, a firm offering research and advisory services to executives in large and midsized corporations, government, and financial services organizations worldwide. They have written a Harvard Business Review article which you can obtain for free describing this measurement and the study they used to derive it. They contend that this score is a better predictor of customer loyalty than any other customer satisfaction or customer service score.

Most customer satisfaction surveys are made up of more than one question. Using data analysis, it is possible to determine what areas an organization should focus on; what to fix and what to continue doing well. Find the key drivers for customer satisfaction and make them part of your management focus.

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.

A Voice of the Customer programs can make a difference in an organization but only if management is willing to listen and take action. At my organization, we had a forward thinking President who brought in bonus payment for all employees..even salaried ones. Half the bonus was for business related results (revenue and profit) and half came from a customer satisfaction rating. There were some very interesting outcomes of this action.

IBM has recently announced new software portfolio called IBM Customer Experience Suite. According to Fast Company in an article called Why IBM could be bigger than Facebook in Social Media , this software announcement is a clear indication that social media has changed the business landscape. However, a key tool and process does not seem to be part of IBM’s approach.

One of THE most ignored best practices in Customer Satisfaction strategies is to share with your customers that you heard their complaints and have taken action to minimize or alleviate the concerns that the customer should have noticed. This article covers how Dell Computers is providing feedback to customers on the improvements they are making.

Customers who are unhappy and call for customer service may get inferior service if they don’t use social media. That’s the conclusion of an article in the UK Telegraph. See some real statistics about customer satisfaction and social media.

Since my last post on Social Media Monitoring tools, I have come across tools and service offerings from a wide variety of companies. This article covers the ‘services’ that provide social media monitoring as well as the kinds of social media data an organization might want to monitor.

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