A recent report by Bright UK, a company dedicated to helping organisations improve their customer service experience, has released a five step recommendation into how to achieve world class customer service experience through the use of customer feedback.

When you have your performance platform in place and employee engagement is high,using customer feedback to improve is what will get you across the finishing lines. But it has to be done in a structured way and avoid the most common mistakes, including measuring customer service satisfaction at an enterprise level and not staff level, no automatic feedback to individual staff, and surveying too late.

“Worst of all, all too often we see companies overlooking the huge impact using C-SAT can have operationally,” explains Mats Rennstam, Managing Director at Bright UK.. “CEOs in the UK often feel anything to do with customer satisfaction should sit centrally with Marketing and thus won’t be used to drive change in operations. We anticipate a shift here when it is clear that C-SAT measuring following the five steps below, can have a significant impact on the company’s market position with 30% more very satisfied customers as just one of the outputs.”

Step 1: Make C-SAT surveying accountable and actionable
Asking customers what they feel when they hear your brand name will not help drive change in the contact centre. Instead you need to be able to link the feedback to a recent call to your centre and break it down to agent or minimum team level, making it accountable. Bright recommend carrying out a minimum 20 surveys per customer facing staff member per month. Only when you see who is affecting C-SAT or NPS positively/negatively, can you do something about it.

Step 2: Deliver 360° feedback to staff
When doing instant post call surveys and feeding back their own results to advisors individually, we see metrics like FCR and customer satisfaction increase significantly. There is an element of competitiveness behind this but mainly it comes from the staff member actually seeing that they are making a difference for the first time. They can also experiment with the way they handle customers and see what effect that has on their scores. For instance, if they make an effort to sound happier on calls, and this result in better customer satisfaction scores, they will repeat that behaviour. Thus, sharing the results at agent level creates a self-developing and self-learning organisation.

Step 3: Empower your managers
Equally powerful is putting structured C-SAT feedback in the hands of your team leaders. Instead of spending time analysing and scoring agent contacts, they can use feedback direct from your customers. Combining this with insight into what actually drives NPS and C-SAT, they can improve their effectiveness further by focusing on the underperforming staff. For your managers that aren’t very comfortable with confrontation (and you will invariably have a few) an additional bonus is that in one to ones it isn’t them telling the advisor that they need to improve, it’s the customer telling them.

Step 4: Use verbatim to create a real time information hub for your organisation
A key benefit that companies get from gathering customer verbatim is that it hits staff right in the gut when being listened to in one to ones. They get a much better understanding of what is making some customers so happy and others furious. And if negative feedback is beyond their control, this is uncovered and will not make them look bad. The same goes for the centre as a whole, which is often blamed for any C-SAT dip regardless of the cause.

Even more value comes from being able to list customers’ top 10 complaints and use this to do root cause analysis and thus increase FCR. Here also lies one of the major opportunities for our industry to raise its game. A majority of centres still do not have a structured way of measuring why customers are contacting them.

Last but certainly not least, the benefit that will put the centre on the bigger organisational map. For just as long as they have been trying to prove the value of customer satisfaction, they have been advocating the power of using the contact centre as a real-time information hub for the entire organisation. Millions have been invested in CRM systems and data warehousing solutions but now contact centres are showing a much simpler way of doing it. The enabler is the arrival of low cost customer survey methodologies that allow the gathering of large volumes of verbatim comments. Even if using IVR surveys, sound files can now be accurately converted into text at a very low cost, enabling further data mining of a large volume of responses.

When systematically sorted and passed on to other parts of the organisation, the following will happen:

  • A department receiving hundreds of comments every month from customers (passed on by the contact centre) complaining about a process being wrong, will do something about it.
  • This will reduce avoidable calls into customer service and thus costs. A CCA report recently cited a saving of 5-10% from initial projects.
  • The status of the contact centre will change from a ‘necessary evil / cost centre’ to a business intelligence hub, helping the company keep their finger on the pulse, at no extra cost!

Step 5: Find out the real drivers of C-SAT and NPS, and close the loop. 
It is important to find out the facts before you decide on your KPIs. How do you do it? A simple approach is to look at correlations. Just like team leaders look at what drives advisors, you as a manager can find out the exact drivers on a higher level. This will ‘only’ tell you what customers prioritise and in what order though. However if you measure this in parallel with your internal performance metrics (like speed of answer, advisor engagement, FCR etc.) over a 6-month period, you will also find your own individual breaking points. This will open up a completely new world in terms of being able to focus on the right things and get more out of your budget by enabling you to exceed customer expectations yet at the lowest cost possible. Do this regularly (and adjust your KPIs and targets accordingly) because your customers’ expectations as well as the industry and your peers’ performance will change.