Want to know the pitfalls of customer satisfaction research?

05 Mar 2014

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Over the last couple of weeks, we have shared this crash course on customer satisfaction. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and learned something as well. Now let’s put all that fresh knowledge into Starred practice. But first, we wrap up with some of the common pitfalls.

Pitfalls on the road to the Super promoter

Active customer satisfaction research could bring about a number of pitfalls:

  1. Seeking for excuses; employees feel that they have to account for the results while they should rather see it as guidance for how to improve

  2. The fear of transparency; when the windows are opened companies are often more inclined to focus on the bad smell leaving the building than the fresh wind that’s blowing in

  3. Customer satisfaction research creates expectations; Your customer invests time in giving feedback to your company. If nothing is done with it in return, he or she is bound to grow more critical about you. The automatically generated re-rating on Starred will most certainly help you with this problem.

In addition, something that is called ‘Institutional Blindness’ remains a big issue. During a survey performed by Bain & Company across 362 companies, it appeared that 80% of the companies was of the opinion they deliver superior customer experience. The same question was posed to their customers, revealing that only 8% were of a similar opinion.

Begone with that inside-out thinking!

Organizations work from the inside out. As a rule they are centered around ICT and the many internal processes and procedures. Not the experience and satisfaction of the customer are closely being tracked from day to day, but the inside targets on productivity, conversation ratios, accessibility, declarable hours, and delivery times. Results is: customers feel neither heard nor welcome. Have you ever put yourself in the shoes of your customers? Have you ever experiences the whole process from step to step? That should be your first ever step!

After all you don’t just deliver products or services, you deliver emotions and experiences. Your customers? journey should always be on top of your mind. Only then will you be able to create solid customer satisfaction. You have got to take up to challenge to think from the outside in. Ask yourself carefully which steps you (new) customer goes through from A (the need) to the Z (realization).

Look at this journey as to what are the most critical moments where you can make a difference. These are steps with a chronological order of their own, its own logic, experience and emotions. Each step is a unique chance for you to separate yourself from your competitors, as the customer is in a heightened emotional state, making him or her extra receptive. Customers are impervious to the way your business is organized, let alone its internal processes, tasks and responsibilities of its employees. How many employees are trained to be able to put down the phone as quickly as possible?! You know, a customer really finds it very annoying when he or she has to deal with different departments with no-one taking any form of ownership for the issue at hand. What you have is a very unhappy customer. And I’m guessing you don’t want that.

The solution

Now it has become time to stop glooming, and find a solution to cure this pain. So you have to break the current system and focus on the customer touch points in the Customer Journey. A useful metric to gauge this is the Customer Effort Score: How much effort does the customer have to put into working together with this business? Measuring the CES does not have to be difficult or costly. One company that changed its communication from “We will have this article in stock within 3 weeks” to “Your desired article will be arriving at your house in 3 weeks” saw its Customer Effort Score improve with 20%!

I would like to wrap up this course with what an organization should have in its DNA in order for its customers to experience the best:

  1. Have a good eye for detail (little acts of kindness)

  2. Put your customers’ experience and emotions central

  3. View you customer as an individual (you see, there is no average client)

  4. Steer towards your customer’s perception instead of your own productivity (never let you employees phone with a predetermines script, or punish them for the number of minutes spend on the phone)

  5. Be transparent to the outside (communicate open and honest about the happiness of your customers, yes, also on the internet)

  6. Solve problems superbly, regardless of the cause (dare to say sorry; really putting yourself in your customers’ shoes, offering your apologies and giving away something small as a gesture, are all part of this)

  7. Thrive for excellence! Go for a 9 or a 10

I am not the first to note that this is easier said than done. For many business the traject described above means a company wide transition of DNA. Maybe the metaphor of the egg could serve well to describe this change: When you cook an egg by adding 5000 calories of warmth over the course of three minutes, you will get a cooked egg. However if you would add 5000 calories of warmth over the course of three weeks your egg would break open and reveal a little chick. Too often organization expect this chick to appear within three minutes. I hope you’ve enjoyed this crash course and that you’ve picked up something useful here and there. Of course I am very curious to hear your feedback on the course. Please feel free to do so by commenting below. I wish you all the best in your endeavor for the super promoter of your company!

Have a great day!