This is a guest post provided by a contributor from TechnologyAdvice.
When a plumber visits a customer’s house because a pipe has broken underneath their home, spraying gallons of water all over their crawl space, oftentimes said customer’s only interactions with the plumbing company are with the office assistant and the plumber. This means that their customer experience is wholly dependent upon how those two performed their roles.
So, how does the plumbing company measure that homeowner’s customer experience when the only two people who might be able to take a good guess at it are the office assistant from perhaps a handful of phone interactions, and the plumber who has been knee deep in muddy water repairing and connecting new pipes? While their first-hand testimony isn’t untrustworthy, it’s probably best to gain insight in to a customer’s experience from the actual customer.
Because field service personnel may be the only interaction some people have with a company, there should be deliberate efforts taken to collect customer experience data. Consider these options to get a better view of your customer experience.
Net Promoter Score
A net promoter score tries to quantify the likelihood that customers would recommend your company to a friend. It’s generally accepted as a good indication of your customer experience. But depending on who you ask, the net promoter score (NPS) may or may not tell enough of the story. A net promoter score is based upon the promoters’ top scoring customer experiences, usually a 9-10, against the detractors, usually a 0-3 (on a 0-10 scale). While they can inspire companies to work toward improving that score, some argue that you could be spending too much time on detractors who won’t be swayed. Also beware the middling scores: when customers did have a good experience, but nothing that knocked it out of the park, they may score a 7 or 8; still a great score, but it’s not showing up in the data as a positive customer experience.
Surveys are one of the most common ways businesses collect customer experience data. They reflect first-hand customer experience and if done correctly, those experiences are recent. They can offer insight into virtually anything related to a customer experience and are invaluable as it relates to how to make changes that directly affect the bottom line.
The key to surveys is doing them correctly. There are often times where the problem doesn’t actually lie with your product or service, but in the way the survey was delivered. Consider the fact that because customers are being surveyed so frequently both in person and online, their frustration at being asked to complete yet another survey rises. The response rates of surveys increase when customers aren’t asked to complete them so often. Additionally, look at the format and length of your surveys. Be sure that they are intuitive and easy to read and complete on both a computer and a mobile device. They also need to be limited to as few questions as possible, and when you have the option to write questions that require only a simple “yes” or “no” answer, use it.
While reading through comments may seem less than efficient, take the time to do so when possible. Tracking those results will indicate trends over time. Customers will often want to elaborate on why they gave the survey scores that they did, and by analyzing comments, you’ll see if there are overarching issues that need to be addressed.
Looking only at big picture numbers definitely isn’t telling you the full story about the customer experience your business is providing. Drill down into the customer experience data you’re collecting, and segment that data into things like demographics, geographic locations, products or services provided, and even individual service professionals. Combine the information you gather directly from customers with the data you have in your customer relationship management (CRM) tool for deeper insights. Check here for recommendations on CRMs that easily integrate with other systems. Look at what those results show and from there, analyze where, if any, you have opportunities to improve things, or alternatively, where you should be replicating something that is working well.
There are other ways to measure customer experiences that may not be in hard data. For example, look at things that you can likely assume would result in either positive or negative customer experiences, such as being late to service calls, or not missing phone calls in the office. Be proactive about making improvements before customers tell you of their frustration.
Measuring the customer experience in the field can effectively be done in several ways; using an NPS, conducting surveys, analyzing reports and trending comments. Remember, however, that the most important thing you can do is to approach each transaction by being a company who focuses on the customer experience first.
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Jessica Barrett Halcom is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com, with specializations in human resources, healthcare, and transportation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay and currently lives in Nashville, TN.
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Last modified: August 27, 2018