Customer service may not be in every business plan, but it should be. Whether you’re putting up a new business or are entering a new phase of your business like franchising, expansion or specialization, assessing your customer relationship or procedure is essential.
The way customers feel is the second most important take-away of every transaction. Because after appreciating the value of your product or service, you want them to return. How you get them to return will depend on letting them know you appreciate their business as much as they do yours.
Beginning a Customer Experience Measurement Program is definitely a worthwhile investment to be able to efficiently and effectively improve your brand’s customer service experience. Engaging in Customer Experience Measurement (CEM) is undertaking an important process improvement, and the last thing you want is to waste this opportunity. For the uninitiated, there ARE ways to do so.
PITFALL #1: Having a Questionable Questionnaire
Your questionnaire is the metric the Customer Experience Advocates (CEAs) will be basing their evaluation on when they visit and assess a customer environment. Since this plays such an integral role to CEM, each item needs to be properly thought through. Here are 3 guidelines you should keep in mind:
- Revisit your own standards – Your customer service standards (as trained to your employees) should serve as the basis for creating the parameters of your questionnaire. One cannot fault a front-liner for not following a standard he or she was never trained to do or know. At the same time, this would be a good time to ask the hard-hitting questions like Are all of these standards realistic? Are they enforced? Are any of them no longer relevant? What delights my customer? What irritates them?
- Make sure that what you WANT to measure NEEDS to be measured – You want the CEAs to be operating along the lines of a typical visit and act like auditors aside from being customers. They should spend an amount of time in the establishment that is similar or close to the time they would’ve spent if they just went there as a regular customer. Hence, parameters like those that ask them to count the number of light bulbs in the store should be avoided unless absolutely necessary to the objectives of the study.
- Have clear rating scales – You want to be very specific about the things you want measured. Stay away from rating scales like VERY BAD, BAD… GOOD, VERY GOOD since the difference between GOOD and VERY GOOD is relative. Use rating scales that are very specific such as:
Select the highest rating that meets all the criteria:
5 – Staff was friendly, made eye contact, asked/used your name to address you, and engaged you in a small talk.
4 – Staff was friendly and made eye contact but did not speak to you beyond taking your order.
3 – Staff did not make eye contact or did not smile.
2 –Staff was distracted and not focused on taking your order.
1 – Staff appeared irritated or was abrasive.
- Make sure qualitative data is captured – Give spaces in the questionnaire for CEAs to answer questions in their own words, especially about their impressions of the customer touchpoint. This will paint an overall picture and give some context for the quantitative data collected.
PITFALL #2: Being Price-Oriented More Than Results-Oriented When Selecting a Customer Experience Measurement Program
Always keep in mind that CEM is an investment that will enable you to give your customers a memorable and pleasant experience that will lead to the growth of your business. If you tend to keep cutting corners in CEM, you will most likely not get the effect that you want.
Be sure to work closely with your CEM Agency to come up with a package that will get the job done without compromising the quality of your study. The last thing you want is to save a handful but lose the entire value of the investment in doing so. Ask yourself these questions: Do they just collect compliance information (such as “is the staff wearing a nametag? Yes/No”)? How do they assess the customer’s general level of satisfaction? How are results presented? Are recommendations made? Is support given to help you implement the recommendations? What kind of support?
PITFALL #3: Tackling The Results and Not The Problem
If you want to know the truth, make sure you can HANDLE the truth. When the results and assessments are out, be sure that you and your teams greet them with an open mind and not be defensive. Reassure them that this is not a blame game but rather an opportunity to identify what can and needs to be improved on in order to grow the business. No one should feel attacked during the results presentation as defensive employees are not in the proper mindset to make improvements.
A good customer experience measurement program is implemented by an agency with years of experience helping their clients deal with these issues. They should provide you with guidelines and support to help you prepare the team. With everyone in the proper mindset, you will be on your way to making your CEM investment pay off with increased traffic, stronger brand loyalty, and positive word-of-mouth sentiments.
Do you remember when customer service became exciting? It used to be that Customer Service counters were reception areas for complaints. Thanks to innovations like ‘Service with a Smile,’ ‘We Deliver,’ and ‘Delivery in 15 minutes,’ the customer experience is reaching deep into what we really want, before we find out we want it.
Brands often think their products or services are so good they sell themselves. For a lot of businesses, however, the harsh reality is that if they are unable to deliver a remarkable experience during the time of interaction with the customer, they face the very real danger of their brand becoming less valuable when measured against their competitors. Brand reputation is one of the greatest assets one has in any business. Here are 5 quick checks and adjustments for improving customer service that you can do right now. (more…)
Retailers like hip supermarket Trader Joe’s and tech warehouse Best Buy have to represent a wide array of products and items on their shelves. As a result, they can’t be expected to stand by each product they offer, either figuratively or literally.
So to be true to their “best customer service” promise, these stores have done what few stores are willing to do: encourage honesty amongst the staff and induce them to speak freely about items and experiences in the store, confidently citing internet reviews and even sharing in-store feedback from customers.