As an executive of a multi-location corporation, you know the importance of excellent customer experience. Retaining current customer base is very important as the cost of acquiring new customer is very high. As we know, customer loyalty is based on their past experience. Many domain experts agree that the current challenge for the corporations is in retaining customers and not as much on attracting new customers. However, are you getting high volume of quality feedback instantaneously to make such executive decisions? Do you have a corporate guideline on the customer experience attributes and their minimum thresholds? Does your current survey system allows creation of such a corporate goal on customer experience and the generation of visual experience map for quick corrective action?
Ineffective Feedback Capture
Most corporations these days have some customer feedback capture (survey) program in place. That includes feedback captured face to face, comment cards, email, online or phone. Such feedback capture can be evaluated on three criteria – quality, volume and timeliness. Anonymity of the customer is very important. Incentivizing the customers for their time should not be ignored either. The customer engagement should be made with customer comfort in mind. Let’s analyze each one of them.
Quality and Volume Matters
Customers will provide high quality and high volume feedback if survey taking is made easy, quick, exciting with customer comfort in mind. Most often surveys are created mindlessly without any respect for the customer’s time and comfort. There are cases where customers are asked to spend over 20 minutes of their time in filling out the survey. In some cases you need to remember details of your specific visit to start or complete the survey. Often customers need to remember the company name and go online to complete the survey. If you make the customer go through this tedious process, they will rush through the survey jeopardizing the quality. Low quality feedback is dangerous if it’s the basis of executive decisions. In order to assure that there is a real change in the quality of the customer experience large number of feedback samples have to be collected.
Timeliness of the feedback is very important to correlate the event to the feedback metric. In most of the above approaches the feedback is not captured just after receiving the service. Take for example the comment card. It can be received after much delay or get lost. Email and online events are generated after some time and responded to in unknown amount of delay.
Studies have shown that anonymity of the customer is required to guarantee a honest feedback from the customer. If there is any chance of being able to trace back to the customer, customers will hesitate to provide honest comment or rating. This is true in the case of comment cards, emails and online surveys. How can you provide low ratings or comments for improvement on a comment card handed to you?
Lately many retail stores offer rewards for completing the online survey. Some are fixed rewards, others offer random rewards. In most cases, the type of people such campaign attracts, and the quality of their feedback is very questionable.
Your survey should adapt based on the previous answers. Such function will allow skipping some questions or finishing the survey quickly. Such facility for survey creation without the IT help every time will help build and modify the survey quickly.
In order to probe the your customer experience well, you need a broad category of questions types to choose from. This allows you build a flexible yet powerful survey without requiring multiple or ineffective questions.
Tablet Based Solution
We suggest a solution based on pre-configured tablet that would just need powering up to land on the START button page of the current active survey. Customer should not be troubled with any data entry, just have them make selections. Such tablet would be presented at the end of the service when their experience is still fresh in their mind. Most customers would not like to be bothered with surveys once they leave the premise. Again, with per-configured tablets there is no worrying about the hardware, the operating system or the downloads.
The power of instantaneous rewards cannot be over emphasized. Any survey that takes more than 10 to 20 seconds should provide some incentive to the customer. Tablet based system again offers a unique opportunity for instantaneous onsite random reward distribution. Random rewards will be announced during survey taking for collection at the end of the survey. This can create a great marketing buzz at a small cost. Customers will be excited and feel well rewarded to spread the word.
Corporations would like a consistent systematic approach for managing their customer experience. In such case, the corporate quality goal can be used as the guideline to generate quality attributes. Questions can be created to address each quality attribute. Limits can be set for the rating values. Quality attribute values can be shown in color on a grid for quick visualization like in a weather map. Any deviation in rating from the corporate guideline would alert management to fix the exposed issues quickly.
Onsite tablet based feedback capture is a new approach with many advantages. Such an approach captures high volume of quality feedback data instantaneously. High quality is assured as you have made it fun and improved your customer comfort level. Evaluating such an approach is quick and non-disruptive as no integration with corporate systems is required. Look for vendors that provide pre-configured tablets with automatic replacement warranty on monthly subscription. Such tablets will run your custom surveys across the locations activated from your portal. Absolute simplicity in usage can create great customer acceptance and eliminate the need for staff training. There are many functions that can be added to reduce customer monotony and increase their participation. Multi-location retail operations should create a corporate quality guideline to offer and maintain superior customer experience levels. In such a service level, the vendor would work with corporate executives to resolve actionable issues in a timely manner to keep the quality ratings within the desired levels.