Written by: Jaime Bailey
Back in 2013, Walker Insights made the bold prediction that by 2020 customer experience would overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Now, with 2020 literally weeks away, are they right?
Further, how can you tell if this oft-quoted prediction applies to your customers and your business?
It could be argued that trying to answer these questions through the latest technological advances has led to the recent growth of “Voice of the Customer” (VoC) initiatives. Some of those advances have indeed made it easier to serve — and survey — each customer whenever they are available and through whatever channel they are using. In fact, Salesforce has produced a series of statistics establishing that, not only do customers appreciate a consistent experience across all channels, 75 percent of them expect it.
All of which means that it is time to expand your VoC activities into the channels where your customers are most available and productive. Considering the sheer numbers of customers still initiating customer-service activities over the phone, forward-thinking businesses are using the latest tech to maximize their self-service “interactive voice response” (IVR).
It Never Hurts to Ask
Additional statistics by Salesforce, as well as others, have established that your customers do not expect to get a great customer experience for nothing; they have no problem “paying” for excellence not only with cash but also with their time and information. In other words, don’t be afraid to ask for the feedback your business needs to improve the very experience they are having.
So how exactly does this work? IVR surveys collect timely and accurate feedback, both quantitative and qualitative, directly from your customers. You can create one survey and deploy it simultaneously over the phone and via the web; you can combine surveys with SMS and outbound calling or messaging. The data collected from all channels is then collated into one report.
Use these surveys to:
- Measure and analyze customer experiences
- Determine your Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- See how well each individual agent performs with your customers, then leverage that data to optimize your internal operations
- Link information from specific transactions to customer CRM data in order to trigger personalized feedback requests
- Measure the impact of new product launches, programs or services to determine what works and what areas can be improved, which then can help maximize your development cycle
There is another effective use for omnichannel surveys that does not involve your customers. Apply the same processes to survey your employees and use the data to optimize training, ensure consistent support across the entire organization and reward deserving employees.
The Indirect Ask
One of the true benefits of omnichannel survey tools is that you can collect information without specifically asking for it. To maximize this process, your IVR should be able to leverage information on the context of each customer’s experience, from their history with your business to the way your experience unfolds between self-service, human agents and digital channels.
For instance, do you fully understand what causes a customer to “break” from your self-service IVR and ask for an agent? Regular analysis of IVR data will help you identify the specific conditions that lead to these breaks and uncover their root causes. Your IVR data can also correlate customer demographics, surveys and interaction histories to better understand customer preferences.
Finally, all this information can help you improve the IVR experience, which in turn improves your call containment rates and customer satisfaction scores.
See and Be Seen
There is one important caveat: As the data starts to come in, do not give in to the temptation to get overwhelmed and fall into “analysis paralysis.” It is important that the customers who provide the feedback see you implementing change based on their help. Start with small yet high-impact and highly visible changes, like improving awareness of information or services they did not realize were already available. Updates like these can help customers feel valued, which in turn increases their sense of building a relationship with your business.
With 2020 right around the corner, are you ready to hear what the voice of your customers are saying about the future of your business?
Jaime Bailey is director of marketing at Plum Voice. With more than 18 years of experience, she stewards a team focused on understanding the customer experience, applying new marketing techniques and maximizing ROI.