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How to Deliver An Industry-Leading Customer Experience

August 15th 2018

Here are the steps you need to take to set the standard in your sector’s customer interactions.

The customer satisfaction survey is a popular and traditional tool used by companies and marketers alike. In today’s mobile world of email and ecommerce, it’s never been easier to drop your survey into each customer’s inbox after each transaction is complete. But does it really paint the most accurate picture of how your customers really feel about your services? Actually, it doesn’t.

Companies and brands across a wide range of sectors use customer satisfaction surveys in order to fine-tune their products and services, while also gaining insight into their customers expectations and experiences. However, in our experience, it isn’t always a winning strategy, nor does it get it right every time.

Agile, effective customer satisfaction survey solutions are required to gain detailedinformation that makes a profound difference to customer service. Here are seven steps to help you identify and implement positive change and get the penetrating research results you need to take your services to the next level:

It’s Not About You, It’s About Each Customer

Think you know and understand exactly what is important to your customers?

Maybe you do, but effective customer satisfaction research is all about what your customer thinks is most important. However well intended, designing surveys that capture what you think is important to the customer can be a big misstep.

It might sound obvious, but developing a successful customer survey starts with the customer. The first step in TTi Global’s Customer Experience Quality Analysis Programme, for example, is conducting qualitative interviews with current and lapsed customers in order to understand their purchase journey – from their motivations to problems they have encountered. This information is critical in supporting questionnaire development and ensures that question sets are relevant to the topics your customers really want to talk about. Always get their side of the story first.

One- Size Customer Surveys Don’t Fit All

Developing surveys for the right stage of the customer journey requires implementing a meaningful customer survey. Post-purchase ‘tell us how we did’ surveys are ideal for collecting feedback on ordering, transactions and delivery, but what about the customers who bought from you months ago and haven’t purchased since?

These customers hold a wealth of valuable information about their reasons for not returning, including what went wrong, whether they were lured away by a competitor and, if so, why? This is a goldmine of information that can provide rich insight into crafting a better customer experience.

And what about the customers who searched your online offering and are familiar with your company, yet still haven’t made a purchase? What is it going to take to transform them from a prospective into a paying customer? Tailoring your customer surveys to past, present, and future customer groups enables you to find out what customers want at every stage of the purchase process to optimise re-purchase metrics as well as satisfaction.

Competitor Benchmarking

You can’t get better if you don’t know where you stand in the first place. Seeking customer expectations and perceptions of your services and products is only half of the equation when generating positive customer research. Understanding your competitors – who they are and how you measure up – is crucial for developing winning strategies that set your company brand apart.

Competitor benchmarking and analysis is a crucial part of all of our customer research programmes as it gives our clients a solid grasp of:

  • Company ranking compared to market competitors
  • The most important service attributes to customers in their sector
  • Where company performance is ahead and where it falls behind
  • Points of differentiation to exploit in order to get ahead – eg. Competitive pricing, offering additional backup services, or more automation to make customers’ lives easier.

Evaluation of competitors can be complex and time consuming, especially when you’re keeping tabs on service changes and new entrants. For the best results, it’s always wise to call upon professional benchmarking research providers.

Careful Planning = Intelligible Data

Unintelligible data yields unintelligible results. Online survey tools and apps have made DIY customer research irresistibly accessible and cheap. However, to avoid ending up with a bundle of unintelligible data, careful planning is a must.

To ensure you get accurate, insightful output, there are several factors to consider when designing a customer survey:

  • Asking the right questions and providing the right answers – will the answers to your questions deliver insight needed to inform decision makers and help plan for change?
  • Are the questions clear? Leaving any room for interpretation has the potential to skew, or completely invalidate, the response.
  • Do the answers cover every answer type? Some respondents may not have, or want to offer, an opinion on a certain subject.
  • Do they speak the customer’s language?
  • Method of delivery – text, email or telephone interview? A combination of methods may even be needed to yield the insights you desire.
  • How do you plan to analyse the data? What key data points do you want to focus on and present?

Data quality has a significant impact on its value, and the degree to which it can be used to plan change effectively. Presentation, content and delivery of the survey also reflect the company brand, so it pays to ensure it is professionally delivered and on-point.

Prioritised Customer Feedback

After collation comes the all-important data analysis – which means sifting through the raw data to identify trends and behaviours that will help you streamline and optimise your customer experience. Many customer satisfaction surveys can help identify the service attributes that are most important to your customers, but these are rarely ranked in order of priority.

The counter-productive effects of this are two-fold. Stagnation – no or few improvements are implemented as a result – or a haphazard approach – prioritising and fixing processes that only have a minor impact on satisfaction, wasting resources and failing to bring about transformation in the process.

Where possible, ensure there is sufficient diagnostic detail in the survey in order to determine the strength of the customer’s expectations, and how important these are in the context of your organisation and its rivals. This supports better decision-making, action-taking, and helps you prioritise the right resources.

For example, our CEQA reporting identifies not only which area of the customer experience needs immediate action, but also what attributes will emerge as priorities in the future, and areas where customers perceive ‘over-delivery’ so a company can afford to relax resources.

An Omni Multi-Channel Customer ResearchCRX Approach

A customer’s brand experience is no longer linear. It now zig-zags across multiple channels. Use your surveys to gather feedback about all customer channels – traditional and digital – to find out what customers want to see more and less of. Read more about Multi-channel customer research here.

Don’t Rest on Your Research Laurels - Customer Experience Will Be The Game-Changer

By 2020, Customer Experience is predicted to be the key company differentiator, above price and product. The implementation of a potent customer research survey that provides an ongoing foundation for tracking and recording customer satisfaction has never been more crucial.

Now is the time to take the opportunity to revitalise your existing research strategies, or implement fresh and innovative solutions that get to the heart of what consumers want, allowing you to refine an effortless customer experience that your customers will love.

TTi Global Research has been helping customers worldwide develop and deliver exceptional customer experience for over 30 years. To find out how we can help you, contact us here.