How well is your customer service operation doing?
(What do your customers really think?)
(c) Aleks de Gromoboy 1997
Looking for an easy way to measure how well your customer service operation is performing?
I've set up satisfaction surveys for a number of customer service operations. The bad news that there isn't one easy measurement you can make. If you do go for excessive simplicity it may hide as much as it reveals. However getting good value out of customer surveys isn't that difficult. You need to identify what you want to know and the key factors contributing to those goals. Then look at both the average satisfaction against each factor and the spread of responses. Some responses saying you're excellent and some poor is not the same as all users saying you're OK!
The graph below illustrates the kind of spread you often see. It shows results of a helpdesk survey where the average score was a bit below acceptable - but there were clearly two different types of users. By focusing on the lower segment the helpdesk substantially improved the average perception. If they hadn't recognised the two types of user they might never have acheived acceptable results. (The lower segment was the group of users who had home PCs so had some expertise already.)
Some key considerations:
1: Identify the goal of the survey
There are a number of common survey goals. Typically these include: Identifying weak spots, noting trends from the last survey, comparing with industry standards, testing the results of specific changes, finding out how satisfied customers are with you, proving that you're meeting specification. All these have different needs.
Most important is to beware of measuring aspects that
you can't or won't be able to change. It can be a waste
of money and time.
For example - one place I surveyed were sure that they
did a great job because calls were answered quickly and
problems were fixed quickly. The log data bore this out.
However users were dissatisfied because what they
actually wanted was to be kept informed about when the
engineer would turn up, not just "within 2
hours". They also felt it was more important to have
technical expertise in the call centre not just message
taking and customer care skills.
There are a number of theoretical models for this sort of feedback. While not that useful on their own they provide a "sanity check" once you have found out your customers specific needs.
2: Get a random sample.
You'll never get truly random samples. There's always
some degree of self selection - but if you (say) do a
postal survey with only 10% response then it's a very
small and specific subset of your users that you're
analysing. The statistical validity is low.
3: Ask measurable questions.
For example ask the subjects to score the particular
call between highly satisfied to highly dissatisfied.
Don't have an obvious central score - people usually use
even numbers so there's no central score.
You will have different user groups. Old/young - callers at different times - business/residential Frequent/occasional users - expert/newbie. Each group has different needs, sometimes conflicting. If you can tune into your segments you will have a definite advantage.
Once you've identified the issues that each customer
segment considers as critical there are a number of quite
powerful general questions you should keep asking to stay
ahead of the game:
I hope you've found this useful. If you
did please click on the graphic to vote for this