Build a Listening Machine to Optimize Customer Feedback

The information your customers give you includes the broken things blocking your customer reliability.

Optimizing customer feedback is one of the most straightforward ways to garner the momentum for customer focus, yet most companies don’t do it in an organized way. You don’t need to spend millions on a “satisfaction” survey.

You have the information right at your fingertips.  All you have to do is listen to customers tell you what is broken and fix it.

1. Create Uniform Categories for Reporting

A major “culture boost” activity will occur in the simple action of getting everyone to agree on the categories for collecting information for reporting. With many clients, we automate the collection of this information into the call center’s software program for consistency, and with other high volume places where customers volunteer information. By focusing here first, within a month, you can have a decent tracking mechanism to identify the issues bugging customers.  Remember don’t worry about it being the best right away – just get started.

2. Collapse All Incoming Customer Complaints and Comments into a Monthly Trending Report

To get traction for a financial services client, one of the first things we did was to collapse all of the incoming customer complaints and comments into a monthly trending report. Suddenly the areas of the operation could see the big issues emerge based on the volume.  This moved action way beyond what was being done before –  reading letters from upset customers in the executive committee meetings.  That seemed too ‘soft’- but there was no hiding from the volume of multitudes of customers being upset about a set of common issues!

3. Identify and Prioritize the “Cracks in the Foundation” that Emerge

Somewhere along the way, we came up with the term “cracks in the foundation” to define this ever-growing list and it stuck. This was the list of priority issues that had to be fixed before we could move on to other actions.

People could make the connection that the foundation of our offering to customers was being compromised because of lapses in how we executed the different functions of business. Once that was understood, we determined how many of the “cracks” we could fix each quarter or year. Then the operating vice presidents responsible for improving these issues were made accountable for fixing them, which in turn removed them from the issues being reported by customers.

You can’t leapfrog over fixing these issues. Resolving the day-to-day bugs in the system are critical to creating customer experience reliability.

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