Keeping Surveys Simple

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Keeping Surveys Simple

/ Strategy, Customer Experience, Strategic management, Research
Keeping Surveys Simple

Surveys should be easily executable, measurable and actionable—and it all begins with the planning.

Too often companies want to capture the voice of the customer through surveys but end up receiving information that doesn’t help to drive performance, improve the customer experience nor increase first-contact resolution. This is due to not having a clear direction of “what” should be measured or “why” it should be measured, as well as “which” questions will provide the necessary feedback to improve or maintain the directives.

Surveys should be simple, easily executable, measurable and actionable—and it all begins with the planning. The following are four steps that will help you to get the most out of your surveys while keeping it simple.

Decide What Needs to Be Measured

This step can be the most challenging when you’re starting to add surveys to your organization’s WFO arsenal. As Peter Drucker pointed out, to effect and manage change, you have to know what to measure. What are some of the areas in which your organization struggles? Do they directly impact the customer? A few basic KPIs to consider that have a direct effect on the customer experience are average speed of answer (ASA), average handle time (AHT) and first-call resolution (FCR).

A study by Purdue University looked at the percentage of return business based on three types of customer experience scenarios. In the first scenario—customers purchase a product without problems—the probability of customers returning was 78%. The second scenario, in which customers experience a problem with the product and receive ineffective customer service, the study found only a 32% probability of customer returning. That makes sense: Most of us would not return as customers if we had a bad product and received poor customer service when trying to correct the product issue.

In the third scenario, customers experienced a problem with the product and were provided with effective customer service to resolve the issue. In this case, the study reported an 89% probability of return business. Why the increase in return business over customers who experienced no problems at all? The organizations took the opportunity to efficiently and effectively resolve customers’ problems, which built trust and loyalty among customers.

Often, we will continue to do business with an organization because we like the product and/or the service. This understanding is essential when deciding which KPIs you want to address and how it affects the relationship with your customers. Long wait times, long durational types of calls and having to make multiple calls to get your issues resolved are the daggers that cut into your relationship and trust with the customer. Bottom line: When brainstorming what to measure, choose metrics that directly impact the customer’s relationship with the organization.

Decide the Ideal Survey Method(s) for Your Business

There are many different types of survey methods that will allow for you to obtain customer feedback. Each has its pros and cons. To get the most feedback that allows for action, you should address all of the channels through which your organization communicates with customers. For example, if you provide customer service interactions via chat or email, survey those channels in addition to your phone channel. Some of the more popular survey methods are post-call IVR automated, live agents, web/chat, email, SMS and even postal mail.

Decide Your Survey Type

Choosing the survey type ties directly with what you have chosen to measure. The type of survey you select can potentially allow for you to gauge how you organization is performing, customer service levels and overall areas of opportunity.

The two most common types of surveys are customer satisfaction and customer loyalty:

Customer satisfaction focuses on the interaction experience that customers had with your organization. This type of survey would tie directly into AHT, ASA, FCR, etc. This type of survey is the most common and is ideal for gathering specific feedback about knowledge gaps or information regarding your products and service.

Customer loyalty also ties into the experience, but at a higher level. This type of survey really focuses on whether customers are loyal to an organization’s brand, products and/or services. Customer loyalty surveys also determine whether your customer will be advocates for your organization. This survey type has become more in demand due to the impact of social media as a marketing forum. As consumers, we share our likes and dislikes via the web. Having strong voices to champion your company has huge loyalty benefits, resulting in consistent and increased revenue.

Deciding on Your Questions and Responses

Developing the survey’s questions and response options is often mistakenly taken as the first step. When that occurs, it typically results in too many questions, which provides convoluted data that is difficult to take action upon. However, once we know exactly what we want to measure, which interactions to measure and the type of survey to use, this step becomes pretty simple.

Industry standards show that an ideal survey should be no more than five questions. Already, I’m sure that blew your mind. As a consumer, would you like to take a long survey AFTER you just spent a certain amount of time dealing with an issue? I know that I would not. When limiting surveys to three to five questions, we need to make sure that those questions are easily understandable, relevant to the metrics that you’re focusing on, unbiased and consistent across all channels being surveyed.

Another consideration when developing survey questions is whether the questions should align with your quality standards. They do not have to, and often your Csat scores will not match your quality scores. For instance, an agent can perform all the duties required by your organization and provide world-class customer service, yet a customer who is calling after failing to have their issue resolved the first time, or who is angry about the product in general, may still give provide poor feedback despite the agent’s due diligence. This would show the misalignment between the survey and quality, but it is something to consider when determining the right questions to ask.

The meaning of each response choice (“good” vs. “bad”) should be clear. If you are using a scaling method for your responses, it also should be consistent. You may also want to determine the mapping of your responses. For example, if you customer gives a non-ideal score for one of your questions, you may want to have them skip to another question that allows them to explain their reasoning for the score given.

The responses should allow for easy reporting and for plausible action based off the data. Some actions taken from responses may be more training and coaching with agents, updates on software and technology, analysis on staffing and workforce management, or even optimizing IVR efficiency.

By adding these steps to your survey planning, you can develop a simpler and suitable survey solution that will result in a clearer voice of the customer.

Gerald Sinclair

Gerald Sinclair is WFO Practice Manager for Uptivity, an inContact company.