By Gary Schwartz, SVP Marketing, Confirmit
Many organisations use CRM applications to gauge customer satisfaction and service quality. But whilst ‘C’ should stand for customer, unfortunately it often stands for company, with company centric metrics at the heart of a CRM campaign.
The goal might very well be to give companies a holistic view of customers in order to improve customer satisfaction and build loyalty but measuring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) rarely tells the business whether they are satisfying the customer – because they don’t ask the customer! They measure past behaviour in the expectation that it will be repeated.
A real CRM programme – or Customer Experience Management (CEM) program – should invite the customer to take part in a program of continuous improvement, delivering value to the customer, and therefore, to the business. Loyalty and repeat purchases really does depend on the quality of service provided, the speed of response, and whether a customer feels that his/her opinions, desires and attitudes are taken seriously.
Given the increasing number of departments and channels through which customers can now interact with an organisation – in store, online, call centres, etc – the benefits of using sophisticated customer feedback software that can offer two-way dialogue via multiple channels to create a ‘single view’ of customer attitude and loyalty has never been so important.
According to Confirmit, the five key points for any successful customer strategy are:
One. Measure Key Attitudinal Indicators (KAIs) about how a customer ‘feels’ immediately after each interaction with the business to find out what aspects of the process had the biggest impact on their decision to purchase, buy a related service, or decide to look elsewhere. Attitude precedes behaviour so KAIs will provide more insightful, forward-looking attitudinal informational that can be correlated with historical behaviour, providing a much better indication of customer satisfaction, future behaviour and how it could impact business performance.
Two. Measure customer satisfaction continuously, tracking ‘Key Moments of Truth’ in the customer lifecycle. Proactively seek feedback when a transaction is completed, if there is a problem or even when it fails, rather than asking for feedback at a later date. According to Gartner research, feedback collected immediately after an event is 40% more accurate than feedback collected 24 hours after the event.
Three. Incorporate automatic alerts into the customer feedback system, fast tracking complaints and low satisfaction scores to client services to ensure rapid problem resolution. If you want to radically improve customer experience, deploy a proactive system that not only handles but seeks out complaints to deliver huge increases in response rates, problem resolution and satisfaction scores.
Four. Offer multiple channels to gather feedback at the customer’s convenience – IVR, online, via the contact center, face-to-face, etc – and allow customers to swap between collection methods or to complete a survey in a ‘piece meal’ fashion if required. Create a coherent customer experience regardless of the channel chosen to make a purchase or to provide feedback to build brand awareness.
Five. Feedback on the feedback. It’s worth remembering that you can best enhance customer experience, loyalty and advocacy by measuring it and then showing customers that their opinions count and by telling them how their views have changed product selection, pricing and delivery, for example.
Combining real time understanding of customer attitude with key business performance metrics will not only help to improve customer satisfaction, it will also increase customer retention and enable companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors on the basis of customer experience and quality of service.
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