A few years ago, I reviewed Voice of the Customer (VOC) processes at a leading auto company and a large telecom provider. In both cases, tens of millions were spent on customer surveys yet there was little to show for the effort and expense.
In both cases, they had pursued current fads of applying Net Promoter Scores (NPS) to everything and surveying large numbers of individual transactions (using automated technology) for appraisal of individual service staff.
The key focus was, “Is Mary Lou, the CSR, achieving a positive NPS?” What resulted from this effort? Much wasted resources and significant frustration at all levels.
What is Wrong With This Approach to Customer Surveys?
These companies erred in their approach:
- by confusing tactical and strategic initiatives, and,
- by failing to focus on the critical issues: those that were both frequent AND caused significant market damage.
Their survey work failed to yield information that could lead to an action plan that would return on their customer experience investment.
Comparing Two Different Approaches to Customer Surveys
Compare these wasteful experiences with that of another telecom and an insurance company. Both
- spent much less on customer surveys by investing in ones designed to provide actionable information, and
- they have made significant progress on NPS and customer satisfaction as well as problem prevention.
Rather than survey everything everywhere and focus solely on the front line, these companies executed biannual strategic relationship surveys to find their key points of pain (POP) across the customer journey and to identify underlying people, process, marketing/sales and technology issues that were the root causes of those POP.
With strategic goals set, they then initiated a combination of strategic initiatives and a modified set of tactical performance surveys focused on important dimensions of important transactions.
These customer surveys’ expense was kept at a reasonable level and significant CX improvement was achieved.
For example, at the insurance company, one set of simple modifications to the digital platform resulted in a 7% increase in user satisfaction within a single quarter.
Remember, you cannot fix everything and lots of squeaky wheels DO NOT deserve grease. Use strategic surveys to decide what is important (based on both frequency and severity) and then use tactical surveys to only measure those few dimensions that the front line can control.
For more on this subject, see our full Quirks article here.
A 1970s trailblazer in CX, John turned industry thinking on its head with his groundbreaking research. Author of definitive CX books and more, John is now known worldwide as a leading expert on win-win customer care.