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Customer Experience

September 26th, 2009

ALERD, Part 2: the new paradigm in dynamic customer surveying: Ask, Listen, Evaluate Response, Dialogue!

In part 2 of the article series ALERD, the new paradigm in dynamic customer surveying: Ask, Listen, Evaluate Response, Dialogue! - Michael Leander addresses the 7 most important considerations for increasing the value of measuring customer experience and customer loyalty.

In part 1 of this article series (read part 1 here, if you haven’t already), we concluded that the current goal should be for companies to survey the customer experience LIVE. In other words; move away from the traditional static, delayed surveys 2-3 times per year in favor of continuous LIVE measurement and surveying.

Most companies prioritize measuring in all customer touch points. From the telephone based customer service to the actual one-on-one interaction between company representatives and the individual customer.

Below I will provide you with some ground rules and hints. These will be discussed one by one in more detail at a later date.

The seven ground rules and important considerations for dynamic customer surveying
There are two reasons for implementing live surveys. First, you will benefit from very frequent reports providing insights into (for example) how your customers rate the experience you provide, loyalty, satisfaction, campaign efficiency and other good stuff. Secondly, you will be able to react on the results immediately. Not with a 2, 5, 11 months delay.

1. Decide how you want to use survey results and who should be responsible for executing changes and improvements.
The largest benefit of LIVE surveying and measurements is to be able to act fast. It is therefore vital that you define your organization involved in acting. Employees who will be responsible for the implementation of improvements that you will initiate based on your survey findings. You should include people from customer service (managers, team leaders, a customer service representative), from marketing and logistics as well as at least one person from top management (you will need that person to get fast and firm decisions as you go along).

2. Identify your two primary internal areas of concern.
You might already know (or have a feeling) that you are currently not meeting customer expectations at point-of-sale, in your customer service or in any other general or specific area of your organization. You should start pinpointing your two primary areas of concern. It is highly recommended to initially survey your customers opinions in these two particular areas.

3. Decide your key metrics
Even though LIVE surveying (such as the Return on Behavior concept from TeleFaction), allows you to change questions and measurement points dynamically, it is highly recommended that you formulate 2-3 permanent key metrics. The results of your key metrics could be based on questions such as “On a scale of … how likely are you to recommend our company”, “How satisfied were you with the service provided by the customer service representative you spoke to moments ago?” etc.

4. Decide your level of “drill down” reporting and reaction
The more advanced solutions for implementation and management of LIVE surveying, allow highly frequent reporting. The true power of LIVE surveying for customer service functions lies in that you can receive reporting not only at the aggregate level, but also at the departmental level, team level and even individual team member level. But before you start, you must decide your level of drill down. I recommend that you initially as a minimum, report on the aggregate corporate level and departmental and/or team level, depending of course on the size of your organization. While I personally believe that a monthly reporting is ideal, I realize that many organizations initially have to settle with quarterly reporting. But even that is - I am sure - a huge improvement compared to what you are doing today.

Moreover, certain industries including insurance, financial services, banking, telecommunication and utilities should consider including quarterly individual team member reporting from the start.

5. Decide your survey and reaction dynamics
As you know, asking questions is only a small part of the game. Listening, evaluating and acting are the biggest and most important parts of your LIVE customer experience surveying setup. You must decide beforehand how you are going to react to a set of predefined scenarios. For instance, how are you going to react to any individual customer giving you a very bad satisfaction rating? Are you going to setup an alert, allowing your customer service department to respond to that individual customer immediately?

The results of any form of measurement are meaningless unless you choose to take steps to improve the customer experience. Decide the actions steps that can be implemented at every level of the company. What skills do your employees need to improve in order to provide a better customer-service experience? What processes and procedures need to be revised, changed or removed to make doing business with you easier for the customer?

6. Easily comprehensible reports delivered in a smart way
Once you have designed your customer experience survey/measurement setup, you obviously have to look at your output. How do you want reports to look like, and how are you going to distribute your knowledge to relevant colleagues? In my opinion there are good reports and bad reports. What you want is to demand reports that are easily understood. Not only by management, but also by customer service agents, sales people etc. whom are not accustomed to reading and understanding reports measuring the customer experience, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty etc.

In part 3 of this article series, I will show you some really cool examples of reports that fulfils these requirements.

7. Short term focus with a little longer term Return on Investment
Live surveying often delivers a ROI in 6-18 months, depending on your situation, your company size, and - obviously - the size of your investment. It is, however, important that you break that Elephant into small pieces. Often your ROI will stem from an improvement in the areas of customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and an increased focus on retention, cross selling and up selling.

> Learn how TeleFaction applies these principles here

About the Author

Michael Leander

Michael Leander , CEO of Michael Leander Company, is a customer lifecycle marketing automation expert  and a marketing innovator. He is also an author and a speaker on subjects such as marketing automation, marketing performance metrics, customer loyalty marketing strategies and effective internet marketing strategies. More information about Michael Leander:

A blog for Marketing managers

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With more than 20 years of managerial and operational experience from three continents, Danish born Michael Leander is an award winning marketing speaker, an integrated marketing expert and a marketing innovator. 

Combining experience from the client side and the consulting/agency side, and having consulted to major-league clients across a variety of industries, Michael Leander is a highly insightful, innovative and productive top-level marketing speaker and marketing consultant.

Speaker, educator and mentor
He has spoken at hundreds of seminars and conferences in more than 40 countries, written hundreds of articles, lectured at numerous educational institutions, and is frequently quoted in leading marketing and IT industry publications.  He also assists talented entrepreneurs in a capacity as board and/or advisory board member to share his experience in a mentor capacity. Check out his upcoming speaking engagements here 



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