Enhancing Customer Service: Focusing on Customer Experience (CX), Honesty in Surveys, and Avoiding Manufactured Consent as the basis for Prediction
Last week I had to contact my new broadband provider as they sent an automated message saying the date had changed on my order, but they didn’t put an order number or partial postcode or anything that I may consider as evidence of a legitimate update or an explanation of ‘why’ they had decided to inconvenience me – so I contacted them. At the end of the call the agent said I was going to get a survey and could I fill it in as the feedback impacted on their personal performance. The question was “how likely are you to recommend ‘brand’ to your friends?”. I was shocked by this manipulation, that the excellent call handler’s future was hanging on my response! The process issue is that after the nice sign-up process where I got to choose an installation date, I had now received a shoddy piece of automated communication with no context and no choice as to when the new installation would take place. However, all this terrible CX was now the call handler’s sole responsibility as the organisation had no process to capture anything that would drive an improvement in the end-to-end CX and avoidance of future calls (for example, by reusing their digital booking service they already have). I was struck by the disinterest in measuring either the actual interaction with the human or the root cause of the unnecessary cost to us all. Obviously, I also had to contact my current provider as well to ensure no calamitous WiFi gap; again this contact could have been prevented with better communication.
Exceptional customer service is crucial for the success of any business. To ensure customer satisfaction and continuous improvement, companies must prioritise doing the basics right for customers and maintaining honesty in customer service surveys. Additionally, it is vital to recognize and avoid the pitfalls of manufactured consent in survey processes. This article will delve into these concepts, their practical application, and strategies for fostering transparency, integrity, and customer-centricity while mitigating the risks of manufactured consent.
Doing the Basics Right for Customers
At the core of exceptional customer service is the commitment to meet customer needs and expectations. By prioritising the following aspects, businesses can establish a strong foundation for customer satisfaction:
- Answering Queries: Customers expect prompt responses and accurate information when they have questions or concerns. Timely and reliable assistance demonstrates a company’s dedication to excellent customer service. Quite simply have enough stuff at the right times – there is no value in skimping on cost at this point so as to annoy the customer more, when the failure cost should have been prevented with a CX that functions fully.
- Meeting Communication Preferences: Recognising and respecting customers’ diverse communication preferences is essential. Whether through phone calls, live chats, emails, or other channels, catering to these preferences enhances customer satisfaction and engagement.
Honesty in Surveys to Understand Root Causes
Customer service surveys are a valuable tool for gaining insights into customer experiences. However, there is a risk of manufactured consent, where survey results are manipulated to align with a company’s managers’ interests. It is crucial to promote honesty in surveys to ensure accurate feedback and understanding of root causes. Consider the following factors:
- Unbiased Survey Design: Surveys should be designed with neutrality, openness, and lack of bias in mind. By avoiding leading questions or limited response options, businesses can encourage customers to express their genuine opinions and experiences.
- Balanced Incentives and Rewards: While incentives can increase survey response rates, companies should strike a balance to avoid bias. Customers should feel free to provide honest feedback without feeling pressured to provide positive responses solely for rewards.
- Timing and Format Considerations: The timing and format of survey administration can influence the responses received. Companies should diversify customer touchpoints and offer surveys in a non-intrusive manner to reduce potential skewing of results.
- Embracing All Feedback: Dismissing or filtering out negative feedback undermines the purpose of surveys. Both positive and negative feedback should be valued and treated as opportunities for growth and improvement.
Integrating Manufactured Consent Awareness
To foster transparency, integrity, and customer-centricity while mitigating the risks of manufactured consent, businesses can adopt the following practices:
- Anonymity and Confidentiality: Ensure respondents feel safe and secure, providing honest feedback without fear of retribution or judgement.
- Proactive Communication: Engage in open dialogue with customers, addressing their concerns and demonstrating a genuine commitment to resolving issues.
- Regular Review and Action: Actively and independently review and analyse survey results, identifying patterns and trends. Take concrete actions to address customer concerns and improve service quality. Verify and align to customer service analytics and verify with front-line staff as well as sample customers.
- Ethical Leadership: Leaders should promote a culture of honesty and ethical conduct, emphasising the importance of accurate feedback and avoiding manipulative practices. In my example, think of the entire CX journey not just the call handler moment.
- In the realm of customer service, focusing on doing the basics right for customers, maintaining honesty in surveys, and avoiding the pitfalls of manufactured consent are crucial for sustainable success. By fostering transparency, integrity, and customer-centricity, businesses can gain invaluable insights into customer needs, enhance service quality, and build long-lasting relationships. Prioritising these principles will create a culture of continuous improvement, customer satisfaction, and trust, positioning businesses to thrive in an increasingly customer-centric marketplace.
So where is this all heading? Prediction.
The article highlights the shortcomings of traditional survey-based measurement systems in measuring customer experience (CX) and identifies the need for a more data-driven approach. Despite the heavy investment in tools and technologies to understand customers better, survey-based metrics still dominate CX measurement efforts. However, research shows that only a small percentage of leaders are fully satisfied with their measurement systems and believe they enable both strategic and tactical decision-making.
The limitations of survey-based systems are outlined in the article. Firstly, they provide a limited view of the customer base, sampling only a small percentage of customers. Secondly, they are reactive, providing backward-looking insights when customers expect quick resolution of their concerns. Thirdly, surveys often fail to reveal the root causes of customer sentiment, making it challenging to perform reliable root-cause analysis. Finally, the association between survey-based scores and business outcomes is not well understood, hindering the ability to calculate the ROI of CX decisions.
Data-driven CX measurement
To overcome these limitations, companies are adopting a more data-driven approach to CX measurement. This approach involves collecting and analysing data from various sources, such as customer interactions, transactions, and operational systems, to gain deep insights about customers. Predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms are used to understand and track the factors influencing customer satisfaction and business performance, as well as to detect specific events in customer journeys. These predictive customer insights enable companies to take immediate and personalised actions to improve CX and drive positive business outcomes.
Implementing data-driven CX systems requires a shift in mindset and breaking down silos within the organisation. CX leaders need to embrace data and analytics as integral components of their role and collaborate with other functions, such as operations, marketing, finance, and technology. By building cross-functional teams and ensuring buy-in from stakeholders, organisations can scale the impact of their data-driven CX initiatives.
In conclusion, the article emphasises the need for companies to move away from survey-based measurement systems and adopt a more predictive and data-driven approach to CX. By leveraging customer data and analytics, organisations can gain a comprehensive understanding of the customer journey, identify areas for improvement, and make strategic decisions that drive positive business outcomes.
Interestingly, machine learning can also be biassed by manufactured consent since it can only learn on the data it feeds on. Therefore, we suggest using the basics of process reengineering to help organisations optimise their operational processes to align with customer expectations and deliver a seamless and satisfying customer journey. By focusing on efficiency, customer-centricity, and continuous improvement, organisations can create a competitive advantage and drive customer loyalty. Capture data about the whole journey and the predictive CX is more likely to represent how the customer feels about your business when they get in touch.
Burford Solutions can help you with an Operational Health Check or a Digital & Technology Health Check as a practitioner led starting point to reviewing your CX and related operating models: https://burfordsolutions.com/services/