Many companies overlook the importance of employees and the impact their feedback can have on improving customer experience. From identifying potential problems before they hit customer satisfaction to improving products and using their enthusiasm to encourage loyalty, employee feedback should be an intrinsic part of your customer experience programme.
1. Nip issues in the bud…before they reach customers
Customer services staff are the eyes and ears of any organisation and are on the frontline when it comes to issues which could arise with the overall customer experience. It’s vital that the business listens to employees in these roles and they should be given regular, ongoing opportunities to talk about what’s working and what’s not. Given them a clear method of raising issues quickly, so that they can be fixed before they impact the majority of your customers. Also hold regular customer feedback meetings to collect longer term feedback from employees so that improvements can be made going forward.
2. Play an active role in R&D
Customer experience staff spend much of their time listening to niggles and gripes. Often these are relatively small and could be solved with tweaks to a product or service offering. It’s this knowledge gathered at the front line that senior managers may never normally get to hear that can make the difference between a product being a runaway success or simply average. Customer experience staff can help R&D in other ways too. Collecting feedback from the services and support team can help establish trends in terms of customer issues, requests and more. This information in turn can inform minor or major upgrades so products and services are continuously improving.
3. People want to do business with engaged employees
We’ve all experienced the positive energy that comes from walking into a shop where the employees have genuine enthusiasm for the product they’re selling. John Lewis and Apple are perhaps two examples of this but there will be others. Contrast this with trying to get the attention or interest of a disengaged employee who obviously doesn’t want to help. It’s pretty obvious where a consumer will spend their money.
Positive staff can have an instantaneous effect on how one feels about the overall customer experience. Subconsciously it also provides reassurance that if there are any issues with the subsequent purchase these same people will do their best to help. Encourage your staff to be positive and engaged – and start by listening to their feedback and ironing out any issues that stop them giving their best.
4. Provide insight from customers that may not fit in customer surveys
As much as we’d all like customers to fill in satisfaction surveys and provide continuous feedback, this can be a struggle with the less vocal. This is why it’s essential that trusted staff on the front line are able to contribute to this process to help fill in the gaps. Collect their feedback on how satisfied customers are and any areas of concern, and combine this with other surveys to get a rounded view of customer satisfaction.
5. Use staff as a valuable source of competitive intelligence
Understanding what is happening in the market is vital to competing effectively. And it is the staff on the front line who are gaining intelligence on what your rivals are up to. This anecdotal information can make the difference between winning and losing business, but may not be captured by external market research. Take the example of pricing – a customer may call up and say they are going to cancel their contract, not because of service or product, but that your competitor gives them longer to pay their bills. Feeding this information back quickly allows the pricing team to make a decision on potentially changing terms in order to compete. On the flipside, an agent may notice that they are getting more calls from customers in a particular area who are looking to leave a rival. Providing this information to marketing could then result in a targeted campaign to exploit this potential weakness and win more business.
These are just five ways that customer experience staff can make all the difference. The important thing is to ensure front line staff are motivated and engaged and to put in place the processes to capture feedback quickly and effectively. You can then use this to drive an improved customer experience that better meets consumer needs.