Last weekend, a friend asked me to fill out an online satisfaction survey. Before I could even open my mouth to respond, I was handed a receipt and a card with a link to the questionnaire, accompanied by an almost excusing plea to participate, stating “it was so difficult to find people willing to complete a survey” and “the employer has such unrealistic expectations”…
I don’t know if it’s because of my job as a consultant at Möbius or my role as an advocate of the theme ‘Service Excellence’, but it kept nagging at me. I decided to have a look at the questionnaire. Whether or not by coincidence, I had visited a similar company the day before, so I could sympathise with the situation. I noticed the following:
- An enormous laundry list of possible products and services that the customer may or may not have come into contact with is presented as the first screening section for the rest of the questionnaire. With my previous day’s visit in the back of my mind, I imagine that, for most customers, only one or two (often the same) products or services are actually relevant.
- The actual questionnaire is very long… Depending on the scores given, tons of extra questions are asked, most of which are very detailed. Based on my visit, I would prefer to leave many of these questions unanswered since I had no idea what to answer, having not paid any attention to these things in the shop.
- At the end, you’re asked whether you’d recommend the shop to friends and/or family and to rate this on a scale of 1 to 10. Unfortunately, they don’t ask why.
All of these questions are actually useful and a sign that the company is concerned about these matters and wants to continue offering excellent service. This company clearly realized that it is no longer enough to simply offer quality products and/or services. That’s because products and services are becoming more and more comparable, competition is fierce and pressure on margins high. Luckily, there is also the awareness that service needs to be excellent for customers to visit the shop and, even more important, return.
That’s the positive news. But the questionnaire is long and not relevant for me to complete and, besides, it wouldn’t offer the company good insight into the satisfaction scores of customers in terms of all of their services. If I were to contact them tomorrow, I’d suggest that they try mystery shopping and Hello Customer.
- Mystery shopping makes it possible to have all aspects of services screened in detail by people specially trained for this purpose and with the necessary experience and competencies. A major advantage is the guarantee of properly calibrated data, where, for example, a score of 7 out of 10 means the same for every mystery shopper. What’s more, scenarios are developed that must be followed, making it possible to determine exactly beforehand how each product and service is offered. The report drawn up after the visit is a handy tool that makes it possible to objectively determine whether the pre-established processes and procedures are respected and where improvements, if any, can be made.
- Hello Customer is an online tool that makes it possible to ask customers questions by SMS or e-mail or even tablets in the shop and after every visit or contact. Only one question is asked, namely whether, based on this contact, the customer would recommend the company to family and friends (including a score on a scale of 1 to 10) and why. The automatic text analysis of the open responses immediately shows which aspects are often behind a positive, neutral or negative experience. It is also possible to filter the results by date, shop, type of product, and so on, and to contact customers who had a negative experience and take action before it’s too late. The greatest advantage of Hello Customer is that, thanks to the simplicity of the tool, the response rate is often very high and, consequently, large number of customers are reached. In other words, it’s the perfect instrument for receiving continuous customer feedback and making continuous improvements.
All that remains is for me to actually give them a ring and see how they respond….