The best businesses are looking to rise above the commoditization of the marketplace and place service at the forefront of their strategy. However, in an ‘always on’ civilization, the demands of keeping on top of customer experience and conversations can seem overwhelming.
Most companies now operate some sort of feedback system, but this is not always immediately connected or analyzed which can be a profound problem.
There are a number of problems with gathering feedback that is past its sell-by date:
If you are trying to isolate issues at a particular customer ‘touchpoint’, you need to capture customers’ raw experiences immediately after they have interacted with it. The longer you delay asking for feedback, the more the customer will balance their experience at that touchpoint with their general feelings about your company. While this is useful in itself, it doesn’t help to identify areas where you are performing especially well or badly.
Second, the longer the gap between touchpoint and feedback, the more chance there is that the customer will interact with another touchpoint, again clouding the results.
Third, and perhaps most important of all, immediate feedback gives you a fighting chance of nipping a bad experience in the bud. In fact, research has shown that instant feedback leads, on average, to a 27% increase in customer satisfaction scores and an almost 90% success rate in recovering disappointed customers – preventing them from becoming brand detractors.
Fortunately, there are various technological solutions to the problem of gathering instant feedback. Automated engagement systems can now interact with customers immediately and on the platform of their choice. For example, surveys or ratings snippets can be presented by email, Interactive Voice Response, credit card machine, QR code, SMS message, website form, mobile app and social media message.
The most sophisticated systems also include real-time data analysis and the capacity to display feedback in a meaningful way on a user-friendly dashboard, even on mobile devices.
For an example of how this might work in practice, imagine you have bought a sandwich in a shop on the way into town, and on the wrapper is a QR feedback code. You were disappointed with your purchase or service, scanned the wrapper, and gave the shop a negative feedback rating. Your feedback is instantly flagged and sent to the store manager’s tablet who is then able to issue an SMS apology and a voucher for another sandwich – all while you are still in easy walking distance of the shop. How would this affect your perception of the company?