Customer feedback is amazing for improving your team’s morale, their efficiency and their skills. It transforms good teams into great ones.
But only if you manage it in the right way.
That ‘but’ is very important. You won’t see the benefits of feedback if you route it all to one customer service manager, who extracts ‘key themes’ from it to discuss at a monthly appraisal.
Or worse, if you just ignore customer feedback and treat it as a data-gathering exercise.
If you share every piece of feedback with your entire team, you’ll start to see surprising lifts in both staff morale and skill.
This might sound daunting, but we see see time and time again in the hundreds of businesses who use CustomerSure that the results are nothing short of revolutionary.
Here’s a few real-life stories (names changed to protect the innocent) which show just how powerful feedback is:
A lesson which can completely change performance
“I’m going to fix this once and for all,” said David of a troublesome and unresolved customer problem. David was one of our most enthusiastic and capable technicians and he went into overdrive fixing the problem for the next ten days (including the weekend and most of the nights). Then he tested and re-tested it - he was determined that nothing should go wrong for this customer again. This was typical of David’s attitude. Nothing in any of the customer service text books can substitute for the raw grit and attitude that someone like this brings to a team.
Yet when we sent a satisfaction questionnaire to the customer, the score was 2 out of 10. The accompanying comment made everything clear. “We were really pleased to have this problem finally resolved, but during the ten days you were working on it we had no idea what was going on, and our business was on its knees.”
David was devastated and rang the customer straight away to apologise and everyone ended up on good terms. But that day he learnt a lesson faster and more effectively than on any training course. Such is the power of customer feedback when it’s used by good people within a well designed process.
- Hard work and best intentions do not guarantee satisfaction. Check and make sure by sending a short survey after delivering a product or service.
- The score is just a temperature check – the real value is in the comments.
- Candid feedback from customers sustains a powerful learning culture.
Direct feedback works – management and clipboards don’t
Mary manages a medium-sized call centre in Scotland. When I arrived to visit her one morning she was gripping a sheet of paper and she was clearly frustrated. She explained “These are word-for-word customer comments that I’ve just shown to one of the team members. He’s a really gifted advisor who normally goes out of his way to help customers. But he won’t accept this feedback because management have delivered it and so it is clearly a management ploy.”
Soon afterwards I visited a water company and spoke to the Customer Care Manager. Quite unprompted he described exactly the same problem: “If people read it for themselves, they’re very conscientious and it has an impact, but if it’s delivered by a manager it’s not generally trusted.”
- Customer feedback is a powerful force for changing attitudes and actions.
- If the customer comments are not made available directly, their impact is either reduced or completely negated.
- Managers should not act as a barrier or filter between the feedback and staff member
- The manager can then be freed up from data processing to support and coaching.
Kevin works at a small IT company; he sits in the corner of the office. He has long, dark wavy hair, several piercings and an assortment of tattoos. His taste in music is exclusively heavy metal. He knows their product inside out and can be counted on to solve any problem thrown at him. He is reliable but not very talkative. Nobody was really sure what customers made of him, but because he was so good at solving problems they le him get on with it and hoped for the best. Then they introduced a customer feedback system and these are some of the comments received. They’re typical of the hundreds they have now amassed:
- “Excellent as always.”
- “Very quick response and very helpful”
- “Very professional and prompt……………as usual!”
- “Very responsive great service”
- “Excellent service”
- “Excellent as usual”
- “As usual spot on with resolving the problem”
- “Brilliant service as always”
- “Very patient!”
- “Very helpful and efficient service, completed in quick and timely manner”
You get the idea. Kevin now walks a little taller around the office, grateful that the contribution he knew he was making is now acknowledged. He enjoys the kudos. His colleagues are more confident to refer difficult cases to him, knowing that he can be trusted to do a great job.
- Customers measure success by outcomes, not how hard you try
- Because good feedback is correlated with good outcomes for the customer, it’s well aligned with an organisation’s business goals. This makes it a great input into appraisals
You can improve your team through collecting customer feedback and making sure your team can read it. It’s more effective (and a lot more cost-effective) than training courses or team away-days. If you’re collecting feedback but not sharing it, it’s time to set it free and let your team benefit from it!
If you’re new to the CustomerSure approach to feedback, you might want to read the golden rules next to make sure you’re not making any elementary mistakes which are sabotaging your feedback operation.