Getting Real Feedback in Real Time in Customer Service and Support


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Everywhere you turn it’s all “customer experience”, “customer feedback”, “Voice of the Customer”. And for good reason. We’re learning that in order to satisfy a customer it’s really handy to know what the customer wants and likes.

Seems intuitive, doesn’t it? But for so long it was difficult, if not downright impossible to find out some of this stuff quickly and thoroughly enough to take action. This is why you see commercials on TV where you aren’t sure about what’s being sold. Or why you visit websites and fail to find a phone number or address. Or (just kill me now) those endless IVR menus. Nobody found out there was a problem except by anecdotal evidence.

B-CF (Before Customer Feedback) we just assumed that what we put our there was OK. Even when we tried to get someone to tell us if we were doing OK it was as a mail-in survey (takes too long, low response rate) or by asking people on the phone or in person (and most people want to be nice and tell you it’s all fine).

No excuse for that now. We have real-time all the time and that includes the ability to find out what customers think of our service as they receive it. And in such a way that they don’t feel self-conscious about their answers or put upon by being asked to answer a few questions.

One thing to remember….all of your channels must be checked. Maybe the phone experience is great; but the self service center is impossible to navigate. Maybe the in-store experience is great, but trying to raise a human on the phone is a nightmare. How long are customers waiting for a chat response?

If you use multiple channels, you must get feedback on those channels.

“But how many questions to ask?” you ask.

I would say, let your own experience be your guide. When you are taking a survey at the end of a phone conversation, either with a live person or IVR, when do you start tapping your toe, looking at your watch, heaving big impatient sighs? My limit is about 4 questions. I feel like I got a reprieve if I am only asked 3.

Same for online surveys….definitely do not make them more than a page. My clicking limit is about 5 questions if I am being asked yes/no questions, about 3 if I have to rate service on a scale.

And don’t ask me to type anything.

Survey on live chat? It can be done but be careful. People who use chat have a tendency to sign off the minute their problem is fixed. Be sure to ask them ahead of time to do the survey, then make it very short. Not more than 3 items, 2 is better. One probably isn’t worth it unless you are measuring the effectiveness of a specific campaign…”Did you receive a coupon in the mail?”. Yes or No and it’s over.

So there you have it. You want to offer a great customer experience? Find out what people actually think about your current experience in real time so you can quickly adjust. Don’t make them work hard to help you. And take action when you find you must.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jody Pellerin
Jody Pellerin is the Director of Marketing for PhaseWare, Inc. a provider of customer service and support software. PhaseWare helps companies optimize customer service and support with powerful, affordable solutions for incident management, knowledge management, SLA management, and more. Pellerin has authored several white papers and case studies about customer service and support practices including using live chat, optimizing multichannel support, and a guide for on-premise versus on-demand software.


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