This week we feature an article by Christa Heibel who writes about how important employee feedback is to a successful customer service experience and high CSAT ratings. – Shep Hyken
In my past experience as both a consultant and owner/operator of a BPO, I understand that CSAT surveys tend to get all the attention. Of course, this is with good reason. CSAT surveys are critical in determining challenges that your customers are facing so that you may improve the customer experience. However, I want to discuss one of the crucial elements that companies and their contact centers tend to ignore when aiming to provide good customer service experience and obtain high CSAT rating. That element is employee feedback.
Employee Feedback – Pure Gold!
Think about it – your customer-facing employees, such as your agents, are your customer experience frontline. Your frontline employees have an intimate understanding of internal matters such as your company’s policies, processes and procedure. They also understand your customers, perhaps better than your executive team. They directly hear what the customers’ problems are and have a finger to the pulse of what your customers need. Their knowledge of your internal processes and customer needs are, quite literally, a gold mine!
They Know Your Customers
One of the keys to success in operating an effective customer service front, whether you are in a brick and mortar storefront or a contact center, is knowing how your customers define good customer service. Your customers will sing praises if you provide a great product or service, but can also be vocal when they feel like their needs are being met. Yes, your reporting can tell you that you have long wait times, high abandonment rates, or low CSAT scores. However, it cannot always tell you why. There may be a rigid policy that your customers feel are unfair. Perhaps your website is down or there is a glitch in your system that is causing a rise in customer interactions.
Your frontline employees are typically on the receiving end of complaints, comments, and customer feedback. This is why it is critical to regularly tap into your frontline employees and ask them about the concerns that your customers are having. Sure, you can’t please everyone, but you may find that some of these issues are becoming an unwanted trend. It is better that you hear from your employees and you nip the problem in the bud, rather than finding out about it later after your customers have blasted you on social media.
Another thought to consider is that many customers will simply ignore a CSAT survey. If they feel disgruntled enough, they may decide to provide a survey. However, many customers will simply stop doing business with you. In a situation like that, you may have zero insight as to why your customer decided to leave. This is why it is important to tap into your gold mine—your frontline employees.
It’s an Inside Job
When you ask your employees for feedback, it makes them feel empowered and valuable. Letting them say what they feel about their work increases their satisfaction How so? It gives them a chance to be heard. It gives them a voice. It builds their trust in you as an employer, as someone who values their opinion. This will lead to a better company image and potentially increase productivity and performance.
Obtaining their comments about the workplace and customers gives you a better perspective of your company. You can ask them about culture, their relationship with management and their peers, and the things they need to perform well in their given roles. This can lead to game-changing results and can shed light on new, innovative perspectives and approaches that you had not considered before. An employee can also shed light on other issues that can affect the customer experience such as employee attrition, poor management, or broken processes.
What You Can Do
First, obtain employee feedback through a company-wide survey. The alternative is to let their team leaders interview them one by one. However, it is not enough to just do one survey and be done with it. When developing a survey strategy, aim to launch a regularly scheduled employee survey.
The second step is to verify the information. You can do that by listening to recordings, reviewing e-mail threads or any other documentation of the customer interaction. It is a must that you review both good and bad interactions to make the verification process easier.
Third, create an action plan and perform a split test. Group A will perform the changes you wrote in your plan and group B will perform what they have been doing before. The strategy or plan that garners more CSATs will be the one that your organization will use moving forward.
Employee feedback can be the driving force of new ideas that can transform your customer experience from the inside out. however, collecting data is not enough. You must collect, verify, analyze, plan and act. Through careful planning and execution, you can utilize feedback as a vehicle of change for organizational growth and an improved experience for your customers.
Christa Heibel is the Founder/Owner of CH Consulting Group where she leads a nationwide network of Customer Experience Consultants that specialize in the Omni-Channel Contact Center. Christa brings 25+ years of contact center experience to the table where she has successfully developed, implemented and managed numerous contact center operations across the U.S.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Eight Ways To Thank Your Customers For Valentine’s Day