Mind the Gap: Closing the Loop with Customers

Mind the Gap: Closing the Loop with Customers image Close the Loop small2Close the Loop with CustomersWith the United Kingdom and most of Europe in the midst of, or just emerging from, a double dip recession, consumer-oriented companies are looking for ways other than price to differentiate themselves. Leading companies that are passionate about their customer relationships are increasingly turning to Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and other customer satisfaction surveys to gauge their operational effectiveness and customer loyalty. This data is an important measurement of their business-but it is only the start of the journey. Gathering feedback from customers is not enough; companies must listen and then close the loop with an immediate response, minding the gap between feedback and resolution to ensure customer satisfaction.

Customer feedback in aggregate can be used to identify weak processes and/or employees in the customer’s experience, but what about that failed interaction the customer is commenting on? When I recently contacted my mobile operator with a query about my bill, it took more than one call and lots of time on hold to get my issue only partially resolved. The next day I received a survey via text about my experience, and I let them know I was unhappy by responding that I would not recommend them to friends or family. The only response I got was a generic message, “Thanks, your feedback helps us improve our service.” There was no attempt to further resolve my issue or repair our customer relationship. Managing this gap in expectations and resolution requires immediacy – in other words, if you ask for honest customer feedback, you should be prepared for answers that require immediate action to fix a bad experience.

While it can present an operational challenge to handle the service recovery for those self identified unhappy customers, if you don’t change their perceptions, then they will become your competitions’ customers. Top performing companies are continually monitoring and learning from every customer touch point. With closed-loop surveys, customer feedback data is collected, employees are made aware of responses, feedback is communicated to customers (and employees), and the changes are made to achieve customer satisfaction. Here are few keys to execute a successful closed loop survey process:

  • Measure your customers’ satisfaction. This can identify areas for improvement, but you musn’t stop there.
  • Identify unhappy customers. This gives you a great opportunity to save their experience and their custom.
  • Take advantage of this opportunity by following up with these customers immediately. They are likely communicating with you via text, voice, or the web. Use that touch point to escalate them to a “save team” or other specialist group who is empowered to solve the problem. This gives you the opportunity to turn a negative experience into a positive one.

Recently a top UK telecom provider implemented a closed-loop, cross-channel NPS program that included an interactive text survey with a same day live agent call to all detractors. The results were impressive – they experienced a 25-30% response rate and the save team spoke with 40% of the detractors, consequently improving the client’s overall NPS. By minding the gap, they enhanced customer retention, bottom line results, and improved their customers’ experience and trust in their brand. What better way to differentiate your organization from the competition than with customer loyalty built on trust?

To learn more about NPS surveys, read our recent blog Nothing But Net: NPS and Customer Engagement.

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