Your customers do not perceive your customer experience the same way you do.
That's simply a fact. But most people are shocked and surprised the first time they discover just how true it is.
That's why it's important to get a 360-degree view of the customer experience. You want to understand how it looks from both the company's perspective and the customers'.
Unfortunately, while most companies get both sides of the story, they don't put the pieces together. There are customer surveys to get the customer's view, and tons of data and statistics to track what happened from the company's perspective. But it's rare that those two processes are merged into a coherent whole.
That's a huge lost opportunity, since getting that 360 view is one of the most powerful tools in improving the customer experience at all levels of the organization.
Here are some easy things to try:
- In a contact center, review customer feedback on a call before listening to the call recording. Most contact centers have their agents listen to calls as part of the coaching process. But before you do that, have the agent review customer feedback from the same call. Then, while listening to the call, ask "what on this call made the customer give that feedback?" This is most powerful when you have a recording of a live survey with the customer, since hearing the customer describe their experience has much more impact than reading numbers on a screen.
- Call a customer back and ask for some feedback. This works best right after a customer experience, and if you can select a customer who you think might have something interesting to tell you. For example: "My name is Mary, and I'm a supervisor here at ACME. I noticed when you called a little while ago, your call got transferred several times. I'm trying to figure out how to improve our service, and I was hoping you can share your experience with me." The goal is to listen and understand, not collect statistics. Most people won't answer the phone, but those who do will usually be happy to talk. Just remember to not be defensive, listen ten times more than you talk, and take good notes. You will learn more in five minutes of listening to the customer than five months of listening to recordings, and you will blow the customer's mind.
- Grab a bunch of your customer feedback data, and match it to data from your CRM, web site visitor logs, contact center, and any other data you have about how the customer interacted with the company. As a science project, this can probably be done in Excel in a day or two, and makes a good mini-project for an intern or The New Guy. Then start poking around for interesting trends and correlations. You're almost guaranteed to find something unexpected.
Most people and organizations think they understand their customer experience, since they spend so much time and effort delivering it. Mapping what the company tracked and measured about the experience to how the customer felt about it takes some effort, but it is worth it.