The Customer Service Survey

Credible Customer Feedback

by Peter Leppik on Mon, 2011-11-14 15:21

Many customer feedback programs struggle with credibility, especially among front-line employees who receive negative feedback.

That's understandable, and human. Most people take pride in their work, and don't want to believe that they aren't providing good service. So the natural reaction is to be defensive and look for ways the feedback might be mistaken.

Employees won't change their behavior based on customer feedback unless they believe the feedback is fair and reasonable. Here are some ways to make feedback more credible for the recipients:

  • Focus on stories, not statistics. Statistics carry no emotional value, but a story does. Rather than "Your satisfaction score last month was five points below our threshold," try something like, "Let's talk about Mary's feedback. What do you think she wanted, and how could you have served her better?"
  • Use the literal voice of the customer (if possible). Audio recordings of customer feedback makes it easier to empathize with the customer, as compared to written feedback or transcripts.
  • Provide a route to appeal. Survey mistakes do happen, and if there's an evenhanded way to correct errors you can get people to buy in to the process as a whole.
  • Be consistent. The message needs to be that the feedback process is here to stay, it is taken seriously, and the easiest route to better scores is through better service.
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