The Customer Service Survey

Reporting Right

by Peter Leppik on Fri, 2012-06-08 16:12

If you're getting good feedback from your customers, congratulations. You've solved the first third of the problem of building an effective program.

The next piece is reporting. I'm amazed at how many customer feedback programs are still doing their reporting through Excel spreadsheets and pivot tables. Modern tools can make the feedback far more effective by delivering the right data at the right time.

To be effective, survey reports need to be:

  • Timely: The faster you deliver data to people who can use it, the more effective it will be. Ideally, front-line managers should have feedback from transactions which happened the same day.
  • Directed: Different report recipients need to have different views of the data. An executive may need a high-level summary aggregated across the organization, while a superisor needs to see lots of detail about the twenty people she manages.
  • Interactive: Most people will just need to see "the number", but everyone should have the option of taking a deeper dive. Some of the best insights come people on the front lines trying to understand why customers are responding the way they are.

For most customer feedback programs we set up two "tiers" of reporting. The first tier is preconfigured reports, pushed to recipients on a regular schedule. For example, individual customer service reps get an immediate report of each survey, or an executive gets a weekly high level summary. For a given client, there may be hundreds of different preconfigured reports, each tailored and filtered for the particular audience.

The second tier is interactive reporting through a web-based reporting engine. Someone can start with the preconfigured report (or start from scratch), and filter the data, look at different metrics, compare sub-groups, or browse individual survey records. They key is to make this platform simple enough that most users can get what they want without having to spend a lot of time learning how to use the system.

Combining these two types of reporting in a single package maximizes the impact of the customer feedback, giving people the knowledge and insight they need to figure out how to best meet the customer's needs.

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