Vocalabs Newsletter: Quality Times


The Customer Service Survey Maturity Model

In This Issue


Based on our years of experience with different companies and helping them build effective customer feedback programs, we have developed the Customer Service Survey Maturity Model. Today we published a white paper outlining the model, as well as a simple online self-assessment tool which anyone can use to gain an understanding of where their customer feedback practices stand, using the principles of Agile Customer Feedback as a guide.

The maturity model and the self-assessment tool are a quick way to get a sense of what's possible and what changes to your customer survey process are likely to yield the most bang for your buck. The model evaluates the three functional areas of any customer service survey process: Data Collection, Reporting, and Process. In each area, the company's maturity is evaluated based on which practices the company uses.

Since Data Collection, Reporting, and Process all support each other, the most fertile ground for improvement is usually where the company is least mature.

We're hoping this is a useful tool for our clients and the community in general. I welcome any comments or feedback.


The overwhelming majority of customer service surveys happen in the business-to-consumer world.

Which, if you think about it, is a little strange given that the business case for an effective customer feedback program is much stronger in the business-to-business world. In B2B, the value of each customer is usually higher, the acquisition costs higher, and the length of the relationship longer. Reputation and word-of-mouth is just as important in B2B, but it's less likely to be visible through social media and other public channels.

We have a number of very successful B2B customer feedback programs in place, and our clients have found it to be a powerful tool. Many of the tools and techniques we use in B2C customer feedback are just as useful in B2B, such as real-time interviews, delivering data to the front lines in real-time, and a robust service recovery process.

There are a few things to be aware of, though, when implementing a B2B customer feedback program:

  • Reaching the right person can be more of a challenge than in B2C. It's common to have multiple contacts for each customer and lot of out-of-date information.
  • B2B customers are very willing to talk to an interviewer for a few minutes--refusal rates are typically very low. However, you need to respect their time, and automated surveys are not likely to be successful.
  • B2B customers expect a high level of service, and if they have a complaint they expect it to be addressed. A proper service recovery process is not optional.

So don't listen to the people who think you can't do customer feedback in B2B--our clients know it isn't true.

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