Vocalabs Newsletter: Quality Times

Issue
88

Journey Surveys

In This Issue


Journey Surveys

Journey surveys provide a different approach to a customer feedback program, one which examines the overall customer experience rather than individual customer touchpoints.

Journey surveys may look a lot like the familiar transactional surveys, but there are some important differences. The journey survey happens after a customer reaches a point in a specific customer journey, and is focused on the entire journey rather than just the customer's most recent interaction with the company.

For example, let's look at the customer journey of opening a new bank account. To open a bank account, a new customer may have to make several contacts with the bank. The customer may research the bank online, visit a branch to fill out the paperwork, call to verify that funds have transferred correctly, and so forth. These different touchpoints can happen through different channels over an extended period of time.

A traditional transactional survey process would gather feedback from each individual channel independently, without any attention to the customer's larger journey. For example, there may be a web intercept survey on the website, a paper survey handed out in the branch, and a post-call survey after the customer calls on the phone.

But since customers use all these channels for a variety of purposes, data about the specific journey of opening a new account is scattered across multiple surveys with no unified view. From the customer's perspective, though, it's all part of the process of opening an account.

In contrast, a journey survey would happen after the customer has finished opening an account. The journey survey would ask about all the channels the customer used, and ask questions specifically about opening an account. For customers who are on different journeys, there would be different surveys: a bank could have surveys for getting a loan, fraud reports, paying off a mortgage, and so forth.

The result is a unified, customer-centric view that tells the whole story and not just one piece.

Whether to use journey surveys or transactional surveys depends on the goals, and both types of survey have their place. Transactional surveys are important when you need to make sure a particular customer contact went well. For example, coaching and training employees requires making sure you have specific and detailed feedback about a particular customer interaction.

Journey surveys are better for understanding the overall customer experience. Journey surveys let you see where customers experience broken processes, and make decisions about how to allocate resources to improve.

It's important to keep both kinds of feedback in your toolbox, and make sure you're using the right tool for your specific goals. Use transactional surveys to dive deep on a specific customer contact, and use journey surveys to get a higher-level view of a customer journey across multiple touchpoints and channels.


B2B Customer Feedback

Customer surveys are just as important a tool in business-to-business relationships as in business-to-consumer relationships, and we see a lot of interest from B2B companies in launching or improving their feedback programs. Most of the basic principles of survey design apply just as well in the B2B world as in the B2C world, but there are some important considerations to keep in mind.

Business-to-Business relationships are usually more complicated than consumer relationships, and have much higher lifetime value. There are often multiple decision-makers and decision-influencers, making it hard to get a definitive read on the overall strength of the relationship at any given time. However, we've found that it's often not hard to get customers in a business relationship to provide feedback, since the relationship is often very important to the customer, too.

Here are some things to keep in mind when setting up a survey program for business customers:

  1. Consider the entire customer journey. Because B2B relationships usually have many different people involved in different aspects of the relationship, you want to try to capture feedback throughout the customer journey. Experiences like customer service calls and closing trouble tickets are obvious times to offer a survey, but you should also be asking for feedback after new orders, deliveries, invoices, training sessions, and any other point where the customer interacts directly with you.
  2. Respect the customer. "Respect the customer" is the first principle of Agile Customer Feedback, and it's even more important for B2B relationships because of the number of people involved and the value of the relationship. In practice, this means:
    1. Have strong exclusion rules in place. The same person should not get asked to take a survey over and over. I generally recommend that if a customer is asked to provide feedback, the same person won't get asked again for at least 30 days for any survey (even if it's about a different experience). And by all means, if a customer asks not to be surveyed, respect that.
    2. Be on the ball with closing the loop. If a customer had a bad experience or needs attention, get to it right away. Communicate back to your customers the importance of their feedback and anything you're doing differently because of it.
    3. Respect the customer's time. Keep transactional surveys short and relevant, and schedule time for longer relationship surveys. Don't call out of the blue and ask for more than five minutes.
    4. Make it personal. Having a real person conduct the survey communicates that you take the relationship seriously.
  3. Have a customer-centric view. Make sure you have the ability to pull together different surveys completed by different people at the same company. Each person is going to have a different perspective on the relationship, and you want to be able to place all those pieces of feedback into context with each other. The goal is to see both the forest and the trees.

Building an effective feedback program in a business-to-business relationship isn't any harder than in a consumer relationship. Pay attention to the basics, respect your customers, and take into account the complexity of B2B, and your program will be off to a strong start.

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