National Customer Service Survey 2015 Results for Banking
In This Issue
We recently published the results for the National Customer Service Survey (NCSS) on Banking for 2015. This is our ongoing syndicated research program comparing the customer service at four major consumer banks: Bank of America, Chase, Citi, and Wells Fargo.
For the NCSS we interview customers within a few minutes of a customer service call to one of the companies we track. As a result, we are able to get very reliable, detailed survey data about what's actually happening when a customer picks up the phone.
In 2015 we saw Bank of America make significant improvements in our survey. In one year, BofA's score for Call Resolution went up 13 points, its score for Ease of Reaching and Agent went up 11 points, and overall satisfaction with the customer service call was up 13 points over the past two years.
Chase took the honors for best scores overall, even though it didn't have as dramatic an improvement as Bank of America. Chase had the highest scores in seven of the nine key metrics we track in our report, and generally continued the upward trajectory it has been on since we started our survey in 2011.
Meanwhile Citi took a beating, losing 13 points in overall satisfaction with the company, 12 points in satisfaction with the customer service call, and claiming the bottom slot in eight of the nine metrics.
The 2015 results represent a reversal for both Bank of America and Citi. When we started the survey in 2011, Chase and Citi were posting lower survey scores than Wells Fargo and Bank of America. But Chase and Citi made several years of improvement, while Bank of America's scores were generally flat. This year, though, Bank of America is back in the middle of the pack with its gains, and Citi's scores are behind its competitors.
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Back when I was is college I took a creative writing class, and part of this class was to critique each other's work: read what the other students wrote, and offer constructive criticism and feedback. That was one of the hardest things in the class to do effectively because most people get defensive about any negative feedback. They're too emotionally invested in their work to accept even mild criticism dispassionately.
The same thing can happen when you share negative customer feedback. Often, an employee's intense and emotional reaction is that someone is trying to tell them that they're bad at their job, and they react defensively. At the company level, most people take pride in the organization they work for (even when it's not justified) and have a hard time hearing that something might be broken. Breaking through this takes finesse.
I did eventually get pretty good at giving and receiving constructive criticism, and that's been helpful professionally. Here's my suggestions for making negative feedback a positive experience:
- Most important, always have the attitude of constructive criticism. This is about problem solving, not assigning blame. A customer had a bad experience, that does not mean the company is bad at CX (even if you think they actually are, don't let that be part of the message). Everyone makes mistakes, and the goal is to identify the mistakes so they are less likely in the future.
- Present positive feedback along with negative, and lead with the positive. This helps set the tone of, "We're generally doing a good job and we'd like to find ways to do even better."
- Focus on the customer's perceptions. For example, if a customer complains about a late shipment, this should be framed as "A customer felt his delivery expectations were not met. Let's try to figure out why the customer felt this way," rather than, "We're really dropping the ball on deliveries!" There can be a lot of reasons for a negative perception, not all of them related to what actually happened.
- Select the feedback you choose to present with care. Not all negative feedback is credible, but you should reinforce the customer feedback with other data that supports that this is a problem worth paying attention to (for example, "We're seeing more complaints about late deliveries this quarter. This customer's experience is similar to a lot of other complaints"). Share feedback that's articulate, believable, and relatable. Don't share the crazies, as entertaining as they may be.
Sharing customer feedback, both with individual employees and the organization as a whole, is a powerful way to motivate action but needs to be done carefully to inspire the right action and avoid negativity.