Why is some customer experience feedback inappropriate?
In my last blog post “Shouldn’t customer experience measurement lead to insight and action?“, I highlighted three bugbears that I have with some customer experience programmes…
- Are questions simply measurement for measurement’s sake? What action can you take with the information gathered?
- Timing and appropriateness – Are you asking questions at an appropriate time, that are relevant, and do they make sense? Could they annoy the customer and do more harm than good?
- What value is derived? How will the feedback impact customer experience? How is it going to improve your profitability?
In this post we will discuss the second topic, that of ‘why are some customer experience programmes inappropriate’.
# Part 2 – Customer experience feedback should be appropriate and timely
Again I’m sure this is something we have all experienced at some point in our lives. You’re on a web site; or using a service; or have had some interaction with a brand. Then at some stage we are asked how satisfied you are with the service received. Well, that seems appropriate doesn’t it? After all you’ve engaged with the brand and they sensibly want to elicit your feedback about the service. So why on earth could I have a bugbear with that on occasions?
Well I’m not a betting man but I sincerely believe most people will have experienced the same as me; so here’s the bugbear…
OK, so where’s my issue with badly timed an inappropriate CX feedback?
To illustrate my point I’ve picked an example of a recent customer experience touchpoint that, to me, doesn’t work. In fact it actually has the potential to annoy the customer, thus not enhancing the brand experience. And let’s be really clear, even gathering customer experience feedback is an experience in its own right! Therefore anything that annoys a customer, makes the brand look incompetent, or raises questions over the sincerity of gathering feedback, can be really damaging. In today’s world we expect good service and can easily be triggered to switch. Care must be taken at all brand touchpoints. Although a separate subject, we have conducted a lot of research into loyalty and the new breed of consumer called Conditioned Switchers, which you may find of interest.
So how can you annoy a customer when you didn’t need to?
My example actually comes from a colleague of mine who had an interaction with a well known international ‘courier company’, (who’s name could be described as ‘explosive’)! He was notified by email that his parcel was in transit and could be tracked online, thus he logged on. To his surprise the screen (shown below) basically told him that the shipment couldn’t be found, perhaps try later! This in it’s own right was annoying enough. However to add insult to injury he was served an online satisfaction survey asking whether he would recommend the company.
I can’t repeat his words on seeing the main message, or what he intended to put on the feedback form. The ridiculous part is the emotional journey he went through. Firstly there was a position of relative satisfaction at been informed the parcel is on it’s way. Then there was annoyance at not actually being able to track it, as had been promised. And finally there was incredulity to be asked about the service that he hadn’t even been able to access. In short one annoyed customer and a brand looking a little incompetent, when none of this should have happened.
So what can we do to improve a customers experience?
Well obviously improve processes so that the situation described cannot happen in the first place. But more importantly from a customer experience programme perspective make sure any feedback request is appropriate for the situation and being asked at the right time. It is this lack of detail that is one of my big bugbears on some customer experience programmes. As mentioned before every feedback request is an opportunity to gather information but also an opportunity to annoy if you don’t think it through or implement the right business rules.
I totally accept that it is difficult to cover every situation perfectly. In my humble opinion, greater care is needed when designing a customer experience programme. With the programme being an extension of the brand’s values, it needs to reflect positively. A customer’s experience needs to match to your promise and their expectation. And we, as an industry, need to pull our socks up at certain times and accept that we aren’t always thinking things through well enough.
In the final part of this series we will look at my last bugbear, that of deriving value!
As a guide we’ve produced the following free guide, ‘The Fundamentals of Customer Experience Management’. In it we take a simple and practical look at the key elements of an effective customer experience programme and how to maximise the return on investment. To download a copy simply click on the image below.