Being heard is one of the basic human needs.  Not being heard gets people frustrated – be it with yo/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/contact_centers_need_big_ears_435052.jpgur spouse, your children….or customer service. Calling a contact center, waiting on the line and finally being connected with somebody who can’t do anything to help, is the opposite of being heard. So it is no wonder so many people share their bad customer service experiences in social media: people just need somebody to listen to their frustration.

Companies are worried how to avoid negative publicity in social media. One way to do it is to give the customers a way to express their feelings right after the customer service situation –and not wait for days or till the next yearly customer satisfaction survey is due. For contact centers there are two quick and easy ways to do this: an SMS survey sent after the call and post call IVR. In the post-call IVR survey option the customers will be routed to an IVR service where they can give feedback right after the call. (See Contact Babel’s Contact Center Decision Maker’s Guide for more information on the topic)

Good customer service surveys are immediate, easy and they lead to action.

Whatever method the contact center chooses to use to collect feedback, they need to make sure it is:


-Immediate:
  Ask for feedback as soon as possible so that the experience is still fresh in memory. The angry customer gets a way to express her feelings which already helps. The happy customer still remembers the good experience –unfortunately people tend to forget the good experiences pretty fast.


-Easy:
Don’t bore your customer with long questionnaires: concentrate on the essential questions and give the option for free feedback

-Actionable: Asking for feedback often already makes the customer feel better, but you also need to act on the feedback. If the customer gives bad ratings, contact the customer again to learn more and truly understand what went wrong.  And when you have enough information, make sure you use it to improve your customer service processes and procedures.  Like the Contact Babel report says: there is no point collecting feedback if you have no intention of making your customer service better. 

I just had one of these nightmare customer service experiences where my emails disappeared into a black hole and after long waiting times I was always connected to a person who was totally unable to do anything to help.  After several contacts with the customer service I felt really frustrated and angry.

However, this company did two things right, totally changing my customer experience. First of all they used the SMS survey to ask for feedback: and I certainly gave them my honest opinion. Being able to tell the company what I had experienced with them already relieved my anger.  Secondly, they called me next day, thanked warmly for the feedback and asked for more information so that they can check their procedures and see what went wrong.  In my opinion, that was a perfect way to collect and handle customer feedback. After all, we all make mistakes, but the smart ones learn from theirs.

People need to be heard and understood. If the company does not listen to the customers, the customers are looking for somebody who does -and three are a lot of listeners in social media. So, companies need to start growing their ears.

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