Sunday, May 25, 2014

Customer Feedback System - Transaction Survey - Part 2

Recall way back, several posts ago when, as the new CX manager Widget Inc., you completed an initial assessment of how your employer stands stacks up against customer expectations.  One of the glaring holes you discovered is that the company does not have a systematic method to collect ongoing feedback from customer transactions, and respond to those instances where customers are less than pleased with their experience.  It’s now time to fix that, and your first “win” as the CX manager is going to be the design and implementation of a robust “find and fix” system.  As mentioned, this is going to serve as the foundation for all subsequent CX activities you undertake.

Let’s start the design of the survey with a look at the “quick and dirty” journey map we developed to illustrate the approximate approach a customer (in this case a young male) takes in completing an online purchase.  As mentioned in a previous post, there’s much more to a journey map than what we’ve captured in this sample, but this content will suffice for developing our first transaction survey.   Take a look below at the journey map, and notice the red circles placed at what I’ll refer to as “moments of truth.” (MOT).  These MOT were identified in the course the customer interviews we completed in developing our journey map.  As we’ll see when we discuss journey mapping in more detail in future posts, gathering customer and employee input is critical to developing a realistic depiction of what typically unfolds in the course of a transaction.  So, for this exercise, let’s assume we met with a handful of 21-34 year old males and, in plotting their journey, they indicated their expectations at each step.  It’s those expectations they identified as critical in the process that we’ll define as our Moments of Truth...getting these “wrong” can run the gamut from mildly annoyed to abandoning the transaction altogether.

Developing a survey questionnaire is as much art as science.  It’s useful to keep in mind that our overarching goal is not so much to analyze satisfaction feedback from each step or MOT, but rather, to understand how each of the steps in total contribute to or detract from the overall journey.  In other words, from a customer’s perspective (and we should always look at things through a customer lens),  she doesn’t typically isolate on individual components of a transaction.  Rather, she’s more likely to look at the totality of the overall experience or journey.  A traveler, for example, that just boarded a plane likely reflects on the entire airport experience and “gives points” for a smooth check-in, but “detracts points” for the hassles at the security checkpoint and the lukewarm cup of coffee she purchased.  So, as a result, she may conclude that her airport experience or “journey” (i.e. the online purchase experience in our example) was negative overall.

A caveat before proceeding with a first draft of your survey.  There’s a temptation to “ask everything under the sun” when sending a customer survey.  This is particularly the case when the questionnaire is vetted among multiple potential stakeholders (e.g. sales, market research, customer service).  Resist this at all costs.  Above all, surveys should adhere to the following two guidelines: 1) present questions to which the responses are “actionable.”  That is, ask yourself...”what potential changes will I be able to make using the results of this question?”  A related validity check for a potential question is, “so what?”  Two-hundred respondents say they’re considering buying a widget in the next 6-months.  So what?  Unless you can identify them by their name and contact information so you can subsequently market to them, this likely falls in the “nice to know category.”   2) this guideline flows from the first...respect your customer’s time.  Survey’s should be brief and designed to elicit only the information you need to address your issues...stay away from “nice to know” questions.

With the overall journey in mind, then, let’s develop our initial transaction questionnaire by focusing on the Moments of Truth we’ve identified.  I say initial questionnaire because there’s no rule that says you need to stick with your first version.  Indeed, take the time to test at least a couple of versions of the questionnaire over a 3 to 4 month period before “finalizing” it, and use this time to assess the effectiveness of your questions.  There are several approaches to formatting responses, and I’m going to suggest a version I’ve always found “actionable” -- the expectation and importance scale.  The objective of this approach is to ask your customers to rate a particular interaction along two dimensions: 1) did it meet their expectation? 2) how important was it for them to have that interaction meet their expectation?  This approach is particularly useful when you’ve introduced a new process and want to better isolate those steps that may be “make or break” with customers.  Below is an initial cut at a questionnaire based on the journey map for the online purchase.  In the next post, we’ll look at each question and a hypothetical report in more detail.

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