Sunday, June 1, 2014

Customer Feedback System - Transaction Survey - Part 3

Continuing with the discussion from the previous post, let’s now turn our attention to the selection of questions used in our hypothetical survey.  As a CX practitioner, you may not necessarily have deep expertise in designing consumer research tools.  If that’s the case, you’re strongly encouraged to collaborate with a market research vendor and/or your organization’s market research staff for support.  Additionally, you may also want to consult Strategic Market Research by Anne Beall.  This is a quick read and handy primer focusing on consumer research for the non-practitioner.  As such, the discussions around the design of consumer research on this blog focus on the basics and assume a CX manager who may not have a background in developing quantitative or qualitative research methods.  

Recall from the May 26 post that our guiding principle in designing a transaction survey is to gather the customer’s impression of the end-to-end journey they completed…understanding the customer’s evaluation of each touchpoint in that journey is an important but secondary consideration.  Looking at the questionnaire below, let’s focus on each question and make a case for why it should be included in this particular online transaction.  Remember, this represents a first-cut hypothesis for your questionnaire; after some trial testing with customers, you may want to add, delete or modify some questions based on a review of the results.  At some point, however, you’ll want to finalize your questions and not make any further changes for at least another year.  This is done in order to identify long term trends for each question, and to account for the potential impact of seasonability on particular transactions.  

Writing a survey questionnaire is as much art as science.  So, for the initial draft, I suggest screening each potential question on the following three criteria: 1) the perceived importance of an individual touchpoint based on the journey mapping results; 2) the significance of the touchpoint within the context of the customer’s end-to-end journey; 3 ) perhaps most importantly, is this an ACTIONABLE question…can changes be made as a result of the customers’ feedback, or is this just “nice to know” information?  Let’s look at each question through the lens of these criteria. 

Q1 - Availability of information about our product on social media…
Perceived importance of the touchpoint - in our hypothetical journey map, respondents indicated that this was important to them.  This stands to reason given the entrenched popularity of user reviews available on numerous company and third-party websites.
The touchpoint’s importance in the overall journey - given the credibility associated with word-of-mouth, it’s intuitive that consulting social media sources at the start of a purchase process likely applies to a large proportion of customers, and is therefore an important component of the journey.
Actionable data - yes, because the company can adjust its presence on social media.

Q2 - Use of third party reviews…
Perceived importance of the touchpoint - with the increasing prevalence of online third-party reviews, we can assume this is important.
The touchpoint’s importance in the overall journey - this one is suspect because we’re indirectly addressing this topic through Question 1.
Actionable data - not really, because the company cannot directly influence what customers say. 
So, this question doesn’t effectively meet our criteria, may not be useful or necessary.  Nevertheless, let’s keep it for our initial test.  If the response type is similar to that of Question 1, we can likely be safe in eliminating this question.

Q3 - Availability of information about our company on our website
Perceived importance of the touchpoint - it’s reasonable to assume that whether your company is a start-up, or a long established brand, customers will want to learn about you.
The touchpoint’s importance in the overall journey - this is likely an important component of the journey particularly to prospects who are not as familiar with your company as are repeat customers.
Actionable data - yes, because the company directly controls the information it wants to convey about itself.

Q4 - Availability of warranty information online
Perceived importance of the touchpoint - at all but very low price items, we can assume that warranty information is very important to customers.
The touchpoint’s context in the overall journey - prospects in particular will want to know about warranty coverage before placing an order, so as per Question 3, this is also likely an important component of the journey.
Actionable data - yes, because the company directly controls its warranty coverage and policies.

Q5 - Availability of information on our mobile app
Perceived importance of the touchpoint - as of this writing, sales of mobile devices are outpacing those of desktop computers, so we can reasonably assume this is (increasingly) important touchpoint.
The touchpoint’s importance in the overall journey - in the context of researching and purchasing a product, and the popularity of mobile devices, it’s reasonable to conclude this is a key component of the end-to-end journey.
Actionable data - yes, because the company directly controls the look and content of the mobile app.

Q6 - Ease of placing an order online
The endgame of this particular journey is the placement of an online order, so let’s agree that this question clearly meets all three of our qualifying criteria.

Q7 - Clarity of assembly instructions for your product
Perceived importance of the touchpoint - for the most part, there’s a correlation between this question and the effort and dexterity needed to assemble the product.  The more complex the assembly, the more likely this is an important touchpoint.
The touchpoint’s importance in the overall journey - the response to this criteria is very similar to the reasons mentioned in the preceding criteria…complexity of assembly is key for this question.
Actionable data - yes, because the company directly controls writing and clarity of the instructions provided.
In the next post, we’ll look at a hypothetical report from this survey, and introduce the foundational problem solving method. 

Q8 - Post purchase support from the company’s service center

The qualifying criteria for this question parallel those for the product instructions in Question 7.  It’s reasonable to assume that for a product that requires time and patience to assemble will also require some level of personal support to assist customers.  So, this can be classified as an important touchpoint, and the survey results are actionable because the company can modify its service support based on the type of help customers need.

In the next post, we’ll look at a hypothetical report from this survey, and introduce the foundational problem solving method. 

Questions 9 to 11 are courtesy of Forrester's Customer Experience Index (1).  The intent of these questions is to gauge a customer's perception of three key components of any transaction with a company: 1) Did the transaction meet the customer's expectations;  2) The ease of completing the transaction; 3) Was the transaction a pleasant or enjoyable experience.  Customers are asked to evaluate each of these questions on a 5 or 10 point scale.  An overall score is then calculated adding the rating for each question and dividing by 3. 

(1) From Outside In by Kerry Bodine and Harley Manning; pp. 133-135




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