We’ve talked in the past about metrics for satisfaction and what to do with them, but while we can all agree that the value of that data is far-reaching, there is also tremendous value in exploring things that are not quantifiable measurements of our customer service successes and failures.  Inviting a more organic, open-ended conversation with our customers can reap even greater rewards.

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

The graph may be rising or falling, but do we know why?

The graph may be rising or falling, but do we know why?

Anyone with children is well-versed in the striking difference in engagement between open and closed-ended questions.  “Did you have a good day?” elicits a much different response than “Tell me about your day.  What happened?”.  However, when we walk into the office, we often forget this principle, instead pursuing numerical scores in response to closed questions that we can track as they rise or fall.  The problem with this approach is twofold: customers have a higher opt out rate because the questions do not strike at the heart of what has made them happy or unhappy and, while we may know which direction our service quality is moving, we don’t know specifically what is or isn’t working.

Whether we are asking our customers directly at the end of a call or email or requesting that they provide feedback after the fact, there is tremendous value in asking two very simple questions:

What has made your experience with our company a happier one?

What about your experience with our company do you wish we would change?

This approach may not give numerical data to plot on a graph, but it does provide true insight into our customers’ minds.  In doing so, it gives us concrete areas to preserve or expand our behaviors in and specific things that are proving to be barriers to customer satisfaction.  A “4” in response to “How satisfied were you with our speed of response?” is not as helpful as “I was put on hold over and over again while the representative checked with a higher up instead of being allowed to speak with them directly.”  The former requires guesswork to flush out the problem.  The latter gives actionable feedback.

The feedback collected from this approach enables us to make sweeping changes when needed because we know we are doing what our customers need.  It is also easier to accept change when it comes from the customers, in a bottom-up fashion, than when it is merely being dictated by management in a top-down approach.

Collecting open-ended data is a first, easy step in focusing our improvement efforts and expanding the areas that delight the people who honor us with their business.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]