Voice of the Customer – Are You Asking the Right Questions?

In a white paper that I co-authored with Paul Stockford of Saddletree Research on contact center metrics, ” Contact Center Metrics that Matter,” we included a focus on including the voice of the customer as a key measurement. We talked about net promoter scores and the challenges with getting a large enough sample size to make the results relevant. However, this week I was reminded of the core fundamental that while you might get the surveying process correct, if you aren’t asking the right questions, you’re missing the mark.

I presented at the Society of Telecommunications Consultants (STC) conference this week. During my presentation, we began a discussion about how customers want to provide feedback and vendors want to receive feedback. The questions being asked by the vendors then became a focal point.

Someone shared with me his recent car rental experience. Using a major car rental company, the experience was a disaster. The car was in bad shape and they had trouble with it. Upon arriving at the airport to return the car, the customer satisfaction survey was already waiting for him in his email inbox. He went through each question – courtesy of the agent, timeliness of the pickup, cleanliness of the rental counter, explanation of insurance options, etc. He got to the end of the survey. Thought maybe he had missed something and went back through the questions. Nothing about the car! The only reason the company is in business… to rent cars. Yet, not a single question about the actual product the company provides.

So the best practice here is to be sure you are asking questions “that the customer will want to provide feedback on.” The questions should certainly include comments on your service, but they should also ask fundamental questions about the products you provide. Otherwise, your intentions around gathering “the voice of the customer” will do more damage than good. Masking a bad product with good, courteous service doesn’t work. The experience starts with a quality product that then gets enhanced by the delivery of stellar customer service. And measuring those both of those two aspects of the overall experience is essential.

Joe Staples – Evangelist of asking the right questions