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Who should respond to customer survey feedback?

Blog by Ian Luck
February 14, 2018

Many companies create dedicated teams (Customer Experience, Customer Success, VoC) to take ownership of a customer feedback program. These teams are usually small and are responsible for planning, executing and managing surveys and feedback.

Responding to customer feedback then is either made the responsibility of these teams or customer support/service teams. For the belief is that these teams are well positioned to respond to feedback, as they have the customer relation skills and the necessary tools to do so.

But is this strategy the most useful for solving customer issues and creating a better experience? Instead, we present the idea that responding to feedback should, at times, be done by the segment of the company it relates to.

When should you respond to your own feedback?

[caption id="attachment_16573" align="alignleft" width="329"]enterprisee How you survey your customers will help determine who will respond to feedback.[/caption]

Customer feedback surveys, such as the Net Promoter® survey, come in two forms: Transactional and Relational.

Relational surveys ask respondents to rate their overall experience with a company. Transactional surveys ask respondents to rate the experience they just had with a company, and can be conducted on any interaction point that may exist between the customer and company.

As transactional surveys ask customers about a particular touchpoint, the feedback that is collected always relates to a specific segment of a company, be that a division, department or team. While relational survey feedback can relate to one or many segments of a business.

Transactional feedback then can be responded to by the segment it addresses, while relational feedback too can be addressed by the relevant segment if the respondent only raises issues relating to one segment.

But still, why should individual departments or teams respond to feedback instead of a dedicated team?

Why it’s better to respond to your own feedback

Assigning feedback to a department, team or maybe even the employee it relates to means companies are better positioned to solve problems and improve the customer’s experience.

For each department or team knows best their own processes and capabilities, and are the best equipped to find solutions to customer issues.

A good example of this is one CustomerGauge client, which has mechanical service teams (3 - 4 people per team) based across the US. One type of transactional survey they send out is based on the interaction customers have with these service representatives. When feedback is received, responding is not done by the field operations department in the central office, but by the manager of each local team.

When customers have a problem with a physical aspect of the service the local team resolves the problem directly, rather than have the central office liaise between them and the customer. For the local team knows exactly what happened during the service and can quickly find a solution.

[caption id="attachment_16568" align="alignright" width="328"]user-overview With mechanical service reps. right across the US, one CustomerGauge client has made each team responsible for the experience they create.[/caption]

Being in direct contact with the local team makes the experience for the customer more personalized too, boosting their satisfaction. For while many companies respond to feedback, when it is a customer service representative the customer can be left thinking “is my problem/issue actually going to be heard by the people involved in it.” When the customer is in direct contact with the target of the feedback, it further supports the message that the company is listening and cares.

Lastly, having the relevant segment respond to feedback, means employees learn directly what they are doing right and wrong. Employees can dig deeper into the issue with the respondent, and receive an unfiltered understanding about the customer’s experience. So rather than wait for reports about their performance, employees can make direct changes, day-by-day, to the experience they provide.

How easily can you get feedback where it needs to go?

How a company sends feedback to different company segments is also important. With a customer feedback program that is continually surveying customers, responses need to be pushed to the relevant company segment automatically.

[caption id="attachment_16562" align="alignright" width="319"]integrationsx Do you have a tool that easily assigns feedback to the right department or individual?[/caption]

With the right survey tools, rules can be defined about where feedback is sent automatically for response. If a respondent in a relational survey chooses 'product quality' and 'delivery' as issues in their feedback, this would be escalated to a dedicated service team because it relates to multiple company segments. While, if they choose just one segment, say 'product quality,' the feedback would be automatically sent to this department for response.

Survey tools that automatically push feedback to the relevant segment remove the time that is needed to manually assign feedback to the appropriate recipient. This reduces the time it takes to respond to feedback, which increases in difficulty the larger the number of responses received per day.

Who responds to feedback is a mixed approach

1. Responding to feedback doesn’t always have to be done by the smallest groups in your company.

How narrow the feedback is will determine what size segment it relates to. Depending on how specific your feedback questions are and the customer’s response, will define whether responding should be done by the department, team or maybe even an individual.

2. Not all feedback can be responded to by those it relates to.

Relational feedback can relate to multiple company segments, and having each respond is neither efficient for the company nor pleasant for the customer. In these cases, responding should be done by a customer experience or service team, as they can address the multiple issues raised and manage the case.

3. But most important of all, don't automatically make responding to customer feedback the job of one group.

When setting up a customer feedback system such as NPS, determine which company segments have the capacity to respond to feedback and how much it will help the customer and the company to do so. For more often than not, it provides companies a better pathway to problem resolution, strengthens customer satisfaction and creates employees that are continually adapting the experience they provide.


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