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Are you measuring the right thing?

A recent experience over the phone with a well-known airline made me wonder about whether they were measuring the right things. What I had a problem with was not the staff who I talked to, but their systems – booking online and then managing that booking (I decided to cancel and rebook a hotel which the system didn’t let me do). When the person on the phone had sorted things out, I was put through to a telephone survey. I thought this was my chance to give some feedback. However, the questions they asked gave me no opportunity to say what I wanted to say:

  • Was the person on the phone helpful? (yes)
  • Did the person suggest a solution? (yes)
  • Did you achieve what you wanted to? (yes)

So technically, they were rated well. But the big question for me that wasn’t asked was ‘how was your experience of us generally, and specifically the website’. To be fair, they were seeking feedback about a telephone experience not a website one and neither were they concerned about my customer journey, though I had only phoned because their website is neither user-friendly nor helpful. (I won’t mention the fact that it was an 0844 number and was waiting ages to speak to someone). Other telephone surveys I have completed were either made in person or gave me an opportunity to give some verbal feedback.

There is an inherent problem with canvassing feedback where the answers are rated 1-5 or yes/no. Firstly, it’s useful to some extent, but gives little depth. Secondly, what you’re measuring is not necessarily what’s important to your customers. What would have been better is for this company to:

  • Gain feedback at different points of the customer’s journey and experience (a survey after having used the website, for instance, would have been perfect)
  • Understand more about why people were phoning them and where they had come. So having said to the person on the phone that I was having problems with the site and it wasn’t letting me change my booking which it was meant to do, they could have picked up on this and reassured me that they would send the information to their web people to sort out.
  • Recognise that their customers’ experiences is not just with their staff in person or over the phone, but that there are other ways of interacting with the ‘brand’. Each experience of them needs to reflect how wonderful they are, or how wonderful their marketing claims they are.
  • That a bad experience, however experienced, provides a real disincentive to either use the airmiles or even use the company again, even if in all other respects your experience was good.

 So what are the take aways for me from this? Two things:

  1. Decide, having spoken to customers and staff about what’s important, what the ‘key performance indicators’ are for your business, and make sure you are able to get information to report on them.
  2. Look at these indicators for each channel and each point of interaction – web, phone, face to face – and tweak accordingly.

© Bluegreen Learning Ltd

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