1. Peter Schooff
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  4. Thursday, 10 August 2017
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From Karl Walter Keirstead: Do you think customer feedback is necessary for every part of the customer service process?
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Intriguing question. If CS ( "customer service" ) CX ( "customer experience" ) is always evolving then customer feedback will help the evolution. But what is the cost of the feedback to the customer? And what is the accuracy of so-called "feedback"? Customers typically involve multiple sub-populations. Notoriously, feedback from high-responders can be misleading. High-responders may = "people for whom the cost to respond is the lowest", i.e. people "with a lot of time on their hands". Perhaps not always representative your most profitable customers. (Good random sampling and interrogation will always generate better strategic results; real-time census-based feedback is better for more specific operational fine-tuning.)

Then in addition to the cost-to-respond, there is the "cost-to-analyze". Too many metrics can overwhelm management bandwidth. So, understand the meta-purpose of your processes, and the salient KPIs that will help you evolve your process in the right direction (simulation might help). After all, by offering something new in the marketplace, you are showing leadership. Understand how feedback can reduce uncertainty. Don't succumb to the temptation to abdicate leadership in favour of tempting but spurious customer feedback (#CustomerFeedback can become a kind of corporate #PerformanceArt). With modern BPM process automation technology and good process automation discipline, this is possible! Not just "more possible", but absolutely, amazingly possible. Opportunities await!
The background for this question was a comment I made to the effect that I can tolerate a call from the call dealer following service because I only go to the dealer 3-4 times a year.

Otherwise, I find requests for feedback (banks, etc) to be intrusive/disruptive and usually say I have "no comment".

I get many calls asking for participation in surveys and when I ask the caller for a VISA number, this is followed by silence.
  1. John Morris
  2. 3 years ago
  3. #4375
Good examples @Karl - in the first (car ownership), the vendor is likely to have very high participation (low non-response bias) and based on skin-in-the-game, a genuine desire on the part of the buyer to provide accurate feedback. So good cost/benefit for both parties. Regarding your second example (bank services), there are no benefits to you and the bank is probably deluding itself that the feedback (especially due to non-response bias) is useful. Even though both parties are known to each other, in the case of many bank surveys, there are nevertheless poor cost/benefits for both parties. Your third example is an example of no relationship and no benefits. Typically the purpose of the call of course has nothing to do with the stated reason. : )
Those car dealer follow-ups are, in fact, annoying; in part, that's because they generally disregard many of the rules I've enumerated (well, technically, “bulleted”) below. They pepper you with them, in that they are pretty obviously not noticing how often they're dinging you for these. They're self-serving, in that they are transparent mechanisms for the dealer to get additional credits/fees/perks from the manufacturer. And you just can't help but feel that there's nothing behind them. Give them four stars instead of five, and you get ANOTHER solicitation from the "manager" asking "how could we have done better"? Well, tell you what, as I'm not going to be back until I need another car, for the most part: I don't care. I bought a Subaru last year. I love the damn thing, but I find all the email from the dealer and manufacturer to be hilarious in the way they assume your car is the focus and fulfillment of every dream of your lifetime. Context, context, context.
  1. John Morris
  2. 3 years ago
  3. #4377
Good point @Scott. There's a huge difference between "feedback-as-actually-sales" and "feedback-as-learning-how-to-better-communicate". Selling is good and selling is expected. But mixing selling and feedback is likely to result in a loss of trust. That's just short-sighted.
+1 for "feedback-as-actually-sales". And of course, you can argue that everything you're doing is for the purpose of increasing sales revenue, but if you can't at least make it look like you actually care about what your customer is saying, you probably should just avoid asking.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Funny, I was discussing this question yesterday. The default answer is, sure, why not: why wouldn't you want to know how your customer feels about the service or product you are offering/fixing/apologizing for?

But there are some rules. (There are ALWAYS some rules.)

  • Don't ask if you aren't going to respond. I started to say, if there's nothing you can do about it, and that's part of it. But the main reasons you're asking are (1) to give the customer the sense that they've been heard, and (2) to improve on whatever it is that needs improvement. If you can't really do either of those things, best not to collect feedback at that moment.
  • Context! There are several kinds to consider. First, your request for feedback should be very specific about the type of product/service rendered, and any questions you have should relate specifically to that offering. Second, you should know to whom you are addressing your request, and craft your message appropriately. Finally—and this goes to Karl's comment above—don't ask the same person the same damn questions every ten minutes.
  • Timeliness. Don't solicit feedback five seconds after the transaction has ended (or five weeks, either). Give the customer an opportunity to process the experience they had, and you'll get more constructive feedback from those who were disappointed, and more thoughtful feedback from those who were not.

Of course, there are other considerations as well. (There are ALWAYS other considerations.) Pay just as much attention to the UX around your feedback process as you do to your product or service offering, etc. In summary, the point is that feedback solicitation is just another way to reach your customer and to fulfill their needs (even if their need at that moment is to yell at you—not that that's ever happened to me). That experience is every bit as important as any of the others in which you and your customer are engaged.
Scott's opinions only. Logo provided for identification purposes only.
Yes as a placeholder or possibility to provide feedback, no as an obligation. A lot of web pages have a button feedback, we are not obliged to press it.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 2
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Getting and using all users feedback is desirable and now meaningful with the adaptive software. However customer feed back not so easy....for a start feed back is likely inconsistent and mixed with complaints but nevertheless will be helpful but perhaps not "necessary". Are we not all "customers" and as such important we think in their shoes as design, build and changes implemented? With the UIs where customer use is very important the design should make it easy and logical for customers to use.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 3
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It really depends on the parts of the Customer Service Process. In general, it's important to establish the betterment of the customer experience as the main objective of said process. In that sense, customer feedback would be a required input at the process initiation and once again at its closure. I find it absolutely crucial to register the given delta between customer expectations and delivery, and to actually focus the business process on following up, closing that gap to some degree. Otherwise, a simple surveymonkey form would have sufficed...
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  1. John Morris
  2. 3 years ago
  3. #4383
+1 @Kay for establishing a a way of measuring the main objective of a process (CX)! Too often we get buried in the work of process design, and forget the ultimate purpose of our process.
May I suggest though that customer experience is a "proxy for the purpose of a process"? A work process (automated or not) is a reification (i.e. an emergent idea) of what management and staff together define as the current best way to perform "the-work-of-business". In other words, a process is something that helps us get our work done. (I don't think you'd disagree!) And CX is a proxy for this -- does the customer think that the process helped get the work done? From this perspective, CX is an indirect measure of the success of the process.
My comments here might seem too abstract, but I suspect that many process problems can be traced to the gap between customer perception and the work that customers perform with process tools. (I note that the whole idea of CX itself is a kind of "work", e.g. the "work of interacting with a screen on my phone" -- if you put too much burden on me to remember things between screens, that's a bad experience based on an unnecessary work burden.)

I see the company as having its processes, the customer having their own processes.

Contracts/industry protocol give rise to planned links between a customer step and a company step (i.e. the contract stipulates that the company report on progress every 2 weeks).

Then, at any time either feels the need, there can be outreach to the other, with the obvious expected answer-back.

I would not describe any of the answer-backs as "feedback" so most company data traffic is off topic to this forum question.
  1. John Morris
  2. 3 years ago
  3. #4386
Karl - you are highlighting an important distinction -- between (so-called) "B2B" (for example EDI) ecommerce protocols, possibly now integrated into iPaaS platforms, and less structured, not commercially-defined "feedback" such as we are discussing above. Across this spectrum (formal to informal) there is still always a back-and-forth narrative or conversation. And in terms of the original question then, we can add that "absolutely customer feedback is essential" -- in some circumstances that feedback is a "order acknowledgement"! Put this way, the question of the informal is no longer a after-thought stand-alone question, but part of the broader picture.
I agree that back-and-forth narrative/conversation is common to B2B and informal.

B2B is easy to implement once you master formatters, parsers, data element naming, transport envelope, encryption and mode of delivery (push vs pull).

The infrastructure needed for informal can be different for outreach compared to inreach but this adds confusion IMO.

We prefer portal access for both. The problem with outreach, of course, is that some/many of the players do not log in every day/several times a day so the company can send out important advisories that take days to get to the customer - nothing wrong in some situations sending out a parallel e-mail notification "you have messages at your portal", with the proviso to never put any content in notifications.

A real problem arises in the area of inreach. Not much point doing a setup where the portal user logs in and sees a blank "request" form that goes to a human. A better approach is to provide a "menu" of services that is customer-specific.

In healthcare, we have "show upcoming appointments, book an appointment, change an appointment, cancel an appointment, show meds, show lab test results, show account balance, print current month invoice/past month invoices".

Menus like these save many admin hours and are much more satisfying to the patient than a "chat" facility where the attendant is "off-line"

We find that many of the inreach requests happen early in the morning, late at night and automating the in/out greatly increases customer satisfaction.

The required infrastructure for inreach is quite complex - first of all you need an IIS server so that you can put portal users at arms length with respect to the back end server.

You do not want any casual user to be able to link through to the back end server. IIS on one server with MSSQL at the back end server and a "smart" engine that fields incoming and outgoing messages ensures that no portal user can establish a cursor position at the MS SQL server. Your rules can be strict for problematic users, less strict for other users. You could have seasonal i.e. "full moon" rules if you like.

Part of the functioning of the engine is to ensure that requests are valid. i.e. patient is in rehab with no internet access so how come they are at the portal?

We recommend dual factor but the extra level of "protection" does not add much when the cell phone password is "Rex".

Fitbit watches where there is a check on heart rate to see if the pattern is the same as the registered one for this user might work except that the numbers are likely to be distorted if the user logs in when they are in "panic" mode.

The jury should stay out for a while on embedded chips until we see whether hackers can lift credentials or influence a user's behavior/actions.

  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 4
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
My answers is YES... what ever transaction there we have in our processes (marketing, sales, delivery service, billing...) we should always collect feedback from our customers. We should always offer to our customer an easy way to make a complaint or any other request. Dissatisfied customers destroy our market. In personal service where we want build long term relationship with our customer this might mean a friendly call or thank you e-mail. In more impersonal service simple feedback ticket, text message, e-mail or web -page. This is not to know if the customer is satisfied, but we certainly want to know, if the customer is dissatisfied on our service or any other transaction in order to help us to improve our processes and business. Most satisfied customer ignore our request for feedback and that's totally OK.

Some times Customer feel these feedback inquiries stupid, especially if the service plays minor role in customers life. The most common and useful way to collect the feedback is to observe customer reaction after the transaction. This does not require any extra action from customer side. To make this happen we need to design our processes in special way so that the transaction makes it possible to collect the feedback.... Face book and Google are very skillful in collecting information from their customer behavior. The best organizations have build a feedback-system trying to understand customer reactions, experience, feelings and attitudes.

br. Kai
  1. more than a month ago
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