Using Post-Call Surveys to Improve the Customer Experience

Monitoring interactions with your customers is an essential part of improving the customer experience. But no matter how good these monitoring efforts are, they can't capture the full voice of the customer. To do that, businesses must capture more than just the conversation between the contact center agent and the customer. This is where post-call surveys come in.

Post-call surveys are typically automated, with the customer opting in by simply pressing a button on the keypad in response to a recorded request. The survey is then presented to the customer following the interaction. Surveys reveal a customer's actual opinion versus the business making an inference based on a conversation.

If done correctly, post-call surveys can give businesses valuable insight into what makes customers happy and what ticks them off. If poorly constructed, however, surveys not only waste time and money, but can further frustrate customers.

To get the optimal results from surveys, businesses must know what critical survey topics to consider, as well as which common mistakes to avoid.

Four Critical Survey Topics

Agent information: These are the people who represent your business to your customers. They're possibly the most important resource you have. Here are some survey questions to consider.

Was the agent polite?

Was the agent professional?

Was the agent knowledgeable?

Did the agent seem to care?

General product or service information: Whatever your business sells, customers have an opinion about it. Knowingthe reason you're suddenly seeing more returns in the warehouse and fewer repeat customers can save your business. Survey questions to consider:

Was the product/service you purchased reliable?

How would you rank the quality of your product/service?

How does the product/service you purchased compare to competitive products/services?

First call resolution information: This will tell you how efficiently your business is dealing with customers from their point of view. Even if agents are doing exactly what you've trained them to do, you might find that training needs adjusting to meet customer expectations. Survey questions to consider:

Was your question/issue resolved in one interaction?

How many times did the agent have to contact you (or vice versa) to get your question/issue resolved?

Net Promoter Score: This is a number that can tell you whether your customers are going to come back or if they're going to tell their 3,000 Facebook friends never to do business with you. Survey questions to consider:

Would you recommend our business to your family and friends?

Would you purchase our product/use our service again?

Four Common Survey Mistakes

Asking too many questions: Remember, customers are doing you a favor by taking time to answer your questions. Keep surveys brief and to the point. A good rule of thumb is to limit surveys to fewer than 10 questions, and limit the time surveys will take to five minutes or less. Be sure to state the estimated time to complete surveys in advance when you ask if a customer wants to opt in.

Using the wrong scale: Many businesses automatically ask for responses on a scale of one to 10. This is perfectly fine if the surveys aren't being answered on a phone with numbers only up to nine! Phone surveys should be on a scale of one to five, or one to nine.

Avoiding the answer you don't want to hear: Especially when giving multiple choice options, make sure to offer answers for the full range of possibilities equally. Don't give three positive choices and only one slightly negative option. Also, don't give "yes" or "no" as the only options if your customer could conceivably answer "maybe."

Asking complex questions: The more direct and simple a question is, the more accurate responses will be. Sometimes you may need a qualifying statement before your question, such as, "Think of your most recent order with us." The question could then be about the agent the customer spoke to, the speed of delivery, etc.

One of the main things to remember when crafting surveys is that it may take a couple of tries to nail down the right number of the right questions. This is a process, and some trial and error will be necessary. Still, many survey best practices exist, and an upfront investment will save loads of time and money in the long run. A good place to do some research and network with others to learn more about customer survey resources is the Customer Experience Professionals Association and the National Committee for Quality Assurance.