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April 14, 2008

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

By Rosanne D'Ausilio, Ph.D.

Do you have customer satisfaction surveys in place at your organization?
In a recent report from BenchmarkPortal (News - Alert).com, the top 3 post-call survey methods were:
Live telephone interviews
33.7 percent
Post-call IVR surveys
23.8 percent
E-mail surveys
15.8 percent
The significant findings as a result of this report include:

--26.1 percent do post call surveys (up from 19.6 percent in 2006) 
--17.4 percent do not conduct any post call surveys (down from 25.8 percent in 2006) 
--26 percent conducted surveys immediately after the call up over 50 percent from 2006 
--70.4 percent shared the survey reports with top management 
--63.4 percent agreed that agent training had a major impact on caller satisfaction

When asked when surveys were conducted, respondents answered as follows:
Immediately after the call
26 percent
More than 10 days after
17.3 percent
2 day or less
14.4 percent
2-5 days
13.5 percent
5-10 days
7.7 percent
We don't survey
17.4 percent
To me, the most significant result of the report had to do with customer satisfaction survey inputs. Surveys, respondents said, helped achieve organizational improvements, including adding, changing or improving agent training (25.2 percent put this at the top of the list) and increasing first call resolution (19.3 percent).
When asked whether improvements to training programs resulted in improved caller satisfaction, 63.4 percent of respondents said yes.
In a survey of more than 2000 senior human resource executives (Novations Group*), 2 out of 3 organizations are experiencing growing demand for customer service training.
Do you survey your customers?  And then if you do, do you use that information to kick your customer service up a notch?  I hope the answer to both of these questions is a big “Yes.”
If you want to know how you are doing as a company; if you want to know how your customer service is being perceived; then ask your customer. Don’t rely solely on metrics, but rather, remember that the best measure of how you are doing is available to you in your customer’s response.
Our recommendation is for post call surveys to be conducted within 2 days of the call. Beyond that, the call will be a mere memory and customers are likely to give the answers you want to hear rather than accurate responses. If you were to ask me a week later — unless it was a truly bad call experience — I would answer yes quickly to get you off the phone and I might not be accurate in my responses. Of course, if it were a bad experience, I probably would take the time to give feedback.
If you are going to take the time to do post call surveys, use the information to:

--Upgrade, change, improve your agent training 
--Increase your first call resolution 
--Change your IVR or skill based routing 
--Empower your agents to do more without requiring a supervisor’s approval 
--Decrease wait time 
--Share the information with management and all other touch points

In the Purdue University (News - Alert) database of contact enters, only 61 percent report that they have a formal method for collecting caller satisfaction. More important, of those centers that collect customer information, only 33 percent of them use the information to influence change in the contact center, and even fewer use information to influence other areas in the organization.
In today’s competitive marketplace, what distinguishes one company from another is its relationship with the customer. That’s a “people” responsibility, not technology or process. Who has that responsibility? Each and every person from your front line agent to your CEO — anyone and everyone who has interaction with a customer (current, potential, or future).

Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is Best Practices for Implementing a First Contact Resolution Program in the Contact Center brought to you by Enkata.

Rosanne D’Ausilio is an industrial psychologist, consultant, master trainer, best selling author, executive coach, customer service expert, and President of Human Technologies Global, Inc., a firm that specializes in human performance management. Her newsletter, How To Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch!, is available at


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