"The Great Experience, But" Problem

“The Great Experience, But” Problem

Is your company missing opportunities by assuming “everything’s fine” with customers who rated their purchase or service experience a 9- or 10-out-of-10?

While all may indeed be well with many of your 9 and 10 customers, a surprising number of them may fall into the “great experience, but” category.

The Daniel Group performs surveys for our clients after a customer completes a purchase, service, or other type of experiences.  In our experience, one-third of all customers who give a rating of 9 or 10 also express a negative sentiment about part of their experience.

These “great experience, but” customers deserve close attention.  They are ideal customers!  Not only are they loyal today, they’re also making an effort to tell you about things that should be resolved if they’re to remain loyal tomorrow.

Unfortunately, these customers’ comments are too often left unaddressed, or, worse, not read at all.  Why?  Well-meaning employees can become so focused on achieving high customer survey scores, that when they land a 9 or 10 rating they simply skip the customers’ comments and move on to the next survey.

What are some solutions to address this issue?  I have a few suggestions:

  • Read and act on all feedback. Encourage managers to read the complete surveys including the score and comments.  Loyal customers are willing to provide ideas on how you can improve.  For example, I often stay at Hilton Hotels because I like their quality and value.  When I get a survey, I tend to complete it.  If there was something about the experience not to my liking, I let them know.  Why?  I want an even better experience the next time, and I have found they tend to listen to feedback.
  • Take Care with Compensation. Consider financial incentives tied to customer experience carefully.  Linking some financial incentive to customer experience is appropriate.  However, if it becomes too significant in the overall compensation system, managers may start focusing only on the numbers without focusing on the details of the customer experience.  This comment also applies to manufacturers that sell their products through dealers.  Often, the dealers focus only on the score to get a bigger discount or get some extra financial benefit from the manufacturer.  This approach may quickly become counterproductive if numbers become the goal instead of the actual customer experience.
  • Keep “True North” in Mind. Ensure that senior managers have defined how a good customer experience should look and feel.  If you only say to the organization that we are starting a survey process and here is your numerical goal for customer satisfaction, you are not likely to create the type of desired customer experience.  Why?  Without having a complete description of the ideal customer experience, staff members will not understand the program requirements.

Remember, a “9” or “10” is not always a pass.  We can learn and grow the customer experience process through these scores as well as the lower ones. Transactional surveys provide much more than just a number score and the comments often reveal the details you need to help improve your processes.

Lynn Daniel

NPS® is a trademark of Bain & Company, Satmetrix Systems, and Fred Reichheld

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