There are several ways to improve the customer experience, and one way is through the execution of surveys, according to Susan Drummer, director of client services at collectibles company American Mint, who spoke at a session at Operations Summit 2015.
“We like to ask shorter questions,” said Drummer. “Our marketing department likes to do questionnaires because want to learn more about what customers like and what motivates them to buy.”
Drummer said American Mint marketers will ask more essay-type questions, while the customer service department will ask basic questions about satisfaction with delivery, the customer experience and what stood out to them.
She said surveys allow brands to pursue quality improvement, identify customer expectations, measure satisfaction levels and surface weak areas. They also provide usable, valid feedback that leads to improved customer service, shipping, packing, billing and product information.
“You can also use surveys internally to gauge employee satisfaction, products and customer service,” said Drummer. “Not all surveys need to be external; employees can also provide data that is useful.”
Drummer said surveys results have led to some positive changes at American Mint.
“We found that that our returns took a little bit too long, and that customer service agents wasn’t quite as friendly as they thought they should be,” said Drummer. “So we made a lot of changes based on survey results, improved our customer service responses and what our customers think about us.”
She said surveys have helped American Mint understand how customers view them and what they want when they call into the customer service department. For instance, they helped the company address how long customer calls are in queue, because its customers, who skew older, didn’t want to be waiting on hold for 20 minutes.
“We have to improve that process and we get that information from our surveys,” said Drummer. “You can also use surveys to gauge your internal customers, your employees.”
What to remember about surveys
Drummer urged caution before adding additional processes and procedures, and making sure you can separate usable and unusable data, which requires objectivity on the part of those compiling and analyzing the results.
“I’ve used people from different departments, because everyone has different point of view and everyone can give their input,” she said. “What do you want to have out of this, what kind of things do you want, what are your expectations from surveys?”
Drummer said you want to make sure you don’t rush the process of analyzing results.
“You really want to really look at this, again because we are so small we do everything internally and don’t send it out for anyone to analyze it for us,” she said.
Dealing with Misinformation
Since American Mint is a continuity program, Drummer said a lot of misinformation is out there online.
“If you Google American Mint, you will find a lot of negative comments as well as positive ones,” said Drummer.
Drummer recommends dealing with misinformation through monitoring search engines, read online messages and determining whether to respond. And if you need to set the record straight, state the facts only.
“Try to contact the original poster,” she said. “You can sometimes work out a solution, because most of the time it is due to miscommunication between the person and the company.”
Try to talk to the webmaster where misinformation is posted, Drummer suggested. If someone is spreading false information about your company, she said, you may be able to convince them to take it down. She also said to make sure to document the web pages as evidence.