Customer Experience Champs vs. Chumps - The MSR Group

ChampionsAt The MSR Group we’re frequently asked what differentiates companies with high customer experience scores from those who score poorly. We recently took this discussion to a deeper level when working with a client who was struggling to improve their overall customer experience. What we learned may highlight issues within your own organization.

While the client originally asked for ideas they could bring in to effect change, The MSR Group approached the problem from the opposite perspective. We took a deeper look inside the company to identify the differences between people who were getting it right and those who didn’t score as well.

We interviewed local and district managers who are consistently rated in the top/bottom of the client’s organization in terms of customer experience scores. In addition, we reviewed customer feedback and looked at how the different performers acted on it.

Here are a few of the differences we found:

  1. Bottom performers take longer to address customer problems. Bottom performing managers take 40% longer on average to make the initial attempt to contact customers who have complained about a problem and requested follow-up.  These managers are even slower when it comes to final resolution of customer issues – they take 50% longer to arrive at and document final resolution of customer issues.
  2. People issues are more prevalent/tolerated among bottom performers. After visiting a bottom performing location, customers are 33% more likely to mention rude/unfriendly employees and 30% more likely to say they were treated in an impersonal manner. Rude and impersonal service appears to be tolerated by bottom performing managers because we saw no decline in these types of issues over time.
  3. Top performers frequently discuss expectations and emotional outcomes. Top performing managers have real-time, daily, weekly and monthly conversations with their teams about customer experience. When top performing managers describe the customer experience they expect their team to deliver, they talk in terms of emotional outcomes:  “The customer should feel like part of the family”, “The customer should feel valued” and “They should leave with a smile even when they didn’t come in with one.”  Bottom performing managers only discuss customer experience expectations “when they have time.” When they do share expectations with their teams, bottom performing managers are more tactical:  “Greet everyone by name”, “Greet within X seconds” or “Dress professionally.
  4. Top performers make a big deal about service successes. When customers share open-ended feedback about great experiences, top performing managers respond immediately, frequently and loudly. As soon as great feedback is received, top performing managers publicly announce the feedback even with customers present. On the other hand, bottom performing managers are more apt to share kudos via email.
  5. Top performers make plans, bottom performers make excuses. Top performing managers engage their teams to come up with actions to take in response to customer feedback. These managers “show” their team how to do things differently. Before acting, bottom performing managers often make excuses about their locations, the type of customers they serve or the staff on their teams. When they do decide to act, bottom performing managers “tell“ their teams what to do. 
  6. Top performers view customer feedback as a gift. For bottom performers, customer feedback is “something you have to deal with.” On the other hand, top performers view customer feedback as free advice about how their teams can better serve and retain customers.

Some of what we learned from this exercise was eye-opening for the client—it can be hard to step back and see patterns in your own organization. Fortunately, our findings have driven many changes there, and customer feedback results suggest the changes are paying off.

How about you? Are you ready to drill down and see who’s following best practices for managing customer feedback in your own organization?