Many follow-up customer surveys are just a drag but it doesn’t have to be that way. We spoke with Jordy Leiser, CEO of Stella Service, about new ways to look at these tools that go beyond asking people to answer 30 questions.
The key, says Leiser, is focusing on the more compelling thread and narrative of the customer connection with customer service folks.
“It makes it much more personal to talk about, ‘Hey, how was your experience with Steve?’” he says. “Steve represents the brand in a way that’s much more real to me than some faceless corporate communication. Because we’re humans and we connect with other humans, whether in stores or airplanes … this follow-up kind of survey can be way more engaging if you tie it back to Steve.”
Stella has been able to attribute future sales to a good interaction with the customer service rep we’re calling Steve. The evidence shows that people are more likely to socially share something about their experience if given an easy way to do it.
“People like rewarding other people and making it known, much more than if it’s just about the company,” he says, “What we have realized is if you have a great experience with Steve, after that feedback you can create an automated way to share it with friends. Any company can do this.”
Leiser maintains that consumers are willing to share their rep experience socially “at orders of magnitude far greater than just talking about a brand” and those social mentions can drive traffic back to the business if it’s made easy to do and the right links are installed in the sharing mechanism.
What’s more, the traffic generated to the site can then be sourced back to “Steve,” and this “totally new concept” turns customer reps into salespeople – giving them new motivation or the possibility of being compensated for up-selling customers, he says.
“It’s creating this positive brand effect — word-of-mouth marketing — but trackable,” Leiser adds. “Steve can see that he is creating a marketing message that’s creating a sale. It also allows the company to ascribe a real ROI to customer service.”
This won’t work if a call center is operated with the idea of being as cheap as possible, he says.
“You need to have a customer service organization that isn’t just a call center — just there to solve problems,” Leiser explains.”They have to be there to have a conversation with someone and be a real human being, making a personal connection so the customer feels like they are valued.”
The ROI on investment in a great customer service system is not only loyalty but an amplification that turns into sales.
“We have companies showing five to eight times their investment coming back to them in ROI in terms of new customers,” Leiser says. “It’s not like you’re getting a 5% return. You’re getting orders of magnitude back on your investment.”
The engagement level of the customer base will directly affect how willing they are to share stories about customer service reps. So, every brand is different.
Leiser says it makes sense to tap your customer sentiment with a survey at most quarterly or twice a year to get effective results. But in the case of asking about the interaction with customer service reps, it should be done after each interaction to get the most mileage.
“It’s important not only for that employee but also for the company. ‘Hey, how did they do?’ So, that’s really starting to resonate.”