Driving Online Customer Success: Guest Blog by Mark Penson, CMO & co-founder, Survey Anyplace

Hello Blog Readers! I rarely allow guest bloggers on my site, but I wanted to highlight this great post by a new TSIA partner, Survey Anyplace, who will be participating in our TSW Expo next week in Las Vegas. Enjoy!–John

Driving Online Customer Success
Real-time Feedback & Two-way Communication Drives Customer Technology Usage and the Bottom Line
By Mark Penson, CMO & co-founder, Survey Anyplace

When was the last time you used your generic spreadsheet program to its maximum capabilities? Do you even know all it can do for you? Many of your clients have the same issues with the software you’re providing. You need to get to know your customer better before you can help them know your product better. You need to determine what they most need to truly benefit from the services you provide.

When was the last time you received an email after you made a product purchase? Did you actually fill it out? No. I didn’t think so. That’s exactly my point.

Get into the minds of your customers, in real-time, so they can tell you exactly what they think, when they think it, so you can make sure you deliver – and continue to deliver for a very long time – exactly what will delight, not just satisfy them.

Customer Retention, Usage, and Happiness for Long-term Profit

You need real-time, two-way communication to drive customer satisfaction. Consider every customer interaction to be an opportunity to delight.

Customers have a variety of ways to get in touch with you….or may decide not to. It may be easier for your customer to ignore you. You need to remedy this. If the customer doesn’t contact you, initiate contact! If not, you’ll lose the customer before you’ve had time to react.  Think about this statement: “unknown” equals “unloved.”

The question is how you can create two-way communication.

1. Always ask for feedback.

  • Provide easy-to-answer questionnaires embedded in your mobile app or web application to let your user tell you what he thinks about your app, device or service. You’ll get very valuable “in the moment” data.
  • During online support, provide a “Click on this button” survey, asking for his one-minute feedback.
  • Add a sticker with a personalized QR code and URL linking to a survey on every hardware package.
  • If you know who the user is, personalize the survey, upload the results into the CRM system, and react or act accordingly.
  • Always give your users an incentive, of course.

2. Post your users’ feedback in your newsletters, on your website, or any other channel you use to get in touch with them.

  • Be sure to point out what you’ve changed or improved based on the information, so they can see their participation gets results.

3. Gamifying Effort Scores for Better Educated Customers

  • If you’re using only 20% of an application, it’s easy to drop it and jump to another vendor. It’s incredibly important that your customers use your software or hardware to its full extent. Only then will your accounts be less vulnerable to your competitors.
  • Embed questionnaires and quizzes within your applications. Use a “Did you know….?” style. Ask users to take small quizzes about some of the features.
  • Add gamification: give them a score, let them earn badges. Give prizes to people who not only know the most, but also to highly active participants.
  • At the end of each quiz, always ask for one minute of feedback.
  • Track the answers. Not only are you driving loyalty, but also analyzing the scores allows you to measure the “user experience” and the effort it takes to learn new features.

4. Be Proactive During Online Support

  • For every online interaction, let the customer tell you what he thinks. Did he really get the help he needed? Ask him explicitly. If he’s not happy, give him the chance to “click on this button” to get in touch with your priority helpdesk.
  • Don’t just collect the data. Analyze it and make any necessary changes to your customer service process or to reorganize the way the team works.

Get Your Employees’ Effort Scores, Too

Your employees need to know more than your customers. They cannot support your customers unless they understand your products at the deepest levels themselves. Are they there yet? An advanced training program doesn’t necessarily mean that employees all have the required skills. Do you test them on a frequent basis? If not, you should. Define a process to review general and detailed scores and to take actions on individual and group performances.

No matter what you do, though, make it fun. Gamification is critical to drive participation.

Organize quizzes for all the required subjects. Ask your employees to take them at different levels, from junior to expert. Reward them for their expertise and participation.

For these companies without a formal training program, create one using the collective intelligence of your employees – crowd-source it. Ask each person to take a specific product to create quizzes and try them on their fellow employees. You’ll end up with a full training library at a low cost. Formalize it. Gamify it, too, by department, area of expertise, etc.

Success for your organization means satisfied customers. Get everyone on board to drive customer delight in real-time.

Mark Penson is CMO & co-founder of Survey Anyplace, which generates real-time insights by facilitating easy creation of real-time customer surveys and quizzes. www.surveyanyplace.com

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