I recently had an experience that got me thinking. It’s not enough to simple have a Customer Satisfaction Survey program. Organizations also need to have a system in place that makes it easy for customers to provide immediate feedback – especially when that feedback is negative.
Here’s what happened…
I needed to have an ultrasound, and I took my five-month-old daughter with me to the hospital for my appointment. The customer service disaster began almost as soon as we arrived.
The department was clearly running behind schedule, but the woman behind the counter didn’t seem to have a clue what was going on. After we had been waiting for an hour she could not tell me if or when I would be seen. Thirty minutes later – i.e. after I had been keeping an infant calm and happy for 1-1/2 hours – she informed me that I would be seen in seven minutes. A half hour went by, and no one called my name.
By this time my little sweetheart needed a diaper change…and I was informed that there were no changing facilities at all in the entire hospital tower! Really? At a hospital? Was I really the first one to ever bring a baby to the hospital?? I ended up changing her on the grass in front of the building.
Eventually my turn came up, I had the ultrasound (don’t worry, everything was fine), and I ended up saying something to the ultrasound tech about the lack of changing tables. “Gee,” she said, “I never noticed that since I don’t have any kids.” Perhaps no one in the facilities department has kids, either.
By the time I left the hospital I was extremely frustrated and annoyed. Needless to say, when I got home I had the urge to go online to Yelp, Facebook, or whatever to tell the world about my awful experience. And I absolutely did not want to wait until the inevitable Customer Satisfaction Survey arrived three weeks later to make my frustration known to the hospital. So I went to the hospital’s website to try to find a way to lodge a formal complaint. I eventually found a “patient complaint” option on the “contact us” email form, but I really had to hunt to find this. Ugh!
You may think that your operations are running smoothly because you have not directly heard any feedback, but a lack of feedback does not mean that you don’t have any problems. It could be that your first problem is that you don’t have an effective feedback system!
If you want to stand a chance of preventing people from posting their complaints on social media, you must provide an easy way for them to direct this feedback to you. In real time. This could be through a landing page, an app, or whatever. The important thing is that you:
- Provide a feedback mechanism that is easy to find and easy to use. Don’t make people hunt for this.
- Monitor posts made to your own social media forums and have a social monitoring system in place to keep tabs on what’s being said about your company elsewhere. Respond to these posts in real time, professionally and compassionately.
- Collect and analyze this data. Watch for trends. If ten people complain about the same thing, chances are this thing is a problem.
- Address issues / make changes. Forward the information on to the appropriate departments, so that something can actually be done about these complaints.
- Follow up with your customers. Let them know that their feedback has been heard and is being acted upon. Doing this will lead to higher customer satisfaction, and give you the chance to turn things around with these customers.