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What You Can Learn from Customer Service Surveys

By: Brittany Engelmann-- 2017-04-20 6:00 am --

The results are in from the annual Temkins Customer Service Ratings Survey and three of the top 25 stores in the retail sector are dollar stores.

Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and Family Dollar ranked eighth, nineteenth and twenty-first, respectively in the 2017 survey that asked consumers to rate their interactions with businesses on a 7-point scale of satisfaction. Each of these stores sells products similar to those featured on DollarDays.com, such as ponchos or As Seen on TV merchandise.

The showing was particularly good for Dollar Tree, who ranked in the top 10 percent of all businesses surveyed, regardless of sector, according to a write up in Chain Store Age.

Ace, BJ's, and QVC all tied for the top spot out of the 48 retailers included in this year's ratings, each earning a score of 81% and coming in 8th place overall out of 331 companies across 20 industries. Five other retailers received scores that put them in the top 10% of companies for the entire Ratings: Sam's Club, O'Reilly Auto Parts, True Value, Amazon.com, and Dollar Tree.

Every business should strive for excellent customer service at all times, but there are some takeaways to be learned from the Temkins Survey and others like it that should help guide a customer service culture.

First, the survey participants are not in your store when they’re taking the questionnaire. They’re basing their responses on memory and feeling. It could be that the respondent is a long time shoppers or they may have been into your store once with their aunt from Minnesota. Sign up for a few survey sites, like YouGov or OpinionOutpost to get a sense of how most online opinion surveys work.

Below is a screenshot from a YouGov survey.

Metrics for the Temkins survey included: success (can you do what you want to do?), effort (how easy is it to work with the company?), and emotion (how do you feel about the interactions?).

Now, put on your customer hat for a moment and think about a business you recently visited: could you recall the emotion and effort required for the visit? How would you respond to broad, esoteric questions about your experience?

The point is, customer service isn’t built for standardized testing. Surveys are nice, but it’s impossible to play to the result. What matters is the feeling your customer is left with, and companies that score highly on these sorts of customer surveys are the ones who invest in a culture that treats the customer like a delicate gift.

Reams of articles have been written about building a customer service oriented culture for your business, and many have catchy phrasings or gimmicky devices to help remember the tenets.

But the best advice is the simplest.

Customer service starts at the top. Executives and managers should provide the proper resources to make sure their operations run efficiently and allow for sometimes time-consuming customer service requests, and they should treat their employees as if they were the customer, says Shep Hyken, a customer service consultant who runs an advice blog for businesses

Yes! Now what’s your question? Is the mantra espoused by Micah Solomon, a customer service evangelist writing in Forbes.

If you can orient your company to search for opportunities to serve customers, even before you know exactly what those customers are asking for, you’re going to do great.  I call this a “culture of yes”: an expectation that you will succeed in getting the customer what she wants, regardless of the request.

So if you’re looking to take away insight from news on customer service surveys, make sure to look at the big picture. The customers who are answering these questionnaires are not your most passionate, nor your most positive or negative. And when they’re asked to respond to a question about your customer service they’re going to tap into a fuzzy picture about their last visit and recall a feeling about how put together were your aisles, did your line move quickly, did they find what they needed efficiently and easily.

You can help your results by doing the little things and the big things with care, and making sure to treat everyone from your employees to your infrequent guests like they’re doing you a favor by being there.