Customers today can hate you in a wide assortment of channels.

That may not be the most positive and optimistic statement, but in today’s always-on omni-channel customer care environment, it’s something contact center managers and company execs need to understand – and fend against.

One of the best ways to ensure that your customers don’t hate you in any channel is to formally measure and actively manage customer sentiment across all channels.

Plenty of centers today handle most if not all of the following: customer calls, emails, chats, self-service transactions and social media contacts. Relatively few, however, have a C-Sat measurement initiative in place that takes all those channels into careful account. Sure, many may have a formal post-call survey process in place to measure customer satisfaction via the phone channel, but ask those centers if they have a similar process in place for the other contact channels they handle, and you’ll likely get a lot of “Not per se” and “We’re working on it” responses.

How can a multi-channel contact center truly succeed if it only consistently measures how customers in one channel feel about the service and support they receive? Quick answer: It can’t.

Multi-channel C-Sat Measurement & Management

Top centers today have a comprehensive C-Sat measurement process in place that enables the organization to capture and quickly act on customer ratings and direct feedback following every type of interaction, regardless of the channel chosen. The best multi-channel C-Sat initiatives include the following:

1) Short and concise (6-8 questions) post-contact surveys conducted immediately or (very soon after) a customer interaction occurs. In leading centers, the survey method used depends on the channel through which the customer interaction took place:

  • For phone calls, either an automated phone survey is conducted via IVR, or a live phone survey is conducted via a third party person.
  • For text-based interactions (i.e., chat, email and social media contacts), the survey is sent to the customer via email, or via a link at the end of the interaction.
  • For phone self-service interactions (IVR), an automated survey is conducted via the IVR; for web self-service interactions, the survey is sent via email or a web form that pops up following the interaction.

Regardless of channel or survey method used, the best C-Sat surveys ask the customer to rate their overall service experience, the agent’s knowledge and courtesy/professionalism, and include a “resolution” question to confirm whether or not the reason for the customer’s call/contact was fully taken care of. In addition, effective surveys give the customer an opportunity to provide open-ended comments to elaborate on their ratings.

2) The use of interaction analytics to detect possible defectors. While multi-channel post-contact surveying is key in gauging customer satisfaction, world-class contact centers don’t stop there. They delve even deeper using interaction analytics solutions that can evaluate both voice- and text-based customer interactions and alert managers whenever it appears a customer is dissatisfied. The power of interaction analytics tools is that they’re “always on.” They can detect and help the center “recover” angry/frustrated customers who opted not to complete a post-contact survey and who thus may have otherwise slipped through the C-Sat cracks – and the company’s hands.

3) Social media monitoring. Customer care organizations can learn a lot about how well they actually are caring for customers by keeping close tabs on “social feedback.” Customers today often take to Twitter and Facebook (and blogs and YouTube and…) to express dissatisfaction with – as well as positive praise for – companies with whom they’ve recently interacted. A recent survey conducted by Dimensional Research and sponsored by ZenDesk found that 45% of customers who suffered a bad interaction and 30% of customers who had a good experience shared their experience on social media.

Smart contact centers have a person or team in charge of monitoring the social landscape and capturing what customers (and potential customers) are saying about the organization, sharing that feedback with key members of the enterprise, and, when called for, taking action to turn a negative customer experience into a positive and memorable one. The most progressive organizations have set up their own social communities where customers can interact with one another (and the company) and whose comments, suggestions and feedback prove invaluable in helping the multi-channel contact center to continuously improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The Impact of C-Sat on E-Sat 

Much is said about the impact that happy and engaged employees have on customer satisfaction; well, it works both ways. Just think about how your agents feel after interacting with a happy customer versus how they feel after interacting with one who’s out for blood. If agents are forced to interact mostly with the latter type of customer, those agents aren’t going to like coming to work and may soon decide to not show up at all.

By carefully evaluating and acting on C-Sat data and other forms of customer feedback across all contact channels, companies have a much better chance of keeping customers happy and engaged, and happy and engaged customers don’t yell at agents or insult them and their families, which makes agents happy and engaged, which, in turn, drives customer happiness and engagement even higher.

And the positive – profitable – cycle continues.