Actionable Research through Action Reports

The key to getting the most out of your customer satisfaction research program is to identify those high-impact actions you can take to improve service or to increase customer loyalty. When we conduct customer satisfaction surveys, we sometimes come upon dissatisfied customers. Giving our clients the opportunity to contact these customers quickly and effectively to address their dissatisfaction is an important side benefit of the research.

In order to facilitate the identification of dissatisfied customers who wish to be contacted, Polaris has offered action reports as an enhancement to our clients� tracking or ad hoc research projects. A standard action report is the result of a question embedded in the client survey that asks if the customer would like a representative from the company to contact them regarding a question, issue, suggestion, or even compliment they may have.

Example of Action Report:

Action Report

If the customer wishes to be contacted, their contact information is confirmed, and the action report is delivered to the client the next business day. Our clients find action reports a very useful addition to their program. Dale Wilson, manager of Customer Satisfaction & Loyalty Portfolio at AT&T, states:

�Action alerts precipitate a one-on-one engagement with a customer who may be upset, disappointed, or unhappy. This provides us the opportunity to immediately address any issues of errors, misconception, or mistakes and to rectify these very quickly after the issue occurs. Customers have expressed appreciation that their opinions are valued and we address the problem in a timely fashion.�

There are four potential triggers to initiate action reports:

  1. Standard Action Reports -- As described above, the standard action report is generated as a result of a question placed at the end of the survey: Would you like a representative from Company XYZ to contact you regarding any issues or concerns you may have?

  2. Non-Complete Action Reports -- In some cases, a customer may not have time to complete a survey, but would like to be contacted. This creates the opportunity for feedback even if a survey has not been completed.

  3. Low-Rater Action Reports -- If a customer rates important measures below average, this can trigger a specialized action report question: You indicated you were dissatisfied. Would you like a representative from Company XYZ to contact you to discuss your situation?�The customized question acknowledges the customer�s dissatisfaction and gives the client a chance to rectify the matter. In our experience, adding low-rater action report triggers can result in more requests for action reports than with the more non-specific approaches. This illustrates the fact that dissatisfied customers will often go away quietly unless given a chance to be heard.

  4. Winback Action Reports -- For lost customer surveys, clients often explore various winback options, such as a discount to returning customers. If the customer gives any of the winback options an above-average interest rating, they are asked: You indicated you were interested in (winback offering) for returning. Would you like a representative from Company XYZ to contact you regarding this option?

The benefits of including action reports as part of a research program are multiple and include the following:

  • Positive customer contact. Every phone call made to a customer provides an opportunity to promote good will.

  • Customer problem alerts. Action reports provide an excellent opportunity to mend dissatisfaction and turn these contacts into successful long-term relationships.

  • Track performance and retention rates. By keeping track of those customers who asked to be contacted via an action report, it will be easy to track the number of dissatisfied customers who request contact for negative reasons.

  • Increase database accuracy by verifying addresses, phone numbers, and names. Action reports provide an opportunity to obtain accurate addresses, phone numbers, and contact names to update and enhance the current or prospective customer database.

Another customer satisfaction client states:

�The action reports allow us to identify and take immediate action to resolve any customer concerns when conducting our satisfaction surveys. Besides creating a little goodwill, the action reports provide a way of acknowledging the customer�s participation in the survey by using the opportunity to address any top-of-mind needs or issues.�

Don�t let your customers get lost in the shuffle. Implement action reports as part of your research program today.

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