Culture and the way in which we interact with brands is changing: over 71% of consumers now expect to view in-store inventory online.

It is this online evolution and ‘always on’ culture that has been introduced to us through online channels, especially on social media, and now means we want to engage with brands instantly and on a personal level.

For brands that fail to do so, customers will inevitably turn to competitors or damage your reputation. With research revealing that 95% of customers share bad experiences with others, getting the customer experience right first time around is vital.

What happens when the world orbits around your customers?

Orbit Group is one of the UK’s largest housing organisations, providing around 40,000 homes and services to 100,000 customers. Orbit gathers feedback from customers across all of its major service areas including the customer service centre, responsive repairs, planned maintenance, housing management and gas servicing.
The organisation was the first housing association to implement real-time customer feedback, asking customers by phone, email and SMS to rate their service from 1 to 5.

These comments are then analysed in real-time and presented back to the brand, enabling rapid action. Customer service advisors can now identify an issue, contact the customer and put in steps to resolve any problems within 48 hours of receiving feedback.

Girl looking out onto the city in the evening

Having previously requested lengthy surveys, Orbit’s new approach led to the brand receiving more than 30,000 survey responses from residents and an average satisfaction score of 4.2 out of 5.

In addition to the improvement in customer engagement, real-time feedback has also had a positive impact on staff as it helps to identify where staff are going above and beyond their role on a daily basis.

Managers can use this information to reward and recognise good performance in real-time too. The feedback has also transformed employee engagement, driving a decrease in sickness to less than 5% and a 70% reduction in the number of advisors on improvement plans.

Three tips that will make a difference to customer service:

1. Measure the sentiment in customer communications

One way of tracking customer feedback is through measuring sentiment – essentially tracking how the customer feels in real-time through their language. Monitoring and acting on this feedback in real-time means that the business can take swift action on any problems that arise, and this can be elevated through the business if required.

Gauging the sentiment of customer interaction also means that customers can be directed to more appropriate agents dependent on their history with a brand, and agents can provide a truly personalised experience.

2. Employee Gamification

While tracking and analysing customer feedback is vital, so too is identifying who is asking for that feedback. Richard Branson has been quoted as commenting, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”.

With that in mind, gamification is revolutionising the way in which we engage with employees.

When you have an office full of people all doing similar jobs, competition is a natural outcome. The use of gamification capitalises on the natural competitor inside us, ensuring that the nature of competition becomes a beneficial tool, both for a company and its employees.

Gamification can be introduced in many different ways too, from a leader board system to an interactive, real-time dashboard that can produce considerable employee engagement and increased customer satisfaction.

3. Listen and act on feedback

Do you truly listen to staff and customers and then act on their feedback? Listening to the voice of the customer is essential, but so too is hearing what your staff have to say.

Speak to the team regularly and ensure there is an open, confidential channel for feedback.

If your frontline staff feel unable to speak up or tell you where they think the business could improve, they’ll never engage emotionally.

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