Processing Customer Feedback
It is important to note that the alignment engine is a continuous process. It is iterative by nature. There is no set time table that is used to process and analyze the collected data. Customer feedback data is continuously analyzed by the personnel who service the account and by Service Assurance team members who are responsible for overall customer satisfaction. Our Service Assurance team meets regularly to review all accounts but does not limit its analysis to those predefined meetings. The engine runs constantly.
The general areas that are evaluated by the Service Delivery Alignment Engine include:
- General Support – How does the customer perceive the quality of our support? What are we doing wrong? But it is also important to identify what we are doing right.
- Responsiveness – Are we responding quickly enough to their requests? Do we complete tasks when they are needed? The number one complaint reported by numerous industry surveys, by an order of magnitude, is slow response to customer requests. Think about the last time you had to wait for anything longer than what you thought was appropriate. That is why service delivery organizations must create a robust set of Service Level Agreements to ensure customers are aware of the pre-defined turnaround times established at the beginning of the relationship.
- Communication – There are so many aspects to this subject, it is important to provide the participants with specific examples.
- Frequency – Are we providing our customers with information on a timely basis? Are we keeping them aware of our accomplishments with clear updates on large projects? Do we keep them informed when we complete daily work requests in a timely manner? Are we providing them with the appropriate status reports on long-running problems that are affecting their application?
- Content – Does the level of communication we are providing to the customer match their technical background? Is the language too technical, not technical enough, too high level or are we delving too deep into the details?
- Clarity – When we are providing or asking for information, do they understand what we are telling them or what we want from them?
- Communication Mechanisms– What communication transfer methods does the customer feel comfortable with? Do they prefer e-mails, ticket updates, phone calls or quick face-to-face meeting?
- Effectiveness – Are we performing the right tasks they need when they need them? Just as you may find that you need to provide your customers with additional activities to support their needs, you may also be providing them with service activities that are not important to them.
- Current Issues – Do they have any current issues that need to be addressed?
Realignment of Services to Meet Changing Customer Needs
Action plans to improve in weak areas are created during the evaluation process. Once agreed upon, the internal procedural and process changes can be implemented to tune and tweak the service delivery mechanisms. The changes can range the spectrum, from increasing the volume of communications with the customer to providing additional services that were not previously required and thus not defined during the initial contract negotiations. We understand that our customers’ needs change during the course of our relationship life-cycle. It is up to us as the service delivery provider to quickly identify those changes and adjust our services accordingly.
If the realignment required is substantive, a formal document that describes the issues identified and provides details on the changes that will take place to address them is distributed to the customer involved in the evaluation. Follow-up meetings, designed to ensure that the service delivery changes are having the desired outcome, are scheduled a few weeks after the action items document is distributed.
We continuously approach our customers to gather feedback to improve our services. We also look for new, innovative ways to gather customer feedback, process it, improve our approach to service delivery and then communicate those improvements to our customers.
In my next blog, we’ll cover some of the mechanisms we use to collect customer feedback data. We’ll begin with Service Level Agreements.
Thanks for Reading,
Director Of Service Delivery