From time to time, each of us runs into a random, insatiable craving. It could be that you’re wrapping up a commute from work and a candy bar sounds like the perfect thing. Or you suddenly realize how long it’s been since you had a refreshing, cold soda. In these instances, many people find themselves pulling into a nearby CVS or Rite Aid for a quick pitstop. Isn’t it confusing to walk out of the store with a receipt nearly a foot long, even if you bought just one item? Most consumers don’t even pause to recognize the small survey link near the bottom of our slips before crumpling them up and tossing them in the garbage.
Many large companies, such as CVS and Rite Aid, have adopted the receipt surveys as their primary method for measuring customer satisfaction. These days, most surveys are incentivized--those who complete the surveys are entered in raffles to win various prizes or discounts. Although receipt surveys successfully make it into the hands of customers, reports show that current survey completion rates are less than 1%. Aside from the low completion rates, incentivization may lead to warped survey responses from customers who just want the chance to get the perk. Recognizing the environmental consequences of using so many receipts is also important; maybe it’s time retailers started depending on more environmentally-conscious surveying methods.
Practicing effective mechanisms for measuring customer satisfaction is crucial to the success and growth of your business. Developing accessible systems for customers to express their feedback allows organizations to make rapid adjustments to shifting customer preferences. Taking the extra step is critical; companies have to go beyond just accommodating the needs of their patrons in order to secure a loyal clientele. By reshaping the retail experience and striving towards complete customer satisfaction, businesses begin to ensure their own success.
Receipt surveys were a far more effective solution upon their inception. The present reality is that far more consumers rely upon digital methods of expense recording than paper. To visit a specific survey URL and manually punch in a unique code in order to take a lengthy survey is too far beyond the routine of a business’ average customer. Companies need to shift towards more easily-accessible methods. Luckily, the key to reaching clients sits in their pockets.
On average, Americans are sending at least 67 texts per day. Given that consumers are already spending so much time on their mobile devices, it’s clear that communication through this medium isn’t a deviation from existing behaviors of your customer base. Customer feedback organizations like Benchmark Intelligence are already exploring methods for customer engagement through SMS messaging. By using simple in-store signage instead of receipts and shortening surveys while allowing clients to share about their experiences through text, businesses already experience a 5x increase in the amount of feedback they receive.
In addition to more transparent data, SMS measurement tools allow business owners and managers to directly engage in discussions with dissatisfied customers in order to alleviate issues and ensure better experiences in the future. If an angry customer completes an online survey from a receipt and swears never to return to your business, there’s nothing to be done. Alternatively, proactive engagement ensures that you learn from unhappy customers and provides the opportunity to promise better experiences in the future. It takes less than a minute for patrons to reach into their pocket to respond to a few questions through text--making things easier for business owners and customers alike.
Does your credit union operate on a “members first” mentality? If you’re working at an operational credit union, there is probably a good chance you said yes to this question. Credit unions have always been hyper-focused on making meaningful improvements to the member experience. However, many credit unions overlook some key ways to put members first, such as benchmarking their members experiences and so on.
The current makeup of the typical credit union’s member base is now more diverse than ever before. It’s no surprise that for the last few years, credit unions have targeted millennials as the next generation of financial service users. The result of this is that credit unions are now faced with a new and potentially more challenging dilemma: how to engage not only millennials, but also an aging boomer population and emerging Gen Z.
Engagement is one of the key fundamentals of member experience and the ability to provide a consistent member experience is the key to a successful credit union. Now you’re asking yourself, how do you provide a consistent member experience to an ever-changing membership in an ever-changing digital landscape?
The obvious answer is technology. Although that is partially true because technology is definitely a major tool you can use to help measure and improve member experience, the answer is not quite that simple. Here are 4 real ways you can begin to improve the customer experience of your credit union.
Although you will have some members that never step into your branches (or if you’re a branchless credit union), the truth is over 60 percent of Americans would still rather open a new checking account in person at a bank branch than on a phone, tablet, or desktop computer, according to a 2018 study.
Anytime your members step into one of your branches, it’s an opportunity to provide an exceptional experience and drive loyalty. Every exceptional branch experience starts with your employees. Make sure your employees are not only knowledgeable in all of your financial products but make sure they are properly trained on having a “members first” mentality. Make sure members are greeted as soon as they walk in. Always address a member by their first name when dealing with their account. Make sure your branch is well-staffed during peak hours to ensure wait times are kept to a satisfiable minimum.
Continuing upon the theme of keeping employees knowledgeable and sharp to ensure a positive member experience, an employee intranet/knowledge-base is one of the most powerful vehicles toward engaging employees with the credit union’s brand and institutional goals. A well-managed intranet serves as a linchpin for how employees operate effectively daily.
Whether checking for credit union announcements; reviewing training materials, policies or procedures; or reading blogs and articles from co-workers, an intranet allows employees to engage with the ethos of their organization and understand the role they play in its long-term goals. Ensure your member experience fundamentals are in solid working order and you have the right leaders, metrics, and accountability models to keep the fundamentals in place over time
It’s crucial for members to have a seamless experience whether they are in a branch, as previously mentioned, or using any of your digital channels (online banking, social, etc.) The only way you can achieve this is by having your marketing and IT departments work closely together to create and integrate member-facing technology. IT, marketing, and operations must align at each member touch point.
The path to membership will often start with a google search, so your website has to be well-done. Next is the online banking experience - much like your branch experience, this is a crucial step to gaining and keeping members. All member-facing team members must be well-connected to the online experience and ready to answer questions when the member is ready to move to the offline world. Make sure each of your channels - including your branches, online banking, website and social - are all working together to create a seamless member experience.
Collect Feedback & Analytics
One of the most crucial parts of becoming great at anything in life is measuring your success and failures - it’s how we know what we need to do to improve or know when we’re on the right track. Your credit union is no exception to this rule, so if you’re not currently collecting member feedback on a DAILY basis, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
It’s almost impossible to measure member experience without the feedback of your members. I’ve worked with a number of clients before who would only collect member feedback on a quarterly or even yearly cadence. If you’re only collecting feedback once a year from your member base, you will miss out any many potential operational deficiencies that are hurting your overall member experience.
Here at Benchmark Intelligence, we help credit unions collect member feedback on a daily basis. We focus on in-branch feedback, but we also collect feedback from your call centers and online channels. Our feedback is real-time and most importantly, we give you the opportunity to converse with your customers in real-time after they leave feedback, so that you can alleviate any issues or answer any questions they may have. Our tools have been proven to reduce online negative reviews by up to 50%.
We provide an exceptional customer feedback tool but we’re not the only way to collect feedback. The important thing is, whether you’re using us or another tool, you need to collect member feedback on a daily basis to not only measure your member experience, but to gather insights that will help you provide the best member experience possible.
If you’re a restauranter, you know the game is high volume and low margin. To be successful in business with this type of model, you need to make sure you have repeat customers. One of the easiest ways to get your customers to come back is to provide them with an exceptional customer experience.
Don’t just take my word for it: a 2017 Deloitte report showed that a positive experience will encourage 60% of guests to be more frequent customers at a restaurant. Happy customers like going back to establishments that make them happy. Pretty obvious right?
Although it’s probably even more obvious, providing a great customer experience also helps increase revenue. A Salesforce survey revealed that 67% of customers will pay more for a great experience. Customers are willing to pay a premium for a great time.
The benefits of a better experience are hard to ignore and if you care about your bottom line, you should definitely care about providing a great customer experience.
Here are the four main places (outside of food) where restaurants can make changes to improve the way they provide a dining experience to customers:
Have An Empowered Staff
The foundation for a great customer experience at your restaurant(s) is employing an empowered staff that is highly engaged and committed to delivering that experience. This operational mindset makes every single staff member feel valued and even more invested in delivering a great customer experience.
So how exactly do you empower your staff to give better customer experiences? You need to make sure they are well trained and educated on your restaurant’s values and expectations and most importantly, they need to feel like they are a part of the team.
One method of engagement is empowering employees to have a sense of ownership in the business. By passing over some of the control into their hands, staff will become invested in the overall success of the operation and feel they are a valuable part in making it work. What’s more, in letting go of some of the reigns in managing the often-hectic operations of a restaurant, operators can also free up some of their own time.
It’s important to train your employees on how to deal with potential guest issues with empathy. One of the best ways to leave a positive impression is to have a strong rebound after dropping the ball, which means fixing a mistake right away and taking ownership of said mistake. This ensures that a customer leaves validated, knowing that their issue was important to your brand.
Personalize The Experience
Any restaurant can have great food, but one of the major factors that separates great restaurants from the rest is the personalized experience for each customer.
A 2016 OpenTable survey revealed that 95% of diners would return to a restaurant “if the staff catered specifically to their personal preferences.” In addition, 70% want to see a similar personalized dining experience at a casual restaurant. Personalized experiences AREN’T just for fine dining establishments.
Small steps like greeting a guest by their first name (“Hello Martha! What would you like?”) put guests at ease and make them feel cared for and accommodated. Train your team on “service with a smile” hospitality concepts, and to project warmth and friendliness in their communications. Have your staff utilize their non-verbal attributes such as eye contact and friendly body language; though simple, these non-verbal cues can make or break an encounter with a guest.
Streamline The Wait Times
The worst part of going out, for any customer, is a long wait time. Modern technology and the rise of mobile ordering have given customers an unprecedented number of options in when, where, and how they enjoy their food.
If your customers choose to come into your brick & mortar establishment, they don't want to have to wait around all day. Do your best to keep wait times as low as possible so you can guarantee the accuracy and quality of the meal as well as a time frame that’s manageable for your employees. Train your employees to work in a timely manner and make sure your establishment is well-staffed during busy times.
According to the data we collected with our customers, long wait times are one of the top 2 causes of a dissatisfied customer experience. Don’t let long wait times be the reason your customers don’t come back.
Collect & Respond to Customer Feedback
One of the most important things you can do to make sure you’re providing a great customer experience is to measure your customer experience. The easiest way to measure your customer experience is to collect customer feedback.
You can collect customer feedback through a variety of channels such as surveys, email, comment cards, reviews, and so on. The reality is, you will collect social media reviews passively without having to do much (check out our Yelp Mafia blog post), however I think it’s super important to collect direct customer feedback as well.
I may be a little biased but I believe Benchmark Intelligence is the easiest and most effective way to collect direct customer feedback. We help restaurants collect customer feedback through short (on average, 60 seconds) text message surveys. Our surveys have proven to reduce online negative reviews by 50% because sending a text is easier than downloading Yelp. Also, since the feedback is collected via text messaging, you can RESPOND to customers in real-time using our application. Letting customers know their voice has been heard, especially after receiving negative feedback, is very important for retaining that customer.
Ok, now that I’m done with that plug, the reality is, collecting customer feedback is super important. But the job doesn’t stop at collecting the feedback, the MOST IMPORTANT part of the whole process is utilizing the data to make operational changes to ensure you don’t keep having the same customer experience issues. Data is your best friend when it comes to providing an exceptional customer experience.