From the layout of your organisation’s mobile app to the typeface your marketing team uses in email communications, your customers have an opinion about almost everything. No department is immune to criticism, including IT.
More often than not, customer feedback reflects legitimate concerns. But even when a comment is trivial, it isn’t always going to be what you want to hear. The important thing is that CIOs and IT managers have a plan for gathering and learning from that feedback. After all, the only way IT teams can improve is if they see their work through the eyes of someone else.
In an effort to improve the quality of your IT team’s work, here are four tips for uncovering more valuable insights from customers and staff.
1. Listen to your team
By the time an IT issue escalates from the customer service team to the IT department, chances are it is serious. Ask your team to maintain a list of the most common IT issues reported by both customers and business users, and make resolving these a priority.
2. Speak to your customer service and sales teams
The IT department is no longer a dark, back-office haven for so-called ‘technology geeks’. However, the fact is that most IT teams still spend more time interacting with computers than customers.
To find out what customers really think about your work, you need to stay in regular communication with your organisation’s front line staff: customer service and sales representatives. In what areas are customers struggling? What aspects of technology could be improved to deliver better customer experiences? What feedback could you incorporate into the next product release?
Because they talk to customers every day, customer service and sales representatives are uniquely positioned to capture – and share – customer feedback. To ensure continual improvement, be proactive about harnessing their knowledge in a productive way.
3. Meet with your marketing team
There’s no doubt that talking to customers is important. However, you can also gather actionable feedback by observing how people use your product and interact with your brand.
Ask your marketing team about customer behaviour analytics, such as time on site and bounce rates. What can you do as CIO to improve those analytics? Can you automate processes to streamline customer experiences, or update technologies to ensure consistent experiences across touch points?
As a starting point, Forrester research shows many marketing teams are struggling to meet customer expectations for consistent, engaging communications. If your marketing team reports similar difficulties, for example, you could take steps to address shortcomings in areas such as process automation and tools to support multi-channel communications. Don’t be afraid to ask how you and your team can add value.
4. Implement innovative customer feedback tools and processes
Your marketing and customer service teams may already use feedback forms and surveys for collecting customer feedback about products, services and processes.
As head of technology, CIOs should take the lead when it comes to ensuring these tools are integrated in a useful way. How is feedback stored and managed? Can you better exploit feedback to support continual improvement? Is there a more effective way for your customer service team to conduct telephone surveys?
5. Remember to follow up
After you have put your customer feedback into action, be sure to follow up. Check with your IT team to make sure that customers are no longer reporting the same issues. Ask your customer service team if their resolution times have reduced. And stop by the chief marketing officer’s desk to find out whether their analytics have improved.
Measuring the impact of your changes will provide you with the data you need to inform future approaches and strengthen collaboration between teams.
What are your best tips for soliciting and managing customer feedback? Let us know in the comment section below.