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What customer feedback reveals about memorable frontline experiences

Recently, I spoke at AskNicely’s virtual Frontline Magic event. I talked about how customer feedback can reveal what is most memorable about a frontline experience. You can watch it here, but I’ve also taken the time to summarise the key takeaways in this post!

Intuitively we understand that a positive frontline customer experience is important. But how can we quantify the importance? And what parts of the frontline experience are influencing customer satisfaction the most?

Did your customers enjoy their interactions with your people? Was there a process they found confusing? What part truly delighted them?

Decision-makers need to be able to understand how impactful each attribute of the overall customer experience is to the customer. Otherwise, you are making decisions about which areas to invest in based on assumptions, which can be risky.

Helping companies make data-driven decisions is why I co-founded Thematic 5 years ago.

At Thematic, we take your customer feedback data (such as NPS surveys or support chat logs) and give you the ability to drill into what your customers really care about.

Here’s an example. These are NPS scores across different businesses in different industries:

NPS scores of 4 anonymous businesses

We’ve focused on the question “Why did you give us this score?”. We then apply natural language processing to find themes in customer responses. Some themes will be about the product or service the company is selling, whereas other themes will be about the frontline experience. For example, they might mention positive encounters with staff.

We can now compare NPS of all customers versus those who did not explicitly mention great frontline experience and calculate the impact this attribute on your NPS.

The impact of great frontline experience on NPS

Take a look at what happens. Without a great frontline experience, NPS drops on average by 40%.

We can then look at certain attributes of the frontline experience which impact NPS. This helps you drill down into what is driving those themes - so you can figure out where to invest.

Is it the knowledge of your people? The digital tools used?

Here are the results from one of the companies we worked with. The numbers in brackets are the individual impact scores on NPS. If you are interested in seeing impact scores on your data, sign up for a free trial of Thematic here.

themes describing staff attributes that impact NPS the most

If you can get such specific proof points about what elements are driving customer satisfaction, you can gain stakeholder consensus and commitment about where to invest next.

I finished off the presentation with a quick story about this sort of work we’ve done with one of our multinational customers. The data there was really interesting! It showed that, compared to the other countries where that company operated, one specific country was a poor performer. They knew some element of that frontline experience was letting customers down.

Speaking to their team, they were making assumptions about why this was the case. But they didn’t have proof.

They believed it was due to the people working in the country’s contact centres. But really…the data told a different story.

It turned out that customers were actually struggling with the billing processes, and it was dragging down their NPS. In fact, the experience they were having with contact centre staff was positive, and on par with other regions.

So, by having this data and knowing where to invest to make improvements, the team ended up boosting their NPS. They became a leading region in regards to their customer feedback. All because they had that insight and could turn it into meaningful improvements!

So there you have it. All data can tell a story - if you let it.

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