The Best Ways to Handle Customer Feedback


Our expert panel reveals what you should be doing with your captured data to create the best possible customer experience.

Keep your post-call surveys simple

Post-call surveys are a great way of collecting customer feedback.

This will often consist of a rating between 1 and 5 (with 1 being poor and 5 being excellent) that they can input into the telephone keypad.

Automatically call back the customers that have had a poor experience

David Ford

David Ford

Automatically call back the customers that have had a poor experience.

Set your system to queue any negative responses so they receive a follow-up call from the customer retention team to try and resolve the problem.

Real-time feedback means that you can react quickly and retain more customers.

Use a variety of surveys so the information asked is relevant to the customer

Create different surveys that are logical to the agent disposition code used at the end of the call.

Some systems allow the business to change the questions or even change the survey on the fly without any reliance on the IT team at all.

By dynamically pulling different surveys based on the call outcome you can gain far deeper insight and collate more relevant data.

With thanks to David Ford at Magnetic North

Review the existing process and share anecdotal feedback

We’ve built up a multi-stage customer feedback process.

The goal is to ensure that customer service teams gain a more complete view of customer concerns.

Stuart Dorman

Stuart Dorman

To help capitalise on feedback, we encourage contact centre teams to consider the following eight activities:

  1. An initial planning session to establish set-up and questions for the feedback process
  2. Engage all key stakeholders to discuss, establish and embed customer feedback strategy
  3. Review the existing agent performance management process, with a focus on KPIs and the sharing of anecdotal feedback
  4. An audit of the current quality process, matching internal and external scores and also assessing the structure of the quality form
  5. Establish a process to enable feedback to the rest of the operation
  6. Have a clearly defined process to respond to both positive and negative feedback
  7. Make sure support is in place when feedback goes live
  8. Carry out a post-implementation review 2-3 months after go live, checking whether processes are established, reviewing feedback and making necessary adjustments

With thanks to Stuart Dorman at Sabio

Survey questions should focus on staff behaviour

You must separate feedback attributed to staff behaviour from things they have no control over by designing your questions accordingly.

Not only will this help you with your focus when driving change, but it will also make your staff much more positive to the surveying as they will feel it is fair.

Automatically forward surveys to the right department for follow-up

Create alerts based on trigger words. Your solution should be able to automatically forward surveys based on low scores and customer comments to the right department.

Customers about to leave should go to a retention team, feedback about your website to your web team and so on.

Short term this will help you save disgruntled customers, long term it will stop them getting disappointed in the first place.

Customer voice recordings work well in agents’ performance reviews

Mats Rennstam

Mats Rennstam

Keep gathering customer voice recordings but also transcribe customer verbatim into text.

The voice recordings work wonders in one-to-ones with staff.

If you are going to do data mining (e.g. finding out your top 10 customer gripes), text is far superior.

Tie customer identifiers to feedback to quantify the value of good service

Analyse the big data slowly building up over time. For example, you could easily find out your top drivers of C-Sat and prioritise accordingly.

You could also analyse breaking points for speed of answer by relaxing service levels without affecting C-Sat.

If you tie customer identifiers to feedback, you will also be able to quantify the value of good service, making your next budget discussion with your manager significantly easier.

With thanks to Mats Rennstam at Bright UK

Feed your customers’ gripes into your agent training programmes

So many organisations provide induction training and then leave staff to it, trusting that they are ok and the team manager is developing them.

Your customers will tell you how this is working out.

If there are knowledge, attitude or culture gaps, the customer feedback will tell you.

Feed this information back into your training programme to fix the problem at the source.

Take your business case to the board to address recurring problems

If customers are asking for things you can’t or won’t do because of policies or procedures then it’s time for a rethink.

Build your business case and get the decision maker’s ear – and do it fast because frustrated customers vote with their feet.

Address ‘on-hold’ complaints by properly staffing your contact centre

Carolyn Blunt

Carolyn Blunt

If customers are complaining that they have a long hold time, analyse why this is the case.

Is it because you are under-resourced or losing staff to the competition? Do you need to recruit and review your pay levels to the front line?

Resource well and invest in your talent.

It’s a blinkered view to penny pinch on front-line salary. On average, it costs almost half the first year salary to recruit and train an advisor.

Choose good people by following sound recruitment practices (e.g. do more than just a short interview!) and reward good performance and attitude generously.

Equally, sort out the bad apples without delay before they poison the rest!

With thanks to Carolyn Blunt at Real Results Training

Categorise feedback in to segments such as specific topics or severity score

Organisations need to put a strategy in place to systematically review, prioritise and act on customer feedback.

Not all feedback needs the same level of action. Therefore as part of the strategy, categorise feedback in to segments such as specific topics or severity score so the right person is responding to the feedback at the right time.

Susannah Richardson

Susannah Richardson

Although it is important to evaluate and respond to all customer feedback, those with high severity scores must be acted upon by the right person in the right timeframe.

Share customer feedback with your agents too

It is important that feedback is not only shared amongst senior members of staff and contact centre managers but also to the agent level.

As the agents are the ones communicating and delivering the customer service to the customers, they need to understand what feedback is being received in order to continually improve performance.

Customer feedback can be linked to a customer profile on the agent desktop, so that when an agent next speaks to a customer they are able to notify the customer what is being done and then on some occasions re-evaluate the customer’s opinion on the matter.

With thanks to Susannah Richardson at mplsystems

Speak to front-line employees to verify responses before making changes

When looking to implement a change based on customer feedback, first speak to front-line employees to verify responses.

If this confirms the feedback, it’s important to look at the impact that making the change would have on revenue and wider business objectives.

Communicate the changes you make to your customers


Keith Wilkinson

Once you’ve implemented any customer-driven change, it’s important to communicate this change to the customer – be that a lower price on a product line, or a new parking system in a particularly busy store.

If you don’t tell them, they will never know the outcome of their initial feedback.

Map each customer’s journey with your company

It’s helpful to map each customer’s journey with your company, rather than conducting a series of single interactions.

This will ensure that customers are not frustrated at having to repeat the same information to multiple contacts, which will also help to improve your company’s NPS score.

With thanks to Keith Wilkinson at Genesys

Automate the distribution of data in a timely manner

There is no point in gathering feedback if nobody can access it or if it takes months to make its way to those that need it.

Consider investing in a customer experience management tool that can automate the distribution of data in a timely manner and allow for the configuration of alerts and dashboards.

Agents need a granular view of the data

Configure appropriate dashboards for agents, managers, and executives.

Agents need a granular view of the data so they can take immediate action, while managers need a more aggregate view to pinpoint areas for training and coaching.

Executives are more concerned with high-level measurements that affect quarterly or yearly goals.

Don’t try to do everything all at once

Jason Napierski

Jason Napierski

It can be tempting to implement all manner of new customer experience programmes to completely transform how your contact centre interacts with customers.

While this is a noble goal, it’s easier to establish a smaller set of action items based on short-, medium-, and long-term timelines.

What are the immediate needs that should be addressed over the next few months? What actions can improve customer experience or revenue over the next year?

Also include the grander, game-changing ideas for the long term.

Segmenting your programme into these timelines will allow you to focus on the most pressing needs first and will lead to greater overall success and buy-in.

With thanks to Jason Napierski at CallMiner

Capture and analyse an all-round view of the call experience

Having technology to track both agent evaluation and customer feedback provides an all-round view of the call experience.


Justin Hamilton-Martin

One way of doing this is to take the information gathered in an end-of-call automated IVR survey and then compare it with QA monitoring to create an insight into the customer’s call experience.

This helps to identify the possible difference between a complaint and a sale being closed, so the outcome was achieved, yet the ‘how’ may have still left something to be desired.

Another technique to consider is bringing together call and screen recording, scripting or path flow analysis, combined with supervisor, agent and customer feedback to provide a better overall picture of productivity and satisfaction, leading to a win-win situation all round.

With thanks to Justin Hamilton-Martin at Ultra Communications

Make sure your questions lead to actionable insight

When you’re trying to capture the voice of the customer, be clear about what outcome you want from your survey. Make sure you know what change you want to bring about and what kind of information you are specifically looking for.

Questions structured to reveal how the customer ‘feels’ are useful because they encourage responses to be emotive, helping you understand unengaged customers and people with strong emotive reactions.

Close the loop on individual issues while working on the longer-term plans

Understand and act on the feedback where you can. The cause of frustration can be a simple defect in an existing process or journey, but this doesn’t mean the journey needs to be completely reinvented.

If you identify the critical problems quickly you can close the loop on individual issues while working on the longer-term plans in parallel.

Overcome ‘Survey Fatigue’

The biggest cause of so-called ‘Survey Fatigue’ is consumer cynicism.

After all, how would you feel about giving feedback over and over again if nothing ever changes?

Andy Smith

Andy Smith

If a customer gives feedback about a particular issue, make sure you go back and tell them that their feedback is being taken seriously and exactly what is being done about it.

Own the problem, use it as an opportunity to resolve and rebuild the relationship and gather more feedback on how the experience failed.

Use real-time analysis to help identify recurring themes

Being able to monitor the customer responses using real-time feedback can ensure a company can identify the commonalities in customer pain-points.

Analysing this data using keywords then provides a system to score and identify exactly what the recurring themes are that are making customers happy or frustrated.

By linking these results to your business processes and creating intuitive reports you can address issues, action ideas for improvement and ensure surveys really deliver value to your business, and back to the customer.

With thanks to Andy Smith at EvaluAgent

What do you do with your customer feedback?

Author: Megan Jones

Published On: 1st Apr 2015 - Last modified: 7th Dec 2023
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