8 Feedback Channels That Get Results In Collections!

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In our last blog we shared The Three Top Reasons Why Customer Feedback is Crucial in Collections, so in this blog we’re tackling ‘the how’ and in particular what channels we’ve used to successfully recycle feedback.

Stuck for time? Why don’t you download our FREE whitepaper on leveraging customer feedback? We answer why it’s important, what channels your team can use and provide examples of how we’ve actioned feedback into success.

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Once again embracing a digital approach to customer engagement we use a number of tools available to gain both qualitative and quantitative data. We’ve encompassed an ‘our audience is our expertise’ mantra, developing not only state of the art customer facing tools but also bespoke internal processing systems (our Continuous Improvement Process), helping us to streamline our tactics and create lean strategies for our clients. Annually we service over 2 million live customer accounts and monthly enjoy circa 213k inbound customer contacts and we will lean upon our specific feedback channels to identify opportunities and continue growth. In this blog we share with you our top 8 tried and tested channels we use to help us obtain incredible high-quality feedback:

  1. Agent feedback
  2. Customer surveys
  3. Follow-up emails
  4. Chat transcripts
  5. Complaints
  6. Review pages
  7. Heat mapping
  8. ‘Report a bug’ pages

To get us out of the starting blocks we’ll start by going old school with good old-fashioned face-to-face agent feedback.

  1. Agent feedback
Your workforce deal with customers on a daily basis, they are on the front line dealing directly with the multiple issues facing customers trying to find solutions for their arrears. These staff members become crucial in developing the tools and processes needed for your collections, as they’ll be challenged with numerous excuses on non-payment, issues with payment methodologies, communication and technology errors and sometimes even compliments. All of this is important feedback for strategy development. Through experience, they should be able to screen and filter feedback from customers to identify cause rather than effect, as well as identify common themes and trends blocking success. You should look to develop an agent feedback management process that might not only uncover problems but can also be used to find creative developments. Customers can be a great source of inspiration as they will often share tips they use in other parts of their lives that can potentially be embraced by your business.

  1. Customer surveys
We’ve all filled them in and let’s be honest they’ve never been our favourite thing to do but the benefit of a customer survey for Collections teams is we control the questions being asked and as such we can drill as deep or as shallow as we like into any subject or concern we need to get to the bottom of. Time is of the essence! One thing our experience suggests is surveys need to be concise and to the point! Customers do not want to spend all day completing a survey, regardless of how deep their views are. Surveys, if too long, can be a huge inconvenience to people. Many of us won’t spend more than a few minutes completing a survey, so why should your customers? Due to bounce rates early in our survey testing we recognised length of survey as an issue so we changed tact to focus on maintaining survey relevance to the customer whilst keeping them time limited. Methodology! Multiple choice questions can be used to get some surface-level feedback. However, for those customers who wish to expand on their response, a non-mandatory comments box can be added at the end of the survey for them to provide contextual feedback. Targeted and relevant questions need to be used so that the customer is only commenting on what they have experienced on their specific customer journey. This will then avoid irrelevant comments on outcomes the customer hasn’t experienced. Poor data and feedback can lead to misdirection and cost both resources and time. Focus on what you really want to uncover about your business. Short, concise questions will go a long way towards shaping the future of your processes.

  1. Follow-up emails
After customers have used your service, follow-up emails can be a great feedback resource. Often their experience, good or bad, will be at the forefront of their mind so you have a better chance of receiving relevant feedback. Typically, we aim to send follow-up emails after the customer has gone through the complete process, this helps them provide better detailed feedback on each ‘touch point’ of their customer journey. Of course, the distribution of the follow-up emails can be tailored. This may be to limit feedback to certain processes or products, or alternatively, engage with customers who’ve had negative/positive experiences. To find out why customer feedback is important and how we’ve activated feedback into actual improvements and developments download our leveraging customer feedback whitepaper.

  1. Webchat
Live chat, autoresponders and chat transcripts are fantastic to use for feedback, particularly for immediate issues. Typically, customers will only engage with a webchat option when they’re struggling to navigate your website, if there’s an issue with one of your services or they need to speak to a team member. Live chat can draw immediate attention to any issues with your website; allowing prompt, effective fixes to ensure the least number of customers are affected. Autoresponders offer agents the opportunity to review live transcripts, understand the needs of the customer, and if possible, quickly prepare a solution. All webchat transcripts can be reviewed, or conversations that have been flagged by agents or software can again be reviewed to identify issues or trends. Transcripts can be a great opportunity to review your own system and staff communication style, noting whether it has the right tone to fit the conversation flows. For most webchat functions here at CRS, our transcripts are archived onto a central folder which can be extracted for review by operations teams to identify weakness and opportunity. Live webchats can also be placed onto monitors around your office to keep an eye on ongoing discussions between staff and customers, helping team members focus, get support where needed and share best practice.

  1. Complaints
Complaints are also a valuable source of information. Complaints can provide a valuable insight into how customers are feeling, and strong analysis can teach us how to provide an even better service to customers. For example, if a repetitive complaint is coming from multiple customers concerning the functionality of your services, it’s important this is highlighted and dealt with quickly. As you’d expect you might have to trawl through a lot of negativity when reviewing complaints, but experience will help you filter through the comments and often you will unearth actionable improvements.

  1. Review pages
In a similar vein to complaints, review pages can be a great feedback resource that’s more often than not paid for by other companies which you can access free of charge. Again, it’s important to note that ‘distress companies’ will naturally have some malicious reviews that will not aid your company. It’s still imperative that these pages, such as Google Reviews, Trustpilot etc. can be utilised to have a look at where to improve your site and services. One option can also be to engage with your customers, by replying to reviews in an attempt to aid the customer. This is often a successful approach as it presents your company cares about the voice of the customer and is working to provide the best service possible. Note that malicious, offensive or defamatory reviews can also be reported on most platforms helping to remove these reviews.

  1. Heat mapping
Back firmly in the tech space, heat maps are a brilliant way to understand customer behaviour on specific webpages. We’ll use them to track where customers have scrolled to on pages and what content is and isn’t of interest to them by tracking where they move their cursor, how long for and where it goes next. As society has become more and more digitally literate, so too have the demands of the digital customer’s expectations. Heat mapping is a great feedback tool to help you identifying how to improve your website. It can direct you to the placement of internal and external weblinks, services buttons and critical information for customers. It can also be used for highlighting bugs on pages that need rectifying.

  1. ‘Report a bug’ feature
A key feature on any website is the ‘Report a bug’ feature. Though it may seem like a very small part of a website, it can allow immediate fixes to websites and also alert your internal teams to problems with the website that may need to be fixed as soon as possible. This can include links not working, enlarged buttons, difficulties loading pages and many other issues. Again, this feature may be misused by customers from time-to-time, however it is a small price to pay to identify issues on your website. CRS in action Activating all of the feedback channels above is primarily a straightforward task. The key to it all working though is creating a system where all of the information can be used to make a positive difference. Here at CRS we’ve developed a Continuous Improvement Programme (CIP) driven by our strategic research and developments team. Information is pooled from the feedback loop and fed into these teams for R&D and feasibility testing. Once the activities have passed benchmarking, they’re rolled out to our product owners, integrated into our processes, programmes and systems and finally the customers. To find out why customer feedback is important and how we’ve activated feedback into actual improvements and developments… Looking for more on the subject? Listen to our podcast on Feedback channels.