Archive for January 31, 2014

Timing of Feedback Is Important

 

How good is your customer feedback program? From the time a customer dines with you, or makes a purchase, how long does it take to get them a feedback survey? Is it done by invitation at the bottom of the receipt – if so, is this point out to the customer as they are leaving? – or via email?

 

Timing can vastly improve the data from customer feedback surveys, which is why many companies are turning to real time feedback in the form of text surveys, mobile apps, and customer engagement consoles.

 

People are busy, and details can get lost easily when it comes to their experiences, unless of course it is extremely positive or negative. If customers are not getting a survey until the day (or more) after the experience, are you sure they will provide the most accurate details? It’s not often I will remember an employee’s name later that day, or the next day, so it will be difficult to recall that information if a company asks when seeking feedback. I also may not remember if my wait in line was longer or shorter than I anticipated, or if the employee suggested opening a store credit card.

 

In addition to making sure you’re asking the right questions, ensuring that the time between the experience and the survey is a short as possible will provide the most accurate data. One great example I’ve seen recently is from Diamond Candles – they have incorporated customer feedback into the signature line of their support staff.

 

When a customer sends an email or web inquiry to the company, and a response is provided, this is what customers clearly see at the end of the email:

 

 

diamond candle email

 

Simply click on your opinion of the response, and you will be taken to a response specific survey that is designed based on the response you chose. It allows customers to provide additional comments and send off their thoughts. This not only makes it easy for the customer, but the timing is immediate, and as a company, it’s easy to look for trends across those that were satisfied, neutral, or dissatisfied because there are three separate data streams coming in. I’ve seen similar types of feedback requests in live chats as well – the survey link is provided at the very end of the conversation, and one click gets the customer to the survey right away.

 

If you’re looking for ways to be efficient in your customer feedback programs, just send us a quick email and we’ll be happy to give you some options!

 

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The Five Faces of Your Employees

 

I came across an interesting article that talked about performance reviews and the five types of employees managers can face, and how to work with each one, especially when it comes to performance reviews. Below are a list of the five “faces of your employees” and some quick tips on how to manage them effectively:

 

1. The Diva:this one is pretty self-explanatory. This employee thinks they are the best thing to happen to your company. He/she thinks they have nothing to improve on, and during performance reviews, there is nothing the manager can suggest to do better. They may not work well in teams, but are often high achievers, at some level.

 

How to manage a Diva: since this type of employee thinks they are fantastic at everything and can do no wrong, it’s time to do a reality check for them. This can be effectively done with very concrete information. As a manager, it’s best to explain exactly what tasks involve, the definition of successfully completing that task, and what it means to exceed the expectation. It’s best to lay it out by saying, “This is what needed to be done. This is what you did. This is what you needed to do in order to complete this task well.” It’s going to be difficult to get the Diva to ‘see the light’ but continual concrete direction and assessment will go a long way in working with the Diva.

 

2. The Deflector: this employee is the victim of everything. The Deflector’s mantra tends to be “It’s not my fault.” They will find reasons for not performing up to par in everything except themselves; it’s hard to be a Deflector, because everyone and everything causes him/her to not perform up to his/her potential.

 

How to manage the Deflector: getting the Deflector to focus on what they can control will be helpful. Since this employee type focuses on things that cause them to be unable to perform at their best, as a manager, it’s important to help them be part of the solution. Refocus the employee so they can see what they can control, and how they can make changes to improve their performance.

 

3. The 9 to 5 er: this one is pretty straightforward too. This employee works well (or not), but will put in the effort for the required hours per week, nothing more, nothing less. This could be a great employee, but when it’s quitting time, the employee is done for the day, regardless of what might be going on.

 

How to manage the 9 to 5’er: this one is fairly simple; help this type of employee be as efficient as possible so they are making the most out of their 8 hour day. Look for ways to make their workload flexible, yet efficient, so they can be as productive as possible while still working their core 40 hour week.

 

4. The Upwardly Mobile/Unsure: this might be the best type of employee to work with, at least on some level. This employee is perhaps younger, and newer to the workforce, and isn’t quite sure which path to take in life. This type of employee will typically work hard and put forth the extra effort, especially when his/her efforts are rewarded. Because they are most unsure of their path, they are the easiest to manage, coach, and work with, as they aim to please and want to learn. However, they do need attention and recognition to keep them from moving to the 9 to 5 type employee.

 

How to manager the Upwardly Mobile/Unsure: these employees need the most planning and coaching to get them to the point you want them to be. Because they are full of potential, it’s a good idea to focus on ultimate goals and the plan to get there. Make sure you share this vision with the employee, but do so slowly in order to get them to work up to that goal. This type of employee needs more coaching and recognition than the others, as well as more work goal planning and development. They’re a diamond in the rough, so spending the time to guide them now can payoff for your company in the long run.

 

5. The Star: Unlike the Diva, this type of employee knows they are good at what they do, and they really are! This employee does everything, and does it well, and others look up to him/her. This one is a gem to work with and keep as an employee!

 

How to manage a Star: this one is the most challenging – they’re doing it all, and doing it well. As a manager, it’s important to keep this employee engaged and in a leadership role, as others tend to look up to him/her. Use the Star to find and create efficiencies, and monitor performance on a more hands off level to allow them to do what they do. This does not mean that they should not be managed, or you should never offer guidance, coaching, or suggestions to them though.

 

Now you may have started mentally grouping your employees into these categories. Some might make sense, and like with everything human, some can be a mix of faces. As mentioned, the Upwardly Mobile could turn into a 9 to 5’er if not managed properly. And, in many cases, a Deflector could easily be a 9 to 5’er.

 

Taking a good look at your employees and where they tend to fall within the above categories may give managers insight into dealing with them and making the most of their talents and abilities. This article focused primarily on performance reviews and the faces of employees, but could easily be incorporated into managing on a day-to-day level.

 

 

Google Surveys: Used As A Gatekeeper, It Might Not Work

 

Google Consumer Surveys are a great, inexpensive tool to capture some broad feedback from consumers. This survey program has been around for some time, and according to Google’s website, it shows that you can create surveys, target the demographic you’d like to get data from, and Google will pretty much take care of the rest.

 

Our company has tested this service in the past and thought it to be easy to use, and gave us some data on a broad level to work with for a small study we conducted last year. However, I recently came across a method of using Google Consumer Surveys that gave me pause, as I realized that this particular methodology might me giving us some invalid results.

 

Let me back up a step and say that once demographics are selected, Google will strategically place survey questions on partner sites that cater to the demographic you’re interested in. It will display one question from your survey for the user to respond to. When placed appropriately, it may draw attention and encourage a response.
However, when used as a gatekeeper, as I call it, the results might be different. I was browsing the online publications last week, as there is news regarding a local high school that I have been following. I came across a local online publication that had a recent article. Interested, I clicked on the link to read it. This is what I saw:

 

Google Survey Articles

 

 

Looks like I can read the article, but only if I answer the question at hand or login as a member. If I’m a member, I guess this is no problem – I login and move on to read the rest. But I’m not a member, and don’t want to register, so I’m left with the option to answer the question or find another article.

 

In this case, it’s a question that could be relevant to me, and I might be inclined to answer if I really wanted to read the article. But, what if I was in a hurry, or for whatever reason wanted to get to the article. I could just click on any response and move on. Quick for me, but not very useful for the company who is running the survey.

 

This is one way in which I do not think placement is very effective and may be giving companies false data, or at least not the most accurate data possible. It’s important to make sure that responses are voluntary, and not used as a gatekeeper of sorts to get where the user ultimately wants to be.

 

Like I said, Google Consumer Surveys can be a great tool to capture broad consumer data; being careful with placement makes a difference, and it’s something to keep in mind when using this product and looking at the data coming in.