Using customer reviews for excellent employee engagement with CITIG

Engaged employees talk among themselves in the office
  • Company culture among the best in their field
  • Net CSAT Score of 97
  • “SmileBack keeps us in tune with the relationships that need attention.”

‘So what is it you do?’ It’s a question we ask and answer so often that it’s become a staple of small talk. We might answer with the title of our position, a quick company overview, or the tasks we perform.

Not Ryan Newell, CEO of IT consulting firm CITIG.

“My job is to create an environment where our team can thrive and deliver the very best customer experience,” says Ryan. It’s a very deliberate choice to lead with employee and customer happiness, too.

“Hands down, the one thing we do better than our competition is customer experience. It doesn’t matter that we’ve steered them towards reliable technology, solved their problems quickly and kept their data safe, unless we have also taken away their anxiety, stress and frustration surrounding IT and made it an enjoyable experience,” says Ryan.

Where did this focus on enjoyable experiences begin? And how have customer reviews helped create excellent employee engagement?

A focus on being different

From the pictures of the office alone, it’s clear CITIG is a little different to most, in their setup and strategy.

“We are purposefully atypical in the MSP industry and focus less on recurring monthly revenue from Managed Services and more on customer experience and customer need.  Our clients span all verticals and range from government to commercial to nonprofit to white glove residential.”

Powering this atypical aim is a group of truly passionate engaged employees, all focused on delivering the best experience over and over.

“We are a tight knit group of 10 people who love technology, love our clients, and love supporting their technology needs,” says Ryan.

“But an aim and passion alone is not enough – you need to keep the workplace culture fun, exciting and innovative.”

In terms of customer feedback – and how it is used – CITIG certainly achieve that. One fun use of their customer reviews is the traffic light system. A green smiley submitted through SmileBack makes the green light glow, an average review sets off the amber light, and a bad review triggers the red one.

And with their customer reviews sent automatically to Slack too, the team are always aware how customers feel.

“Through the integration with our stoplights and Hey Taco on Slack, SmileBack lets us give immediate positive feedback to our techs,” says Ryan.

“It makes going the extra mile for a client that much more fun when you get publicly praised in Slack, or when the green light shines. It’s all about positive reinforcement.”

The power of negativity

Being positive and fun is certainly key. But there is a lot of power in criticism too, and customer reviews through SmileBack help shine a light on what parts of the customer experience need a little work.

“Although it feels great to be loved, we also want to know when we’re not loved,” says Ryan. 

“No one is perfect. There are misunderstandings, mistakes, and bad days. We want to know immediately when a client is even slightly frustrated or slightly unhappy. 

“That gives us the opportunity to understand the situation and to fix it – to move past it and to improve. Before SmileBack, reviews took a lot of energy. Someone had to be really happy or really upset for us to know about it, but SmileBack now helps us keep more in tune with the relationships that need attention.”

And this keeping in tune must be working. Since joining SmileBack in late 2017, CITIG have amassed over 450 reviews, with far more insight into customer feelings than through ConnectWise surveys used before.

Thanks to the BrightGauge and SmileBack integration, every technician has CSAT goals.

“The aim for each technician is a Net CSAT Score of 97 and above,” says Ryan.

“With BrightGauge, the color of the Net CSAT Score number changes based on whether the target has been hit or not, giving an easy way to track targets.

“That being said, we try to balance our emphasis on CSAT KPIs as to not dissuade feedback or view neutral/negative feedback as purely a bad thing. Getting the feedback is part of the system of creating a happy client.”

Keeping employees engaged through the good and the bad

Keeping customers happy is one thing, but keeping employees happy is another. Yet both are connected – something Ryan certainly understands.

“The first step to creating a happy workplace is in the hiring of employees who, in the first place, like people, like technology, and like helping people with that technology,” says Ryan.

“If someone starts out loving what they do it’s easier to keep them that way. Beyond that, it’s all about transparency and appreciation. Our team knows what is expected and why it is expected, from top down company goals of creating a terrific technology experience to their own personal development.”

Trust, transparency and openness go far beyond the realm of customer reviews. They are values every business needs to thrive.

“We’ve gone to great lengths to put data behind how well everyone is doing their job and what is required to get that next raise, or next promotion. This requires frequent honest bi-directional communication and feedback – listening more,” says Ryan.

“And it also means letting go and granting freedom for people to thrive in their field. If you’re doing your job well, we don’t care if that means you’re at your desk or by a pool with your laptop.”

Want to kickstart your employee engagement?

The CSAT Files: Partner-Proven Ways to Get More Responses than Ever

Once you’ve pasted the customer satisfaction survey survey snippet into your closed ticket status notification, you might think, “My work here is done! Now the client ratings and comments are going to start rolling in.”

Sure, you’ll get responses to your customer satisfaction survey. But the whole point of implementing CSAT is to get more feedback from your clients than you dreamed possible. And to achieve that, there are a few more steps to take.
Continue reading “The CSAT Files: Partner-Proven Ways to Get More Responses than Ever”

What Is a Customer Experience Strategy and Why Is It Important?

Having a solid customer experience strategy is more than a marketing gimmick or boardroom buzzword among high-performing companies today. When asked about the single most exciting opportunity for their organization in 2018, the top of the list was almost unilaterally optimizing customer experience.

Such findings may not surprise many marketing and customer service experts. A 2013 report from Walker Information predicted that customer experience would overtake price and product as an organization’s key brand differentiator by the year 2020.

Continue reading “What Is a Customer Experience Strategy and Why Is It Important?”

Five Simple Steps to Deal with Negative Customer Comments

“You want to be extra rigorous about making the best possible thing you can. Find anything that’s wrong with it and fix it. Seek negative feedback.” – Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors.

One of the biggest misconceptions companies have about customer service is that negative comments should be ignored or deleted. The reality is, this can often make the situation a lot worse.

When ignored, negative comments can damage your reputation by spreading quickly through word-of-mouth (or word-of-mouse). Business is about people, and more people share bad experiences than good ones. The solution is to leverage negative feedback to reveal consumer pain points, identify opportunities for improvement, and even increase brand loyalty by acting on your new insights.

Using information from negative comments to your advantage, you can quickly address customer complaints and increase your brand loyalty.

How to Deal with Negative Customer Comments

1. Act quickly on negative feedback

Contact customers who have left negative comments as quickly after the interaction as possible. If the comment is online, respond with a short message and tell them you’d like to follow up with a call. This lets them—and others reading the comments—know you care about your customer satisfaction.

2. Listen with respect and interest

Be polite and gracious, no matter how angry they become. Convey a sense of appreciation for their business, and don’t worry about being right. People appreciate being respected, listened to, and taken seriously.

3. Acknowledge their point of view

Negative feedback is often justified. But even when customers are wrong, they have a reason. In their eyes, they cared about your business and had an expectation you weren’t able to meet.

Be flexible, put your value system in your pocket, and be aware of your own prejudices. Only then will you be able to understand where your customers are coming from.

4. Aim to convince, not explain

If you are right and the customer is wrong, acknowledge their feelings before presenting them with your side. This will help them express the authentic emotion that was behind the negative feedback. When your goal is to convince them to give your business another try, rather than explaining why they were wrong, they might even offer to delete the negative comment and replace it with a positive one instead.

5. Never make assumptions

Next time you’re faced with a negative comment, try applying the Hanlon’s razor mental model, heavily used by the greatest leaders of our times: don’t assume bad intentions over neglect and misunderstanding.

As Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charles Munger believes, misunderstandings create more confusion in this world than trickery and malice. Often, the best way to react to unhappy customers is by seeking to educate them, not ignoring or blaming them.

By assuming that your customer simply needs more information, you will have a much better opportunity to resolve the issue at hand and change the way they feel about your business.

Face negative comments head-on with the data you need to understand what your customers value most.

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CSAT: The Secret Weapon to Providing Incredible Customer Service

For every customer complaint, there are 26 unhappy customers ready to jump ship in silence. While this is already bad news for businesses with poor customer service, it gets a lot worse. 56% of customers who have a negative experience won’t return, while 34% will post their negative feedback online through reviews and social media.

Continue reading “CSAT: The Secret Weapon to Providing Incredible Customer Service”