How many smiley faces do you need to be happy?

How many smiley faces do you need to be happy?

Dave Griffin, our shopper and retail specialist, recently blogged about customer service measurement (click here to read that). He cited a study based on just four ‘mystery shops’ which is clearly too few to come to any substantial conclusions about your customers’ in-store service or experience.

But can you go the other way? Can you have too many customer data points?

Consider this – I was recently travelling overseas and during a lay over at Singapore’s Changi airport needed to use the bathroom. But that’s not the unusual bit (at least I hope it isn’t!). What I found intriguing was the interactive screens posted in the bathroom so that as you exit, you can rate the overall service of your bathroom experience. The task used a series of smiley faces – you simply tap on the one that reflects your overall service experience and if things aren’t to your satisfaction, you have an opportunity to report why (e.g. no toilet paper). It even has a picture of the cleaner on duty so you know whose performance you are rating.

Now there are over 42 million passengers that travel through Changi airport every year. If you assume at least 90% of them need to use the bathroom at some point during their visit, then you still have at least 37.8 million passengers who could rate the service. Even if only 10% of those take the time to submit their rating, you are left with nearly 4 million data points to measure the customer experience. That’s extraordinary!

I’ve since learned that this is called the SWIFT initiative – Service Workforce Instant Feedback Transformation – which is a program allowing Changi Airport management to quickly identify issues at various customer touch points (e.g the bathrooms but also at customer service desks and other places around the airport) and to rectify any problems immediately. In this instance, it is used as an instant feedback system rather than a long term strategic insight into customer service levels. That said, it has been used to examine trends in customer service experiences.

Unfortunately, for Changi Airport management, they also had my 10 year old daughter rating her experience several times because she liked the smiley faces on the interactive screen. She was convinced that the more times she rated the service (even though she only used the bathroom once) that the cleaner would get a bonus or a pay rise for good work! So clearly this would be misleading. Then again, when you’re talking about 4 million customer data points, what’s a few extra ratings from an excited 10 year old?


photo credit:gregw via photopin cc

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