Ben Wesson (@benwesson) is Head of Customer Enquiries and Complaints at the Nursing and Midwifery Council. In this guest article, he outlines Nockolds Resolution’s support in using customer feedback to facilitate complaint resolution.
At the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), we often ask the nurses, midwives and nursing associates on our register to reflect on their practice – the care they give to patients and the public.
Recently we have been reflecting on our own practice, particularly in terms of how we better elicit feedback from those we are here to serve.
When we began to think about defining our customer feedback strategy, we felt a little overwhelmed by the number of possibilities. There are so many places and channels to gain insight. We were left thinking – where do we begin?
We engaged Nockolds to support us in defining our new approach to customer feedback. Selected because of their vast experience in dispute resolution as well as their training and consultancy services, the organisation provided us with bespoke and actionable guidance which helped direct our team as they developed more effective feedback processes.
In collaboration with Nockolds, we co-produced 10 guiding principles to underpin our work, which are not only bold, but have the potential to make a real difference:
- Believe that customers possess good ideas – start from the position that your customers’ insight is valuable and important. It is easy to dismiss comments on social media or gained via customer feedback surveys as a ‘gripes, grumbles or grievances’. However, organisations that do this are really missing a trick. Within each comment, you can find gems which might just enable you create enhanced and more efficient services over time.
- Gather customer feedback at every opportunity – organisations sometimes wait right until the very end of a process or transaction with a customer to ask for feedback. If a customer raises a concern, it’s often too late to put things right. For that reason, we now seek feedback on some our services at much earlier stages through ‘pulse surveys’ and we’re working with teams across the NMC to develop similar approaches.
- Focus on continuous improvement – making changes in response to customer feedback costs money. If possible, investing in Continuous Improvement Teams to work hand in hand with the organisation can be hugely beneficial. But depending on the size and scale of the organisation, this may not be possible. So, consider other ways you can implement changes (it might be as simple as setting aside some dedicated time to change a particular process!)
- Actively solicit good and bad feedback – understanding what customers find helpful is as important as knowing what annoys them. If you identify an example of best practice in one business area, you might wish to recommend it to another one to further enhance the customer experience.
- Don’t spend vast amounts of money doing it – obtaining feedback doesn’t have to cost shed loads of additional cash! It’s possible set up surveys with minimal costs and to build additional steps into existing processes or to establish polls on social media to sensitise opinions on a particular matter. Or could a colleague arrange a telephone call-back to speak to a customer about an issue?
- Seek real-time feedback – this enables you to put things right at the earliest opportunity.
- Making it easy for customers to provide feedback – remember a broad approach enables as many people as possible to provide feedback… what you do should be easy for the customer and not necessarily you!
- Leverage technology to aid your efforts – there are opportunities to harness technology to obtain feedback at suitable opportunities. These include mobile SMS surveys, email surveys, web feedback portals, social media polls/responses and web chats.
- Share customer feedback throughout the organisation – responsibility for obtaining and acting on customer feedback doesn’t sit with one department. Everyone within an organisation should be clear on what customers are thinking and take this into consideration when decisions are taken with interests of customers.
- Use feedback to make changes quickly – it’s often easier reach for the low fruit. Think about what changes you can make that will have the greatest impact. But don’t lose sight of the next fruit picking season. What do you need to do ensure you have achieve the best possible harvest?
For more information on Nockolds Resolution and to find out how we can help you, please contact 0345 646 0406 or fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our Team will be in touch.
Nockolds Resolution is part of Nockolds Solicitors – an alternative dispute resolution approved body and the only law firm assessed and certified by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute under the ADR Regulations 2015.