by David Ham | March 28, 2019
Siloed customer data inevitably leads to service delivery issues, but it also causes customer experience measurement integrity issues. Poor survey scores from customers due to data integration issues can unfairly affect service providers by wrongly being interpreted as issues related to employee performance.
Playing floor hockey is supposed to be a stress relief for me. But driving home after a recent game brought its own stress as the dreaded “check engine” light illuminated on my car. Certain lights on a car dashboard, like the low tire pressure or oil change light, have known causes. The check engine light is just a mystery though. The only source of relief was the knowledge that I might get some value out of the service contract I had bought with my certified pre-owned vehicle.
I left the car at my dealer’s service department late the next afternoon, committing to a “diagnostic fee” to solve the mystery of the check engine light, and expecting that I would get a call at some point the following morning. When that call came, the service advisor told me they had found the problem. It was a flow control sensor for the cooling system, something they could fix the same day. The mechanic had also found some other “needed” and “recommended” repair and maintenance items. If I had all the service performed, the bill would be over $1,000. So much for the stress relief from floor hockey.
After we talked through the various items, I asked the service advisor how much of this would be covered by my service contract. The service advisor explained that the original owner had purchased a service plan, but it had expired. I responded that I was holding my service contract in my hand, with an expiration date of 2022. He asked where I had bought the plan, and I told him it was purchased at his dealership when I took delivery of the car. There was a long pause followed by him saying he would call the manufacturer and get back to me.
About 15 minutes later the service advisor called me again. The manufacturer had confirmed my service contract purchase and that several of the repairs and maintenance items were covered, including the flow control sensor which was the most expensive fix. We talked through which ones were higher priority and agreed to have all but one of the maintenance items done that day. At that point, I knew the service contract would cover about 80% of the cost of the agreed upon services. The service advisor described it as good news, but I was frustrated that it took the extra effort to confirm.
When the car repairs were finished, I returned to the dealership. The service advisor thanked me for my business and informed me that I might get invited to take a survey and, if so, it would be important for me to complete it and give him “all fives” because he gets evaluated based on the survey.
If I were able to take the survey, would I find it to be designed so I can differentiate between the good performance by the service advisor and the frustrating experience due to siloed data?
This experience got me thinking about two problems: one from a customer and one from a survey practitioner standpoint. As a customer, the data silo made this process much harder than it needed to be. I had purchased a service contract from the dealership where I was having service, yet it didn’t appear in the system the service advisor was using. The information he had was out of date. When I confronted him about it, he did the right thing by investigating further and resolving my concern. But why would a large dealership for the world’s largest automotive company have such antiquated systems with data silos? How often do consumers have similar types of experiences when calling contact centers about problems with an ecommerce purchase or benefits from a government agency?
From a survey standpoint, I was (and still am) hoping to get invited to take the survey. I am curious about the types of questions they ask to evaluate the service experience. The service advisor was courteous and professional, patiently and clearly answering my questions about the various recommended services and, importantly, performing due diligence when I challenged him about the service contract.
This was, however, far from a perfect service experience. In that alternate reality, the service advisor would access a system that would inform him of my service contract and which of the items it would cover. When he makes that first phone call, he could then tell me everything the mechanic identified as needed and recommended, how much those items would cost without the service contract, and how much money the service contract would save me.
But if I were able to take the survey, would I find it to be designed so I can differentiate between the good performance by the service advisor and the frustrating experience due to siloed data?
CFI Group conducts qualitative and quantitative customer satisfaction programs for companies through our expert consultants and our patented customization of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Contact us for more information on how we can help you avoid the data silo effect when measuring across the entire customer service journey experience.