The acronyms UX (user experience) and CX (customer experience) are widely thought to belong only to the digital realm. Not here at TLScontact. Here’s how we use data to continuously improve service at our Visa Application Centres worldwide.
The visa application journey is one that often happens both online and offline. Making the experience as pleasant and efficient as possible therefore requires taking care of both physical interactions and digital ones. We are increasingly familiar with the myriad of tools used by UX designers to design, measure and improve the digital journey. But what about the physical world? Where there is a will, there is a way. And for us, that way is a programme developed by TP Knowledge Services, one of our sister companies within the Teleperformance Group, to measure and improve customer experience worldwide.
Improving service: from hunch-based to fact-based
In the dark ages when data was not available, improvements to customer service used to come from two sources:
- Anecdotal evidence: the best example would be a client-facing employee escalating customer dissatisfaction (or satisfaction), and management taking action based on that feedback.
- Management ‘hunches’: an experienced manager, either a veteran from the company or a new recruit from a competitor or another industry would have ideas on how to deliver better service and try to implement changes based on these.
Of course, such hunches can sometimes deliver outstanding results. Sometimes. Unfortunately, they can also lead to sizeable drops in customer satisfaction, or worse: to improvements that go unnoticed because customers couldn’t care less about what is being “improved”.
Grounding decisions in statistical evidence is a much safer bet. Take a statistically significant sample of your customer base and ask them questions about their experience, and you will get real-world feedback that will help you identify pain points and prioritise solutions accordingly.
How to Get the Facts: The Power of Enterprise Feedback Management
At TLScontact, we use a uniquely customised version of the Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) programme developed by our sister company TP Knowledge Services. Tailored to the specific customer journey of our government clients, EFM allows us to evaluate the entire customer experience of visa applicants from their first visit to our websites to the moment they receive their visa.
EFM makes it possible to poll vast samples of customers using not only closed questions (yes/no, grades or multiple choice), but also open-ended questions. EFM’s AI natural language analytics engine is capable of sifting through thousands of comments collected during the survey to extract user sentiment. I should even say hundreds of thousands: since we started this programme, we have collected more than 400,000 completed forms, representing about 15% of the people who visited one of our visa application centres over the same period. In terms of response rate, this is significantly better than the industry average of 5–8%. We have also been very pleased to discover that our average reputation score is 40.2.
Predictability vs Speed: What Data Teaches Us
Of course, we have not concentrated only on positive feedback – although it feels good to know that the majority of visa applicants appreciate their visits to our centres and praise our staff’s helpfulness and friendliness. And it feels even better to know that, while most businesses target around 80% satisfied customers, we are significantly ahead of that proportion.
As I said, our primary objective has been to pinpoint areas where we could improve our service. As far as physical interactions are concerned, we have discovered for example that some customers in our Visa Application Centres (VACs) felt there was a lack of clarity around the different steps they have to follow once they enter our premises. We are now overhauling signage to help our customers find their way and identify all the steps they have to go through.
Contrary to what we previously thought, we have also learned that turnaround time – the time spent in our VACs – is not an issue for most customers. Remember what I said earlier about hunches? What customers are really interested in is whether the information provided is clear and whether they get the support they need, two areas where our staff’s performance is generally excellent. We now know that we will get better results by focusing on further improving that performance rather than investing in changes that we now know are not significantly impactful for our customers.
Data-Driven Continuous Improvement
In a world where performance matters more and more, using real-world data to understand what performance really means for our customers is key to delivering better service. It allows us to identify areas for improvement that really matter for our visa applicants and to define and prioritise actions. Thanks to EFM, TLScontact is in a unique position to be at the helm of the visa industry in delivering outstanding customer experience.
Article written by Andy Escott-Carrington,