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Customer Experience, Insights

Measuring and improving customer experience in visa services

19/07/2021
Measuring and improving customer experience in visa services

Last year, we launched our Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) programme to monitor and continuously enhance customer experience (CX) for visa applicants. We have always been passionate about pursuing CX excellence, and EFM has delivered a real step change, providing us with valuable insights into the components of our service that affect customer satisfaction the most. We are acutely conscious of the importance of visa applications to each of our customers, so we use EFM’s evidence of customer sentiment to identify the most critical areas where we can still improve. Our objective is to use EFM as a change management tool to drive continuous improvement in our processes and in the service that we offer to our visa customers, both online and in person.

We launched our EFM programme with the support of TP Knowledge Services, Teleperformance Group’s in-house CX consultancy. It allows us to collect and analyse real-time data through short online surveys sent out to customers at specific stages in their application journey:

  • After booking an online appointment
  • When they purchase an additional service
  • Once they have visited our visa centre to carry out their biometric enrolment
  • After passport return, at the end of the application process

Our questionnaires are carefully calibrated, and no customer receives more than two invitations during the process to avoid ‘survey fatigue,’ which may impact participation rates, the quality of responses, and overall customer satisfaction.

Read our article: Enhancing customer care with Enterprise Feedback Management

The proprietary methodology developed by TP Knowledge Services then connects this customer feedback and verbatim to digital data points from multiple sources before passing them through our supervised natural language analytics engine. The result is a holistic dataset that is then mined to produce evidence-based action plans with an impact assessment for each.

Encouraging results

Since a successful pilot in South Africa in mid-2020, we have rolled out the programme in over 70 countries. The average response rate recorded is 12%, which is encouraging and compares well with other sectors. The same can be said for average applicant satisfaction. Eighty-three percent of customers give a satisfaction rating of 7 out of 10 or more at the end of the visa process, upon retrieving their passport. Meanwhile, fifty-six percent of customers give a satisfaction rating of 9 or 10. Finally, eighty-two percent of participants have provided meaningful verbatim responses to the open-ended questions included in the surveys, with an average length of around 20 words. This has enabled us to gather valuable customer insights on the visa process using our cognitive analytics engine.

Key customer priorities

The feedback that we have received through our EFM surveys has helped us identify three key priority areas for our customers:

Priority #1: Clear information and timelines

The main driver of customer satisfaction is discoverability and clarity of information. Customers want to understand quickly and easily what is required for their visa application and how long the process will take. Understandably, they expect to receive accurate information from our staff during their appointment, and in the documentation and signage that is put in place to guide them through the process. They are less concerned about the duration of their appointment than the actual processing time once their application has been submitted. Here, once again, the priority for customers is to receive the relevant information. Waiting for a decision to be made on their application does not necessarily impact customer satisfaction if the timeframe is broadly in line with the expectations set at the beginning of the process.  

Priority #2: A user-friendly website

Our websites are the first touchpoint for applicants and, as such, play a crucial role in driving a positive customer experience. Based on our EFM surveys, applicants do not necessarily expect a fast and easy online journey. Hence, making sure that a simple, intuitive, and straightforward online registration process is in place and putting the correct information at their fingertips can help set the tone for the rest of the visa process, ensuring a positive customer experience from the outset.

Priority #3: A pleasant in-centre experience

The third area highlighted by customers is the importance of their experience on the day of their visa appointment. Customer satisfaction is driven by certain factors such as comfort (air conditioning, seating availability, etc.) and convenience. For instance, is the centre easy to access? Staff courtesy is also vital, given the nature of the process and its significance for customers.

Change management with EFM

Our EFM programme allows us to ‘take the pulse’ of customers in many of our locations and understand what drives satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the visa process. However, the programme is not just about measuring customer perceptions. More importantly, we want to use these insights to drive meaningful change.

Thanks to the real-time monitoring that we carry out via the platform, we can reach out very quickly to individual applicants who might have raised a specific issue. Certain topics are identified in customer comments using AI text analytics, triggering an automatic email to customers and providing a first-level response. Our customer support staff can then follow up in more detail if necessary.

In parallel, the detailed analysis that we carry out on the data collected through EFM allows us to take an ‘aggregate view’, helping us identify areas for improvement across the board. The aim is to identify the root cause of any problem raised through EFM, which can then be addressed through appropriate action plans designed to drive process improvements. In this sense, EFM can be seen as a genuine change management programme, enabling us to collect real-time feedback to measure, manage, and transform the customer experience.

Article written by:
Simon Peachey, Chief Sales Officer, TLScontact
Giovanni Satta, Vice President, Enterprise Feedback Management, Teleperformance

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