Nancy Vogt, FEI Account Manager

As an account manager, I work with my accounts to provide for their needs and make sure their employee assistance program and work-life benefits run smoothly. When a problem arises with one of these benefits, I find the cause and fix the problem.

When you perceive something as a problem and the other person doesn’t, however, you are not off to a good start to finding a solution. Compounded with the fact that 96 percent of dissatisfied people never even complain about a problem, and the situation quickly becomes more challenging.

Using surveys for quality assurance is essential to circumventing service issues. There could be a problem you’re unaware of affecting client satisfaction; surveying them and taking action in response to their feedback is a proactive step forward. Setting a goal for the average survey rating is a good idea as well (I suggest somewhere in the mid-to-high 90s).

It’s also worth asking for contact information in the survey from those who were dissatisfied. While not everyone will respond, follow up with those that do. Call them, talk to them and see what other kinds of feedback you can get. Let these individuals know how you solved the situation they were unhappy about or, if the problem is something more large-scale, how you are working on a solution. Go so far as to ask for their ideas on a solution too—it very well may be something quite simple.

Consider the following example: A company was receiving a large amount of negative feedback about a provider that was perceived as unresponsive and unprofessional. The company contacted the provider to see what they thought might be going on. As it turned out, the provider had actually conducted a survey. The response was that 50 percent of the feedback from the company’s users indicated “mostly good” performance, which the provider believed to be an acceptable rating.

This is where perception collides with reality. The company had a negative perception of the provider’s services, yet the provider didn’t necessarily see a problem. Perhaps the provider performed very well in other areas, but the perception that the provider as a whole was only “mostly good,” as opposed to “good” or “great,” could solidify as its real reputation and lead to the loss of future business.

Don’t allow perception to become reality. If your organization is aware of an issue in performance or sees other signs of client dissatisfaction, use the tools at your disposal to investigate the situation, address areas of concern and follow through on improvements.