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How to Measure and Improve Brand Perception with Unsolicited Customer Feedback

Perception is everything. Regardless of whether or not a healthcare company is directly responsible for customer delight or dissatisfaction, healthcare consumers are often attributing their experience directly to your brand. And, unless consumers agree to a survey or submit feedback through your solicited channels, leaders are often left wondering what customers are really thinking. 

We know that customer perceptions are being proactively shared in very organic ways each and every day. Customers give direct feedback or immense clues about their perceptions in the conversations they have with your contact centers. We find this fact often shocks our clients the first time they see and hear customers sharing their brand perceptions in our scalable listening platform.  

Some of the most common myths about the conversations happening every day in healthcare contact centers: 

  • Contact centers facilitate transactional conversations and there is nothing of real substance that could provide insight about negative or positive brand perceptions 
  • If customers are calling an administrative contact center, they are not speaking about their broader healthcare experience with your organization (i.e. clinical care experience) 
  • Customers have to be asked for feedback for it to be valid or legitimate 
  • Customers don’t talk about their social, emotional, or physical health needs to contact center representatives 

Leaders can start gaining immediate value by developing an ongoing corporate listening program. The most effective way to do this is to intentionally mine for unsolicited feedback and brand perceptions provided by customers in the recorded contact center conversations.  It is helpful to define brand values and brand detractors in advance of the listening exercise, so you know what to listen for.  

Brand values include customer expressions of satisfaction, delight, or any positive feedback about their perceived experience with your product, people, or technology.  In healthcare, the most common brand values include: 

  • Appreciation of customer service 
  • Expressions of “ease” of doing business; and 
  • Testimonials of success with the treatment, care, or product they have received 

Brand detractors are the counterpoint to brand values.  Customers may signal a brand detractor by expressing frustration, confusion, exasperation, or helplessness.  Our health clients most often hear brand detractors in the following categories: 

  • Perceptions of poor service 
  • Frustration or confusion with self-service portals 
  • Exasperation with claims, insurance, billing, or payment processes 

Even if your organization isn’t directly responsible for the root cause of customer perception, it is important to understand why they attribute a value or detractor to your brand.  Oftentimes, leaders use brand perception insights gleaned from listening to customer interactions to collaborate with other functional areas or stakeholders in the customer journey who share responsibility for customer perceptions.   

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