Technology roadmaps: the whole is greater than the parts
Customer excellence is embedded into our business culture here at Softcat.
To keep our levels of service high, we need to understand what we currently do well and, more importantly, where we can further improve.
To be able to do this, we run an annual customer experience survey. By listening to our customers’ perceptions of our people, products, services and ultimately our brand, we gain invaluable insights into their ever-changing business needs and how best we can support them on their journeys.
Our Customer Experience Survey launched this month, so now is the perfect time to share why we undertake this project each year and the benefits it brings our business, customers and people.
Customer surveys are a big undertaking for an organisation but when done correctly, they deliver huge returns.
This year, we reached out to over 8,000 customers across the UK and Ireland.
We invest a great deal of time into carefully designing and running the survey with the user experience at the forefront of our minds to help maximise the quality and quantity of responses we receive.
The focus then shifts to analysing the data, and how we can best implement the actionable insights gained from listening to our customers.
From our customers’ feedback, we’re able to gain a deeper understanding of what they value from us, as well as any concerns they might have; establish trust and build stronger working relationships at a more personal level; use negative feedback to identify problems and address them; boost staff motivation and reward success across the business.
Our annual survey also provides a snapshot of the current IT landscape and where the market is heading to ensure we’re offering the best and most relevant services.
And last but not least, we’re pleased to be donating £5 to one of our chosen charities for every response received.
Last year, we raised nearly £8,000 for the NHS and this year, customers can decide where our donation makes a difference, from a choice of five charity partners: MIND, Help for Heroes, The Brokerage, Refuge and Terrence Higgins Trust.
When it comes to surveys, the terms satisfaction and experience are often used interchangeably, but they’re quite different.
Customer satisfaction measures how happy a customer is at a single point in time and makes up just one piece of the puzzle. Customer Experience refers to the impression we leave on our customers, which builds up over multiple interactions and engagements over time.
To capture customer experience in its truest and clearest sense, we’ve evolved our survey approach to focus on their journey as a whole, providing us with a more holistic view.
This supports Softcat’s central pillar of putting people first and at the heart of everything we do. To deliver on this goal, we understand our customers need consumer-grade experiences, and while experience doesn’t rely solely on customer satisfaction, satisfaction does rely on a good experience.
Once our annual customer survey is completed, we have access to incredibly valuable data that can be used to benefit all stakeholders in our organisation, our customers and our strategic partners.
Our sales team get the first-hand feedback they need to improve the service they deliver and provide their customers with the necessary support to help their businesses further.
And our senior executive team often follows up with customers directly, engaging with them in a more personal way
In response to shifting the focus towards customer experience in the fullest sense, we’ve also recently created a dedicated Customer Experience team, putting the customer at the front and centre of everything we do.
As well as asking customers about their experiences working with Softcat, we’re also able to dig a little deeper to find out what they’re prioritising in the year ahead from a technology perspective and their most pressing challenges they need support in overcoming.
By anonymising the data set and analysing it by sector, geography and company size, we’re able to use these insights to develop and invest in solutions and service areas that will benefit our customers the most over the next 12 months.
Over the past few years, we’ve worked hard to present our top-level findings in the clearest and most useful way in an annual Business Technology Report. This is shared across Softcat to help inform our strategy as a business, directly with our customers and vendors, and externally with business and technology publications.