10 Sep 2010

Integrating Customer Satisfaction Measurement and Referrals in Real Time

Case Studies

Service Experts LLC, a division of Lennox International, Inc., is one of North America’s largest HVAC repair and replacement companies.  The Company has over $600 million annual revenue from more than 110 co-branded Service Centers throughout the US and Canada.

Business Objective

Service Experts wanted to do two things:  1) get customer satisfaction feedback at lower costs with better accuracy, completeness, and timeliness, and 2) find ways to increase referrals from satisfied customers.

Initially, Service Experts’ management viewed these as two separate issues.  But, in collaboration with Digital Touchpoint the problem was redefined into one integrated and interdependent issue.

Previous Approach

Prior to implementing the Touchpoint Platform, Service Experts conducted random satisfaction survey calls to a subset of customers of the 110 service locations.  These calls were to gauge customer satisfaction (or lack of).  There were a number of deficiencies with this call program:

  • Less than 1.5% of customers were contacted.
  • Calls were brief and did not probe reasons for satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
  • Verbatim comments were rarely taken accurately, which caused confusion and misinterpretation.
  • Cost was over $250,000 annually for labor-intensive activity with many “no answers.”
  • There was no real-time reporting of call results; often six months after the survey was conducted so there was little management could do to rectify dissatisfied customers.

Research showed that 56% of all customers selected Service Experts based on a referral or word-of-mouth, yet there was no centralized referral program; each service location was responsible for using customers to generate referrals mainly through post cards.  The results were not unknown since referrals were not tracked, but generally felt to be unsatisfactory.

Digital Touchpoint Solution

When a Service Experts’ technician completes the work for a customer, the customer is given a personalized code embedded in the receipt along with an online satisfaction survey link that invites the customer to provide feedback.

But, we do not rely upon the customer to proactively go the web site for the survey.  We follow up with a tailored email to the customer inviting them to give feedback, and providing a link to the survey.  Each email is localized and branded according to whichever of the 110 Service Experts centers provided service to that customer.  When customers click the link, they are directed to a short survey about their recent Service Experts experience.

In order to be able to create this unique, localized, personalized email within the DT Platform, we set up a process to regularly receive customer information from the Company’s service record file.  This is done with encrypted transmissions to our fully secure data center environment.  The DT Platform also stores all email content, files, logic, and rules necessary to create the email and direct the path based on how the survey questions are answered.

Using an algorithm specific to Service Experts, a “Brand Advocacy Score” is computed for each customer that measures satisfaction levels.  Based on the score, the customer is routed in one of two directions:

  1. If score indicates dissatisfaction, the customer receives an automated “thank you for sharing” email.  In real-time, the customer’s response is routed to the service center’s designated manager for immediate customer follow up.  This adds a new level of responsiveness to dealing with dissatisfied customers.  (Research has shown clearly that a timely response to problems greatly increases the likelihood of resolution.)
  2. If the score indicates satisfaction, a thank-you screen is displayed that asks for referrals.  If the customer chooses not to give referrals, the process ends.  If the customer is willing to refer, these events occur:
    • The referral screen is displayed that includes an incentive for each referral;
    • The customer is asked for referral contact information and given an option of writing a personal note that will be sent with the person being referred (next step).
    • The person being referred receives an email explaining that the friend or family member made the referral, with the personal note, if one, from the friend or family member.  This email also includes special offers (that can vary by market) to incent the referred person to try the center’s services.
    • The referral email also contains a link to the Online Appointment Booking form.  This form is branded for the specific service center to localize and personalize the communication.
    • A “made-a-referral” indicator is added to the customer record in the DT Platform so that Service Experts knows who referred then new customer.
    • The customer’s survey response is routed, in real time, to the local service center management so they can review the positive results.


  • 260,000 emails sent
  • 61,000 surveys completed
  • 3,100 referrals
  • 7,000 dissatisfied customer identified

Besides saving $250,000 on telephone surveys, Service Experts believes the value of “saved” dissatisfied customers and referral is worth more than $3 million.

Also, Service Experts now has online access to real-time data about customer satisfaction by center so that actions can be taken to address problems, and as input to the service centers’ scorecard.