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Are you listening to act – or are you just putting marbles in a bowl?
Probably the most important component of listening to the voice of the customer is acting on what you hear. In order to do that, we must first optimize how we are listening.
What do I mean by that?
When we ask customers for feedback, it’s imperative that we make the most of that conversation. I’m specifically referring to surveys, but I suppose this could apply to other listening posts. We must ask questions in a way that gets us the information we need in the clearest, most-detailed way possible. We can’t improve the experience if we don’t know what’s wrong. We can’t coach our employees if we don’t know what to coach them on, nor can we praise and recognize without knowing what or why.
I recently attended a conference where, after some of the presentations, attendees were asked to rate the speakers. In order to do so, we were told to use marbles; as we left the room, we could pick a colored marble that matched how we felt about the session: green for spot on, yellow for OK but missed the mark, and red for not so much. After one particular session, I saw that the bowl contained quite a few more yellow marbles than green ones.
This got me thinking, as these things often do.
How on earth does this tell the organizer how or why this particular speaker or presentation missed the mark?
Listening is great, but listening without understanding is pointless. Marbles might tell us sentiment, but they don’t tell us why. Using marbles might be a creative way to measure performance, but that’s all it is. It’s not insightful at all.
That brings up a few important points to remember when you’re designing a survey:
- Worry less about how it looks or how fun it is and more about what it will tell you
- Ask the right questions; ask for understanding
- Probe for details; don’t just focus on that “one number”
- Always offer a text box that allows respondents to provide feedback in an unstructured way
- Don’t focus on the metric; focus on the customer and how to better the experience
- Assign an owner to each question and hold that owner accountable for actions on that feedback
- Ask questions in a way that ensures the feedback will be actionable
Any initiative to improve the customer experience will be unsuccessful without understanding the customer and his needs. To do that, we must have the right data at our fingertips.
Want more tips on survey design? Take a look at this post: 22 Tips for Proper Survey Design.
Statistics were magic like this: they could tell you with near-certainty that a thing would occur, without a hint of when or where. -Hugh Howey, Shift