Author and businessman Harvey Mackay once said: “You learn when you listen. You earn when you listen – not just money, but respect.”

Those words could not be truer when it comes to customer experience and to your business.

Listening (to customers) is one of the most powerful tools in your toolbox. As Harvey says, you learn when you listen. You learn about the customer, about her expectations, about how well you’re performing against her expectations, about how your products and services help her solve her problems, and more.

The respect part of Harvey’s quote comes from doing something with what you learn. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of businesses fall down. Don’t be one of those businesses! Let me help you take what you hear and what you learn from customers and do something with it. Afterall, insights without action are just expensive trivia!

The work to take action on feedback actually begins long before you even launch your survey. As you’re designing the survey, in order to ensure that you can take action on the feedback you get from customers, you need to consider the following for each question you ask.

  • What will we do if this question is rated low (or high)?
  • How will we act on it?
  • Who owns this question?
  • Who else needs this information?
  • Who will act on it?
  • How quickly can we make changes?
  • Is this something we can actually change?
  • Why are we asking this?

Asking for feedback about something you can’t change – or in such a way that you’re not sure what you need to change – is pointless. You’re wasting your customers’ time and your company’s time (and money). If you can’t succinctly answer these questions about everything you’re asking on the survey, then reconsider what you’re asking. Apply this test every time you design a survey.

Once you’ve thought about – and clearly answered – these questions, it’s time to think about question design. You can’t take action on bad data. So, how are you going to ask your survey questions to ensure that you get good data and can effect real change for the customer experience from what you get? In order to take action, you’ve got to have actionable feedback.

What makes feedback actionable? It needs to be:

  • Clear and unambiguous
  • Specific (explains or helps you understand “the why”)
  • Relevant (to the person/department who has to use it)
  • Contextualized (provide insights, not just data)
  • Linked to customer outcomes, customer value
  • Linked to business outcomes, business value

For further guidelines on how to ask actionable questions; how to close the loop; and how to transform, consume, and operationalize the feedback, please read the rest of the article here (on GetFeedback’s site).

Action is the foundational key to all success. -Pablo Picasso

Annette Franz is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, speaker, and author. She recently published her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business); it’s available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. Sign up for our newsletter for updates, insights, and other great content that you can use to up your CX game.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.