What Isn’t Working?

by Jay Deragon on 07/01/2008

In the old world companies would run customer surveys to find out temperaments, preferences and what’s needed to improve. Many times these surveys were default in their design and the methods of analysis. Sometimes misleading the data really didn’t tell the whole story.

The same applied to employee surveys. Designed to measure job satisfaction these surveys polled employees about work environments, management styles, pay rates and employees we’re expected to provide the feedbacks. Flawed was the premise that employees would feel “free” to answer these surveys honestly but environments not conducive to “open communications” often produced flawed information that really didn’t tell the whole story.

Are Surveys Out and Stories In?

Search any major brand and you’ll find stories about the brands performance, good, bad and ugly. These stories are from customer and from employees. We watch numerous companies and as an example there isn’t a day that goes by without stories about Comcast proliferating throughout the social web.

These stories get copied, distributed and shared throughout the social web. Stories actually written by people provide much more insight than any traditional survey could produce. Just analyze the stories and you’ll find your answers to whatever sentiment you want to measure.

If Something Isn’t Working Shouldn’t You Fix It?

Seth Godin writes a story about his experience with verizon. Seth says: Rants online can be good for the soul, but it’s way more interesting as a marketer to learn from what’s not working.

Most often, a frustrating situation is frustrating not because the tactics were broken, but because the strategy is fundamentally flawed. In this case, Verizon is acting like a monopoly (they’re not, at least not any more) and they are viewing customer interactions as an expense, not an investment.

If you view calls from paying customers as expensive, then your goal will be to cut the cost of these interactions. That means fewer hours, more voice recognition and more wasted time by your customers. Once you’ve gone down that road, everything else seems like a soft-hearted, expensive compromise.

So, I start by flipping this on its head. Verizon spends a fortune on advertising and outbound marketing. How much of that budget would they have to allocate/invest in order to turn their customer service into a discussion-worthy best in the world? Or at least enough to keep people from switching in disgust? Not much, it turns out.

Businesses leaders ought to take heed and listen to the voice of the people. Don’t believe so read this. Do you really want to know what your customers, your employees, your market needs, thinks and wants? If yes start reading the stories and if you want to make things better respond.

If no then don’t be surprised when your share price starts to go down.

Get it?

{ 1 comment }

George Bigger July 1, 2008 at 12:13 pm

So “good questions prevent bad experiences” – Ahh-Ha!
– and the difference between a good experience and a bad one may be what specific questions you ask – in order to learn from it.

That’s the second time today I’ve had one of “those moments”…http://unettednations.wordpress.com/2008/07/01/inuit-or-i-knew-it/

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