Transform your customer insights by avoiding these common errors
Technology and analytics have provided companies the means to understand their customers in ways they couldn’t have imagined even a few years ago. Almost every large organization invests heavily in customer measurement programs, yet many don’t achieve the customer insight they’re looking for.
It turns out that a handful of common missteps are responsible for the unsatisfactory results:
#1. Unclear Measurement Goals
What are the reasons for undertaking the measurement program? Is it a desire to improve your customer’s experience? Are you trying to gauge the success of a recently launched product or service, or understand how you stack up against a competitor?
Companies need to establish clear objectives for measurement programs and ensure there is alignment across the entire organization. Extensive planning and engagement with key stakeholders are critical, as is a clear strategy for the use of the data captured. What decisions will be driven by that data, and who is accountable to take action?
#2. Not Enough Time Spent Establishing Ownership
Building alignment within the organization is fundamental to the success of any measurement program. But it’s not enough to just inform stakeholders, collecting their input into the objectives of the program, how it will be structured, and how findings can positively impact their specific business metrics — these are all are critical to the success of the program. And all require a lot of work upfront to get it right.
The most important step is to establish a link between the findings of the measurement program and business issues those findings promise to address. Stakeholders need to know how the program findings may help improve or transform their business.
#3. Measuring Customer Loyalty or Satisfaction in a Vacuum
Customer surveys only provide a single data set in any customer measurement program. A single data source provides an incomplete picture, and sometimes a very misleading one.
To truly gain customer insight, you need to establish multiple listening posts across the entire organization. This means gathering information from your sales team, the call center, your service teams, and your complaint management system.
All of this information should be reviewed and packaged holistically. The different data sources may corroborate some findings and create different perspectives for others. This provides a much broader understanding of your customer’s experience.
#4 Thinking You Know What Customers Want
Preconceptions can ruin a customer measurement program. Often programs are built in isolation and structured based on what is perceived as important to stakeholders.
Good programs need to be constructed outside-in. Speak to customers before building a survey. These upfront discussions provide customers with the opportunity to tell you their full stories, and many times it’s the qualitative insight you gather that proves most valuable.
This feedback also helps you understand and adopt the language your customers use to discuss your business, which may not align with your internal company vocabulary. For example, if your survey poses questions about the effectiveness of your claims department, but your customer refers to it as your customer service department, your findings will almost certainly be skewed or incomplete.
My Challenge to You
Customer measurement programs can provide you with critical customer insight that helps improve your business metrics and shape your company strategy. For these programs to be effective, however, you need to establish clear goals, cultivate alignment and ownership across your organization, and most critically, ask for your customers’ input as you’re building the program.
Paula Courtney is Chief Executive Officer of The Verde Group and a lecturer at The Wharton School