Today, the goal of most surveys is to drive insights, mostly through dashboards and reports. As a result, consumers can feel that the tacit agreement is broken between researcher and respondent. The agreement has always been that in exchange for their input, the respondent gets rewarded. Often that reward is that the respondent’s voice is heard, action is taken on their feedback, and they are informed about that action.
More often, they see their feedback disappear, and they get nothing in return, except perhaps the possibility of a better experience someday. They neither understand nor care that it’s difficult for a company to close the loop when people’s voices have been aggregated with thousands of others.
A survey we just ran showed that most executives see their organizations as customer-centric and feedback-driven. Closer to the front lines, people in the same organizations do not see the same thing. They collect the data, clean it, aggregate it, take the individual out of the mix, and simply report the numbers. Neither the researcher nor the respondent see direct action on the survey results or analysis.
It goes back to the old forest-but-not-the-trees analogy. You can see that your overall NPS score, for example, is climbing. But you can’t see that your most profitable customer is not happy. Nobody wants to be considered part of the forest; we all want to be seen individually. That’s just human nature.
There is a way to see both the forest and the tree
The fastest way to see both is to care about the aggregate and individual responses – the forest and the trees. Companies need to start caring about their individual customers. That means empowering people on the front lines to engage their customers by creating workflows and processes using IT-approved software to solve the business problems they face, ideally without IT development resources.
It empowers market researchers to drive systemic change within the enterprise. Researchers can work with the people who use their research, developing triggers and workflows that turn feedback into action.
Companies of all shapes and sizes around the world are developing workflows and processes that operationalize responses to feedback on an individual basis, making customers feel heard.
Listen and solve
For example, a customer complains that a product doesn’t meet their needs. The challenge could be that the customer just doesn’t know what the product already does. By empowering the support team, they can create a workflow that automatically triggers a support ticket. The support team contacts the customer, discovers the source of their problem, and explains how the product meets their needs. Problem solved, and the customer becomes an advocate.
Feedback can still feed dashboards and reports, but it also leads to immediate solutions that let customers know that the company cares. In this case, the company learns that their onboarding process is missing a key element; something aggregated data would not show.
The other advantage of empowering people to create workflows (with IT-approved software) is that it enables IT to apply governance guardrails to the application and data to ensure the enterprise is protected. And nothing makes IT smile more than running a safe enterprise with happy users.
Empowering people to solve on the front lines is the key to pulling feedback out of dashboards and bringing it to life throughout an organization. It’s the fastest way to integrate and operationalize feedback throughout an enterprise.
About the Author: David Roberts’s passion for helping companies create customer-centric cultures is what attracted him to SurveyGizmo. He’s been building great relationships between companies and customers since he was a founding member of Accenture’s Customer Relationship Management Practice. SurveyGizmo gives him the opportunity to revolutionize customer engagement by integrating the best feedback into companies to drive immediate and meaningful action. Prior to joining SurveyGizmo, David was a Partner at Accenture and most recently, the CEO of ReedGroup.