A couple months ago, I cartooned about customer survey fatigue and the barrage of satisfaction surveys for every minor brand interaction.
Marketers sometimes forget that the survey experience is as much a part of customer experience as the customer experience they’re designed to measure. Boring, long, or pestering surveys leave a brand impression too.
I recently bought a new car and was coached repeatedly by the sales rep about what surveys would be sent by the corporate office and how important a 5-star rating is to that dealership to keep low prices, blah, blah, blah. And yet, when some problems emerged (they misplaced the deposit check, they made an error in entering my home address so that statements were returned), it was frustratingly difficult to give that feedback and have those problems resolved.
If we truly want to hear the voice of the customer, I think organizations need to learn to listen when it’s most convenient for the customer, not when it’s most convenient for the organization.
When I helped launch the method brand to the UK market a few years ago, we tried an experiment of sharing the responsibility of taking customer calls across our 10-person office. The phone number printed on every product rang, not in a remote call center, but in our office. We took turns answering the calls.
At times, it was frustrating to have to shift gears from working on a forecast spreadsheet to suddenly talking with Nigel from Edinburgh about how our product failed to remove a stain on his granite counter tops. But, overall, it was magical. It reminded everyone in the office, from accounting, to product development, to marketing, who we ultimately worked for.
That experiment brought the voice of the customer into the room. It was sometimes inconvenient. But that inconvenience was ultimately a good thing. Because rather than being used to validate the status quo, it nudged us to be better. Real customer experience insights often come from unstructured feedback that doesn’t fit neatly in a customer satisfaction survey.
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years.
“The Customer Journey” March 2018
“Customer Journey Mapping” April 2016
“Point of Sale” April 2018