Amateurs Talk Strategy, Professionals Talk Logistics
That's an old military quote that sometimes gets pulled out at business leadership conferences. Strategy is the easy part. The hard part, the stuff the pros worry about, is the nuts and bolts of getting everything lined up and in the right place at the right time so the strategy can work.
It's an important message for customer feedback programs, too.
Developing a survey strategy is easy, and a lot of people have a lot of opinions on how to do it (some better than others).
But actually building an effective feedback program requires a lot of attention to detail. You need to:
- Determine who to ask to participate in the survey
- Decide what questions to ask
- Determine the right time and channel to invite the customer to take the survey
- Offer the survey to the customer in a way that makes the customer want to help
- Route the survey responses to service recovery teams in real-time when appropriate
- Coach front-line employees based on their individual survey responses
- Deliver data to business users throughout the organization in a way that's timely and tailored to their individual needs
- Monitor the survey process for signs of manipulation or gaps in the process
- Adjust all aspects of the process on an ongoing basis as business needs change
- Focus the entire organization on using customer feedback as an important tool to support both operational and strategic decision making
(As an aside: one thing not on this list is "Track your metrics and set goals," because tracking metrics is both easy and low-value. Everyone does it, but many organizations stop at that point in the mistaken belief that improved customer experience will magically follow.)
So just as military pros understand that wars are won and lost in the unglamorous details of moving people and supplies to the right place at the right time, survey pros understand that the effectiveness of a feedback program is built on the nitty-gritty of collecting and delivering the right data to the right people at the right time to help them do a better job.
What the amateurs don't recognize is that you can't just move an army on a whim, or improve customer experience by throwing some survey metrics at it.