Build a Customer Listening Path

customer listening path graphic

In Competency Three (Customer Listening Path), you follow the customer journey stages to create a unified listening path that consolidates aided and unaided listening.

1. Build a blend of quantitative and qualitative information to tell the story of customers’ lives.

Collect feedback from multiple sources. Don’t rely on survey data alone. Unite ‘aided’ feedback; when a customer is invited or prompted to give feedback or respond to a survey, with ‘unaided’ feedback which customers volunteer daily. Assemble survey results in concert with multiple sources of customer insight to provide customer understanding. Survey data should serve to validate numerically what you are already aware of through real-time feedback received.

When aided and unaided feedback point to the same issues/opportunities, we see company debate halt on survey scores. That is because multiple sources pointing to the same thing. There is power in convergence.

2. Build one-company categorization of issues for unaided feedback, so that they roll-up to volumes that command attention.

Many companies capture this powerful information, but it is in separate buckets throughout the operation. The Call Center has one categorization they use and report. Marketing has their version, sales, their own. Social media is reported separately. Each comes as an independent report, and none of it is pieced together. One-company categorization of issues/reasons and capture is key to rolling up information in volume. Volume in unaided feedback is a strong tool in story telling because it will show real-time trends.

3. Make it human.

Practice “experiential listening” by bringing customers to life through videos, engaging personally in listening sessions, or having employees step through the tasks of customers (such as signing up for accounts, buying a product, filling a claim, etc.). The goal is to take customers off the spreadsheet and see a human behind the numbers.

4. Present information from multiple sources by stage of the experience, rather than by survey question.

This presentation is a is a game-changer, as explanations of issues and opportunities always begin by being grounded in where they exist in the customers’ experience with you.

By presenting multiple sources of customer feedback that frequently point to the same issues and opportunities, this path will also help you to reduce the debate about the efficacy of the survey collection tool, and curtail challenging debates that put off action and accountability.

Through stepping leaders and the organization experientially through the customer journey, improving customers’ lives motivates work. Story telling using multiple sources of information and visual and experiential learning drives actions to improve unreliable experiences and uncover innovation opportunity. As a result, customer growth and positive customer evaluations that come in the form of a survey score are earned.

Surveys are a necessary part of the story telling in a customer listening path. But don’t let surveys alone tell the story of your customer experience and be the driver and motivator of why people act. This is what prompts the debate on the score, the quest for the score and the diminishing language about customers’ lives.

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