Customer Feedback: Hear it from the horse's mouth - Feedback Ferret

Customer Feedback: Hear it straight from the horse’s mouth

As a CX professional, you are no doubt bombarded left, right and centre by blogs and white papers offering you CX advice and best practice. It’s frustrating for us to read these when the advice out there isn’t necessarily the right advice.

We believe that putting the customer at the heart of your CX strategy means getting them to tell you what’s important to them – hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth and not putting words into their mouths based on what the business thinks is important.

A recent blog post I read recommends short and sweet surveys. Yes, that makes sense and is sound advice.

“Give us a score, tell us why”. This is exactly what we would advocate.

However, when you ask the ‘why’, to suggest that you give your customers a tick box list of options based on what you think is important to your business rather than letting the customer tell you in their own words, makes no sense at all.

Here’s an example where the blog author suggested that, after asking for a score from an interaction, you use a list of prescribed answers to identify why the score was given:

  • Response time
  • Quality of service
  • Staff friendliness
  • Staff knowledge

It suggests that if enough people picked one of these, you have an actionable solution to a problem.

There are a couple of problems with this approach:

First and foremost, these are issues that you say are important to the business, not issues that the customer says is important to them. It’s focused on you, not your customer.

Secondly, let’s say that out of this list, a significant number of respondents gave ‘staff friendliness’ as the main reason for the score, what do you do with that information?

Thirdly, if you’ve given a prescribed list, what if the main reason for their score isn’t on that list?

You are forcing your customers to give an answer that may not matter to them at all.  You could then take this as an indication that you must put time, resource and money into training staff to be ‘more friendly’ when in fact, if you gave your customer the option to say what they wanted to, their main reason for the score may be completely different!

Yes, ask for a score and yes, ask why they gave that score. But hear it straight from the horse’s mouth – let them do the talking. Give them a space to write in their own words as much as they want about why they gave their score (you can be sure that there is normally more than one reason). Then use Text Analytics to identify issues and prioritise actions from their comments.

If you are investing time, money and resource into a customer feedback programme and then more time, money and resource taking action on that feedback, asking for open ended comments and using text analytics is the best way to ensure your actions will genuinely impact your customer’s satisfaction and loyalty.


by Sonia Sparkes, Sales Operations Manager