Customer experience measurement
No, no, no, no, no! - Please don’t do it this way!
I recently experienced a perfect example of what NOT to do,
when you want to get honest and actionable feedback from your customers.
On a busy Saturday afternoon, on the way out of my favourite branch of one of our
popular nation-wide supermarket chains, there was an unmissable sign displaying the following
message to customers:
“Give Us Your Feedback
Tell us what you like about our store
Rate us a 5
and go in the draw to win a $200 value gift basket”
After a millisecond of professional delight that I'd found a store
that appeared to be actively seeking feedback from its customers, I was overcome by astonishment and disbelief that they could be
so brazen as to actively solicit compliments for cash. As if
ďÖTell us what you like
about our storeÖĒ wasnít enough - they then tell you the score they want you to
Why this is such a bad idea
I have no idea what they were thinking, but I can think of at least
three big reasons why this was a really, really, really bad idea:
- Firstly, for its customers, the store sends a clear message that itís not really interested in learning anything from them about what they could do to serve them better.
- Secondly, for the store, if anything, itís likely to attract an overwhelmingly positive bias in feedback, from which they well learn nothing.
- Thirdly, for the market as a whole, the store is damaging the trust of
all customers by reinforcing a growing public suspicion in the honesty and value of customer satisfaction surveys.
For the good of your business, the good of your customers, and the good of all the great businesses that are working
hard to learn from their customers, please donít do it this way.
So what can we learn from this?
We, and the store, and customers all over the world, need to be
- Customer feedback is not a popularity contest. It’s not about chasing high scores or arbitrary indices.
- Customer feedback is about learning from customers what you do well, AND what you could do to IMPROVE. It’s about getting nuggets of golden insight that can help you improve your business and make your organisation, its staff and
its customer more successful.
- It needs a clear measurement objective, a robust measurement methodology, and an enterprise-wide mandate to use customer feedback to set priorities, reduce risk, drive business improvement and increase the value you provide your customers.
Let customers know why you are looking for their feedback and encourage them to tell you what you could do to serve them better. Then take
deliberate actions to make those changes happen, and monitor the
If you can’t turn the honest, unbiased, voice-of-the-customer into positive actions for your business, your staff and your customers - it’s better simply not to ask.
If this topic is close to your heart too, please
click here to request a copy of a CTMA Practice Guide describing the
“Five step path to measurement and Voice-of-the-Customer maturity”
and put your customer experience measurement and VoC programme to the
And, if you recognise this sign as being from the supermarket in
which you work, please get in touch for some actionable feedback.
© CTMA New Zealand Ltd.
For more information about the CTMA approach to
turning the voice-of-the-customer into management actions, join our
reading room, or if we can help you more directly -
get in touch, and we can schedule an introductory
CTMA New Zealand Ltd.
About the author: Paul Linnell
Paul Linnell is a customer experience and service quality
improvement champion, working internationally with senior managers
and their teams to help them achieve business success, reduce risk
and build customer loyalty and advocacy by taking actions to improve
customer experiences. Paul specialises in the design and deployment
of customer experience measurement, service quality improvement,
complaints handling and preventive analysis programmes. Industries
he has worked with include, Automotive, Consumer electronics,
Consumer goods, Electricity & Gas retail, Financial services,
Information technology, Local Government and Public Sector, Media /
Publishing, Passenger travel (Rail, Air and Sea), Pharmaceuticals
and Telecommunication. Paul has worked with clients and presented on
these subject at conferences and corporate events in the UK, Europe,
North America, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.
Originally from the UK and now based in New Zealand, he continues to
serve clients globally.