August 28, 2012 | The XM Blog

Feedback vs. Measurement


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Sometimes there is a misconception that if you’re asking customers to provide feedback through an opt-in mechanism, you are “measuring” the customer experience. There is actually a critical difference between feedback and measurement. Do you know what it is? Do you know why it matters?

When we talk about feedback vs. measurement it really boils down to being reactive vs. proactive.

We can start by looking at feedback. It is necessary and important and can do some good because it gives you something to react to (broken links, missing items, missing pages, etc.) – things you can, and should, act on. However, feedback is purely reactive because it’s easier to react to complaints than it is to proactively identify and measure potential problems.

Feedback isn’t inherently bad – any voice of customer information is good and can be helpful – but it does tend to be anecdotal and biased.

Our data consistently shows, time and time again, that people are more likely to speak up when they have a bad experience, less likely when they have a great experience, and hardly ever when they’re somewhere in the middle. Take a look at the graph below.

What does this mean? It’s both simple and scary. There’s this silent majority that usually makes up the biggest part of your business and drives, in large part, the success of your business that often goes unheard. This group can quietly kill your company if you’re not meeting their expectations and needs – the basis of customer satisfaction analytics.

You can certainly identify some of the horrible travesties that are going on, and identify some of the big successes by using feedback. The problem comes when you try to use feedback (and feedback alone) to manage your priorities. You then end up managing to the ends of the spectrum rather than the middle, the masses. At this point you are allowing the squeaky wheels, people who look for problems even when there aren’t any, and the diehard loyalists who believe your company can do no wrong even when you are, dictate your strategies moving forward.

You have to remember, too, that feedback is opt-in. When’s the last time someone reached out to your company just to say you’re doing an okay job?

In order to get ahead you need to be proactive. If you wait for feedback to determine where to focus your priorities, just think of how many potential customers were lost because their expectations and needs were not met.

Good customer experience analytics randomly intercept users to create a representative sample of your entire customer base – not just the disengaged and the super happy but those in between – at the right time with the right survey. This allows you to strategically and tactically determine where to focus your improvements so you to move your business forward by applying resources to the right areas that will make the biggest impact on our business. That is the key to success.

The measurement technology you use needs to be credible, reliable, accurate, precise, valid, sensitive, and when done right, predictive. Because when you measure the right way you gain real intelligence that enables you to take specific actions that predict future outcomes.

About the Author

As a pioneer in customer experience analytics, Verint delivers superior technology and proven methodology to connect the customer experience to the bottom line. The result is better business for companies and a better experience for consumers.

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