Challenges in Validation

This is the first of two blogs in a series on the challenges and successes related to validating customer feedback with other authoritative sources of information in your organization.

Among companies we work with, validating the return of improvements from customer feedback continues to fall short on world-class definitions.  Since this is a common challenge, at a recent Walker client forum, we brainstormed ideas for recognizing and recording the business impact of our customer programs.  We sought to answer these two questions:  What challenges do we encounter?  And, what are some of the approaches we can take to overcome these challenges?

Challenges Encountered

Challenges expressed by the groups tended to fall into three major themes, which are:

  • Availability/Access to other Authoritative Information – Examples cited included cultural obstacles, such as a lack of customer-centricity and a resistance to share financial information outside of a tight sphere of control.

Another obstacle is the often disparate systems within a company that don’t "talk to each other" nor facilitate easy connections.

  • Misalignment of Information – A common challenge is the (at least perceived) misalignment of metrics measured by the companies.  Often, misaligned results are observed from different programs – such as transactional vs. relational.

Another example was differences in internal operational metrics and the customers’ perspective of that experience – this was demonstrated in the classic example of a negotiated “promised date” being met nearly 100% of the time, while customers indicated the “needed date” was often missed.

A third obstacle in this theme is the methodology being used and well-understood.It was felt that sometimes if the right questions or resulting metrics were not believed to be the optimal one(s) then this prevented people from using it and connecting it to other information within the company.

  • Determining what the desired Outcome(s) is/are – With many initiatives underway, all competing for attention, it was often mentioned that determining the desired outcomes was challenging.  For example, were people focused on the right topics/priorities for action, was the cause and effect able to be properly isolated to insure that the right corrective actions were being undertaken, were the right behaviors being incentivized, and was proper tracking and monitoring of actions being done to gauge if the desired improvements/outcomes were being achieved?

Have you encountered similar challenges – or have you faced something different?  Please comment with your thoughts on this.  And look for my next blog for the successful approaches we’ve seen in this challenging area.

 

Brad Linville
Principal, Sr. VP, Strategic Accounts

Walker Information

 



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