There are those among us who have the clarity of vision of what the end result needs to be and magically get there. Somehow their journey just happens. (I envy these people.)
But, most need to have a plan and a process for getting to the end result. This group takes the time to figure out where they are going and map out how to get there. Fair enough. But then there are those who, on occasion, will start with a good plan and then “improve” it by adding steps that are nice, but not required. These “enhancements” can add time and energy, diverting your focus away from the big picture of what really needs to happen.
Having done this myself, I recognize how easy it can be for the phenomenon of overly complicating things to occur during the customer feedback process. There are a number of ways to “improve” the process for your customer listening program. To name a few:
· Requiring your account managers to provide a comprehensive, final list of their customer contacts, with all of the information included – instead of simply having them download their contacts for someone else to organize.
· Spending too much time and energy on the “research” stuff, such as worrying about the “best” rating scale – when several options might be just fine – instead of focusing on activities that will help drive action (e.g. developing and executing a communications strategy).
· Providing too much information for some users (e.g. 100 page PowerPoint reports with charts, graphs, and lots of numbers) – it’s best to gauge what is the smallest amount of meaningful information to share with each audience, otherwise they can be overwhelmed and not know where to focus.
There is fallout from overly complicating your customer loyalty initiative, as these “improvements” may actually detract from your ability to take action.
· Too much time might be spent.
· Team members can get burned out chasing the wrong things.
· Users may not understand or buy into the key findings.
· Information may not be acted upon or used as part of the customer management strategy.
· The customer experience may not change or improve.
So, the next time you see yourself falling into the trap of adding complexity, remind yourself of what you are really trying to achieve – and keep it simple!
Vice President, Client Service