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The Validation Comfort Zone

The evolution of what customer experience initiatives are like today has seen many changes, from companies who were focused on executing a survey to understand how satisfied customers were to companies today creating customer-focused strategies based on customer insights and behaviors.   While some companies are constantly innovating the way they execute customer experience strategies, others have gotten stuck in what I’ll call the “validation comfort zone.”

So, what is the validation comfort zone?  The most common way that companies have measured customer satisfaction or loyalty in the past 10 years has been through executing surveys that are aimed at understanding the health of current customer relationships.   There are certainly other ways companies gather information, but this is really the most typical way that companies do it.  I should clarify, however, that I’m not saying this approach is bad.  In fact, this is what Walker has recommended to our clients for many years.  The issue now is that it isn’t enough and executives are expecting more. We are all trapped in the “validation comfort zone”.

I would venture to guess that nearly all satisfaction and loyalty measurement programs that have been conducted by B to B companies on a monthly, quarterly, or even annual cycle over a number of years have not learned anything significantly different than they learned the very first time the survey was conducted.  We continue to validate the same information over and over, but we do it because it has been adopted within our companies, people understand it, and roles within our company have been created to execute it.  Trend is important and I understand that – but do we really need to ask customers to fill out a 10-15 minute survey to understand what is important to them when we have already done that once, twice, or 20 times before?  Can we not ask them a few questions that allow us to understand how customers think the company is performing on those areas we have already validated are company focus areas?

The answer is yes.  This also allows us to spend our time and efforts focus on learning more about the “why” and root causes of issues that were validated by customers and less time gathering the information we already know.  It allows us to start thinking more proactively and less in the “rearview mirror”, utilizing metrics that already exist that have been linked to validated customer concerns.  It allows us to spend less time on executing surveys and more time using customer insights to drive business success.

Think about the future of customer experience within your organization and how you can get out of the validation comfort zone!

Katie Kiernan
Vice President, Consulting Services

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