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Time for a talk with your survey?

Surveys have long been the standard for gathering customer insights. And with good reason! They are easy to issue, a great way to obtain feedback, secure ratings, establish performance benchmarks, and monitor progress. And yet, there are problems. Customers are inundated with surveys!

So maybe it is time for customer experience leaders to have a tough talk with their survey to agree on ways to be more strategic and to take advantage of other new tools that are now available. I think that conversation would go something like this:

CX leader – How’s it going, you been keeping busy?

Survey – Oh yeah, You know – survey, survey, survey!

CX leader – Yeah, that’s what I want to discuss. It’s become a problem.

Survey – Problem?

CX leader – Yeah, you've become really annoying.

Survey – You’re kidding right?

CX leader – No, I’ve had lots of complaints

Survey – What?!!

CX leader – Look, you talk too much and you interrupt people at the most inconvenient times. You’re like an unwanted guest that won’t go away!

Survey – Do you know how long I’ve been doing this? I ask people all kinds of questions!

CX leader – There’s another example – you ask too many questions! For a lot of these questions you already know the answer. Or, you ask questions that you never intend to do anything with!

Survey – This is crazy! You need me!

CX leader – Look, times have changed. Customers have changed. Companies have changed. We need to be proactive, look ahead, and anticipate customer issues. I hate to tell you, but it seems like all you’re concerned with is stuff that happened in the past.

Survey – Hey the past is the best predictor of the future. That’s what I always say.

CX leader – Yeah … not so much anymore. Look, I have other methods now. Like journey mapping, predictive analytics, text analytics, and social media.

Survey – Seriously! You’re comparing me to social media??!! She is so ditzy with her hashtags, emojis, and ridiculous acronyms. And predictive analytics??!! – that nerd!!

CX leader – Look, we’re going to change. We’re going to use these other tools to get a better understanding of our customers. We have got be proactive and optimize every experience a customer has. That means I’m going to use every resource I have.

(Silence for a moment)

Survey – Okay, I saw this coming. People hate me. Click – delete, click – delete, click – delete. That seems like all I ever hear. Nobody spends time with me anymore. I’m done, I’m history, I’ll leave, don’t worry about me. I’ll find somewhere to go.

CX leader – No, no … you don’t understand.

Survey – No I get it. You and little miss social media and her buddies will key an eye on customers from now on.

CX leader – No, now stop interrupting … I’m not asking you to go.

Survey – Huh?

CX leader – No, we still need you, but you just have to change. Look, nobody can provide the data for statistical analysis like you. And you’re awesome at tracking trends on performance and customer attitudes.

Survey – Well yeah, I am pretty good at that stuff.

CX leader – Yep, and you’re flexible – good on the phone, online, in-person.

Survey – Yeah, I am!

CX leader – Look we just need you to be part of the team, work with these other guys.

Survey – I guess I can do that.

CX leader – And we’re going to use you more strategically – shorter, more important assignments.

Survey – I like that.

CX leader – Great. Then we have a plan. I’m glad we had this talk

Survey – Yeah, me too.

Happy ending

Customer experience leaders need to seriously consider their use of surveys in today’s business environment. So take the time to have a talk with your survey. Just one piece of advice – be gentle. Surveys have feelings too you know.

Patrick Gibbons
Principal, SVP
Walker

About the Author

Patrick Gibbons

Patrick Gibbons

As Principal and Senior Vice President of Marketing for Walker, Gibbons has global responsibility for definition, branding, and promotion of the company and its solutions. Gibbons has published and/or contributed to a number of articles, papers, and blogs on customer intelligence topics and has a regular column in CRM Magazine. He has been a featured speaker at a wide range of conferences, and has produced a series of educational events for customer experience leaders.

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