Walker Information
Helping you put the customer at the heart of every decision.

Words are like containers

I heard an interesting comment the other day that I’ll paraphrase here:

"Words are like containers. You put a bunch of meaning into your words; all wrapped up into a container and give the container to another person. That person opens the container, the words come out and you believe they hear the same meaning from those words that you put into them. But do they?”


How many times have I made a comment or statement that, in my mind, was completely innocent but the person I said it to, heard something different. The way they heard it gave them information that was different from what was intended, or caused them to take a different course of action than where I thought it would take them.

How does this relate to Customer Listening? Here are a few ways:


  1. Writing the survey: Are the questions written pulled from the customers’ terminology or from the company’s viewpoint? Understanding how customers view interactions or describe interactions or experiences are important to understand and use so the subsequent feedback is truly from their viewpoint.
  2. Internal and external communications: Are the communications long, full of detail and describing the process only, or are they concise, to the point, and describe the benefits of participating in the process? Not all communications can be succint, however, if they convey the right message of how the time and effort will pay off in the end, the subsequent action may be more positive.
  3. Results dissemination: Are the results clear and concise, providing the account teams or functional teams absolute direction on what they should focus on to improve customers’ perceptions? When closing the loop with customers, are the top actions being undertaken clearly defined and described so customers know what is being done? 


Despite best efforts, I’m sure there will continue to be the occasional misinterpretation or misunderstanding of our words. However the more thought, consideration, and multiple viewpoints that go into survey design, communications, and results sharing may help prevent some of those misunderstandings and provide clearer courses of action for everyone to take to improve the customer experience.



Lauri Jones

Senior Analyst

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