A few weeks ago there was near hysteria as the Powerball jackpot climbed and climbed and climbed.  The chances of winning this thing are infinitesimal but I was still adamant that my wife should buy a handful of tickets.  “And don’t buy the scratch and sniff kind.  If we’re unlikely to win, let’s not win BIG!”

The lottery provides an analogy to how companies implement their customer surveys… they don’t win big, and few are winning small.  In fact, all companies are executing one of the 4 cases below (ordered by value).  However, unlike the long odds on winning the lottery, companies can actually get winning Powerball results consistently.

powerball

  1. Do Nothing – Company doesn’t survey customers.  Good luck!  And remember, you can’t win if you don’t play.
  2. Buy a Ticket, Lose a Ticket – The case when you get a customer response but don’t do anything with the results represents ignorance of the first degree and is a colossal waste of time and money.  If you aren’t going to do anything for your customer with feedback, stop gathering it.  Customers grow disappointed and won’t respond again.  Your first chance to make an impression will be your last one.  Company may get minimal benefit if they determine ways to improve the products and services they offer.  (But don’t count on it… this is the same company that lost the ticket and didn’t respond.)
  3. Buy a Ticket, Match Some Numbers – A small win in the customer experience.  (Hey small wins are better than losing the ticket.)  This case represents what happens when your company responds to a customer survey.  Customers are mostly neutral, hoping (against their better judgment and most of their experience) that your company will be the one that DOES something with the feedback.
  4. Winning POWERBALL Numbers – Getting feedback is good and responding is even better.  Winning small isn’t bad but to get winning Powerball results, you have to ACT on that feedback.  Taking action makes an impression on your customers, who will be more likely to respond in future surveys.  Taking action makes your company stronger by helping you find and improve areas of the business that matter to your customers.  People notice and talk about companies that take action.  Taking action sets your company apart from the many others who lose the stub!  (Then, and only then, claim victory.)

The pivot point to get winning Powerball results on your customer surveys, and the real value for both customer and company alike, comes from taking action.  Once you’ve asked customers to respond, how the company responds is up to you.   Feeling lucky today, or willing to take action?  The choice is yours. 

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