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“How Are We Doing….”

by David Brock on June 8th, 2021

We’re all used to the email surveys, usually following some shopping or customer service experience. “Tell us how we did…” They ask a series of questions asking us to relate our experience. Inevitably, one of the questions is the ever present NPS question, “Would you recommend us to someone else.”

Usually, these survey’s come after we have completed something, we’ve bought something, we asked for some sort of customer service. Whatever the case, the survey is about something that has happened, but now is over.

Perhaps, organizationally, we assess the results from a collection of surveys, theoretically using the results for changing and improving the customer experience in the future. (Though honestly, I’ve never gotten the question, “How do we improve our NPS scores?” I suspect we use these more for marketing purposes than for real improvement..)

My friend, Hrvoje Gabelica, came up with an interesting idea, What if we found a way to assess our performance in real time, adjusting what we do to improve or better address customer expectations? What if we could, somehow, ask, “How are we doing,” as we move through the customer’s buying process? What if, based on their feedback, we adjusted our next steps to create a better experience, in real time?

Some students of NYC history will remember Mayor Ed Koch always asking, “How am I doing.” Some years later, I met someone who had served in his administration. While it was a somewhat promotional catch phrase, this friend said, they would get lots of feedback, in real time, to that question. He said, Koch would listen, probe, and immediately take some sort of action based on the response. They believed, that if one person had a response, others might have similar thoughts.

Hrvoje suggested something similar. What if in every meeting, we were able to get feedback from our customers, adjusting what we do to respond to what they said? What if we could get feedback:

  1. Was this interaction a good investment in their time?
  2. How might we improve for our next discussion?
  3. Are we addressing the things most critical to them, at this moment?
  4. Are we really hearing what they are saying?
  5. Did they learn something as a result of this interaction?
  6. Is there something, important to them, that we may have missed and should be addressing?
  7. …and so on….

Not only would this feedback shape our future discussions with these customers, we can also leverage it in our interactions with others. We would constantly be able to improve our value and relevance with customers by asking them, “How are we doing?”

Hrvoje wrote a fascinating post on the same topic, be sure to read it: “The real feedback can only come from the buyers.”

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