Invite customers to play a role

There is no business with customers that would not have feedback about their experience. Often it is channeled into call centers and across websites. Sometimes it is classified, the results begin analyzed. There may be ambitious programs running in the background – but it is dealt with a vertical, in the sense of a department. The individual customer may have to deal with the marketing vertical in one case, with the service vertical in another. The customer does not know the difference. The customer also does not know that the VP marketing has the goal of selling more services, whereas the VP Service has to reduce cost. For the customer this means good weather today and bad weather tomorrow, as their customer journey continues on from buying (or even before) to using.

The marketing guys think the service department does a bad job. They want to ask customer about their satisfaction. The service guys don’t want marketing to interfere with their customer relations, and insist on doing a satisfaction survey themselves. Their results generate questions regarding marketing promises. Now marketing also feels forced to introduce customer satisfaction surveys for their services. As the two do not synchronize, the customer is being interviewed first by one department, and a bit later on by the other. Some questions are identical, other differ, but there are two different last questions. In one case the customer is asked, “would you buy with us again” in the other case, “How likely are you to recommend us to someone else?”

The marketing results seem to suggest that service has a problem, but the service results show that marketing could do better. Marketing thinks, Service is asking the wrong questions. But what is a ‘right’ question? After all, which of the overall questions is the right one? The one regarding further buying, or the recommendation one? The discussion becomes an ongoing one without any result, as for each good argument a good counter-argument pops up.

For the customer the situation is uncomfortable, as the interaction journey with the supplier is a bumpy one. For top management the situation is similarly uncomfortable since there appears to be a problem, but the customer feedback data is confusing.