Big data. Small data. Both have significant value for businesses of all sizes. We talked about the difference between big and small data, then offered some ideas for where to find it in your business. Any data that is easy for you to access, collect and interpret will provide helpful information to make better decisions and critical improvements for your customers. However, it’s important not to hide behind the data you gather in an effort to prove yourself right. Using the data to prove yourself wrong is arguably more important. Allow us to explain.
Asking the right questions
Customer surveys are a terrific source of small data that can provide you with some important feedback on their experience. But often these surveys don’t ask the right questions. Let’s take a closer look at two typical examples:
Question: Did we solve your problem today? Answer: yes or no. Good start but the responses tell you very little. It’s not clear what is being measured. And it’s not clear from the responses what you could do to improve their experience. Too many questions left unanswered by this data set.
Question revised: Was this your first call to our customer service for this issue? The answer is still yes or no but now you have a better idea of where to look to improve the customer experience. Now you can measure how well you resolve issues on the first call. And if your results are strong this measurement gives you something tout in your marketing. If your results are weak then you can celebrate! You’ve just uncovered an important problem that can be fixed and measured again.
Question: On a scale of 1–5 how likely are you to recommend us? This question is likely to yield the answer you are hoping for but not necessarily a useful response. Again, not clear what is being measured or how the answers can be utilized.
Question revised: What was the best/worst part of your buying experience? Giving your customers a chance to sound off is crucial. Put yourself in your customer’s place and create questions that will matter to them, not just you or your executive team. Notice that in this revision we changed from a quantitative answer to a qualitative answer. Much more valuable to improving the customer experience.
Numbers tell only part of the story
The sample questions point to the fact that quantitative data is one-dimensional. It tells only a limited part of the story. Measuring your performance means finding your flaws and closing the gaps that customers have been slipping through on their way to becoming happy, loyal customers. Find out what your customers want you to obsess about and take steps to get there. Like the bartender who knows your name and serves your favorite drink without having to ask, get the small data right and you will win raving, loyal fans with strong lifetime value. But more on that next time.