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On Listening to the Right Things

I'm a big fan of listening, but make sure you're listening to the right things. Often, the most important things go unsaid. We can over-react to customer feedback, "always oiling the squeaky wheels," as Larry Freed says below. In my current job, the benefit my company provides is installing systems, and customers constantly complain that we're hard to work with. Well, yes, it's inconvenient to put in a new system, but that doesn't mean they are not getting great value for the investment.  Tq130507lc

Harvard Business Review Blog: Are You Listening to your Most Important Customers?, 2013-Apr-17, by Larry Freed

Measuring the voice of the silent majority starts with understanding the difference between collecting feedback and measuring the customer experience. Feedback is opt-in, and inherently reactive, because businesses focus on addressing the issues raised by the "squeaky wheels." Measurement is random and representative, which allows businesses to prioritize changes based on everyone's experience: lovers, haters, and those who fall somewhere in between.... 

In the new "big data" world, in which organizations collect and analyze enormous amounts of data in order to improve the way they do business, it's important not to get overwhelmed. Understanding the difference between types of data, putting proper data in context, and knowing which data to "listen" to is the key. While feedback data gives you a chance to react, measurement allows you to be proactive and strategic, giving you an advantage over competitors who are still running around oiling squeaky wheels.

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