#13 Surveys that add no value, ‘Answers month’ in the NPS Forum


Welcome to the 13th edition of my customer strategy newsletter. The five topics this week are:

  1. Reflections on answering surveys and never hearing anything back
  2. Progress with Net Promoter® System (NPS) Forum on LinkedIn
  3. Latest blog posts, including the customer-employee love-hate matrix
  4. Notable items from other sites
  5. Looking forward

Surveys that add no value

I received yet another email from a company reminding me to respond to a survey this morning. It was their second reminder. I normally do my best to respond to surveys, just for the learning experience. Not this time. I have been reflecting on why and feel my thoughts may help some of you. The reminder came from British Airways and is signed by James Hillier, who has no job title.

Whether positive, neutral, or negative, your feedback is welcome and highly valued, as it will help us to shape our products and services in the future, and understand what our most valuable customers need from us.

James also wrote to me in September. I took the survey. While they said it would take just 15 minutes, there were 134 screens asking for input. Yes, I counted them. I gave specific and detailed input to the few open questions asked. I heard nothing back from them. Nothing at all. I have no idea what they learned from the survey. Certainly, none of the improvement suggestions I made have been implemented. The survey is administered by KPMG Nunwood, who sell their own customer experience improvement methodologies to companies like BA, notably an approach called ‘Six Pillars’ that involves lots of data collection.

As far as I am concerned, the long survey back in September was an insulting waste of time. The lack of any follow-up made me less loyal to British Airways, and unwilling to take a new survey. That is a rare situation for me, so please take note. The fundamental principle of all customer research is that it must provide more value to the customer than to your company. If you never tell customers what you have learned and what you are doing with their suggestions, you violate that principle. So, if you only want a metric, or if you have no budget for follow-up or to implement improvement suggestions, you should not do the research in the first place.

Last week’s employee/customer satisfaction blog post was popular

More people read what I write on the relationship betwee customer and employee satisfaction than on any other subject. I got lots of useful input when I posted on LinkedIn too. This is why I chose to send you the latest post directly yesterday. It is a follow-on that provides lists of the companies that combine the best and worst of customer and employee satisfaction. Personally, I found it surprising. I hope you enjoyed the ‘Customer-employee love-hate matrix’. One reader I spoke to yesterday made a suggestion that I should also examine the difference between product and service companies, and I intend to do so soon.

April is ‘Answers month’ in the Net Promoter® System (NPS) Forum on LinkedIn

I have lined up various experts to answer any and all questions you may have about NPS during April. If you are not one of the 23,000 current group members, please join the group and the discussion. You do need to ask to be a member, and I always approve such requests within 24 hours. Instant responses are not always possible as I have to sleep sometime. You can find the LinkedIn group here.

Our latest blog posts Older posts are of course still available on the blog page.

image Introducing the Customer-Employee Love-Hate Matrix for the 31 Best and Worst Large Businesses

Introducing the ‘Customer-Employee Love-Hate Matrix’, shown above Following on from last week’s post Proof there is no relationship between employee and customer satisfaction, I would like to provide the ‘love-hate…

image Proof there is no relationship between employee and customer satisfaction
Many will find this surprising. I used publicly-available data to prove the absence of a relationship between employee and customer happiness for 336 large businesses selling to American consumers. Personally, I don’t find this surprising at all. Read on to understand why.
How to calculate the lifetime value of a customer
Calculating the lifetime value of a customer is somewhat like calculating the value of a company you would like to acquire. While you can find many methods of doing the calculation, only one is completely correct. There are also a number of satisfactory approximations…

Notable customer experience items from other sites

Forbes: Can You Handle Dimension Data’s Uncomfortable Truth About Customer Experience?

This article by Adrian Swinscoe contains more statistics and percentages than I normally like to see, but its message is clear: There is a huge gap between what companies say they want to do about customer experience and what they actually do. You can find the article here.

CallidusCloud CX: Improving the Survey Responder Experience

Annette Franz is a writer worth following. This time she has written a guest piece for CallidusCloud CX. Her clear short messages cover things like survey design and ensuring you are addressing the right audience. More critically, she advises readers to act and to evolve. Her article is here.

Our books are now available

Our thanks go out to the many who have bought the Kindle versions of our books. are available, and We expect the print versions to be avaailable before the end of this month. The most helpful thing anyone can now do is to review the books, no matter what you think of them. Reviews will help us to improve as we finalize the print versions. The images above are linked to the US Amazon site. You can find links to the major Amazon stores on our books page, here.

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You can also email me, Maurice FitzGerald, at mfg@customerstrategy.net.

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