You’ve likely heard about the concept and practice of “closing the loop” or a “closed-loop feedback” (CLF) cycle. What is it, and how does it work?
There are actually a couple types of closed-loop feedback systems depending on whether you’re talking about internal or external feedback. Internal refers to an employee feedback mechanism where as an external closed-loop feedback system is geared toward the Customer’s inputs and what you do with them. They’re both important to a healthy Customer-centric organization, and they operate basically the same way, just with different sources of feedback. I’ll concentrate on that external, or Customer-centric model here, but realize that there’s another application for this CLF system if you want to approach employee experience the same way.
The overall concept of a CLF cycle is that you (as I’ve often emphasized) do something with the feedback you receive. Rather than just sitting on VoC information or just reporting it, CLFs empower us to actually improve our processes in a focused way thus improving Customers’ future experiences while also showing gratitude to those who offer us their thoughts. At first glance (and if you just take the term literally from its own label), a closed-loop feedback system is one that simply follows up with the Customer on their input. Now, that may take on many different forms depending on how you interpret the concept: Follow-up may be simply replying—perhaps even with an auto-generated, boilerplate, impersonal email—that a Customer’s feedback has been “received.” Sometimes the follow-up is in the form of self-preservation and reaching out to a Customer to save the experience. Let’s be honest: If you don’t find out about a disastrous Customer experience until you’ve received negative feedback is likely to be a lost cause, at least in that instance…that said, sometimes you can recover, and the best experience is sometimes a make-good for what started out as an awful experience. But even these approaches to a CLF don’t really capture the benefit of such a system.
I once helped a company which made several different products and offered many different services build out a Voice of the Customer (VoC) program. Here were two mistakes they were making:
Their first mistake was that they defined their Customers by their own products and services. One of the important concepts in your VoC program is differentiation between your segments. The different types of Customers you sell to have different needs, different experiences, and different attitudes about what constitutes good CX. But how you differentiate matters.
This organization had distinct and broad categories of products and services, which, the bigger you get is inevitable. You may have so many segments that it’s unreasonable to differentiate too much (or at least to categorize and lump together certain like segments). But, it’s important to segment your Customers because one size truly doesn’t fit all. And we’ll get to what to do with the segments in a minute.
Here’s the problem they had: (more…)
I’ve been busy this week teaching summer session at the US Air Force Academy so haven’t been posting here. But I have found the time to respond to a bunch of CX Questions of the Day:
Monday, Jeremy was asking about Journey Mapping:
It’s all about the visualization! pic.twitter.com/eFiEe0Z33g
— Nicholas Zeisler, CCXP, LSSBB, CSM (@NicholasZeisler) June 22, 2020
Then, Tuesday, Neal Topf popped in to sub for Jeremy with a question about quality assurance:
Yes, yes. A thousand times yes.
Scores and scoring are at the heart of quality assurance and improvement. You have to know what good looks like and where you're falling short…
But there's more… pic.twitter.com/lBjVh4YNTR
— Nicholas Zeisler, CCXP, LSSBB, CSM (@NicholasZeisler) June 23, 2020
On Thursday, Jeremy was back asking about positive Customer feedback:
I always say you want negative feedback… you should always be looking for it…it's the best source of learning.
But you can use positive feedback to learn as well; and of course to celebrate! pic.twitter.com/a01sgqMGoe
— Nicholas Zeisler, CCXP, LSSBB, CSM (@NicholasZeisler) June 25, 2020
And we wrapped up the week with something different: “What are you thankful for?”
— Nicholas Zeisler, CCXP, LSSBB, CSM (@NicholasZeisler) June 26, 2020
I write a lot about understanding why you’re doing something as a means of helping you to decide what to do and how to do it. It’s an idea I’ve stolen from Simon Sinek who wrote a whole book about it in fact. His book was general and strategic but I also apply it to the tactical and transactional world of measures because that’s where the concept often hits the ground and plays into your practice. In fact, I’ve written a lot about Goodhart’s Law, that when a metric becomes a goal it ceases to be a good measure. I’d like to share an example of that and why it’s so important to understand the basis behind why you’re looking to measure something in the first place.
A good friend of mine and fellow CX leader told me recently the story about an organization he was working with. It was a big group with a wide variety of Customer types and personas. As such he was often discussing how different approaches to the gathering of VoC data were important and necessary. So far so good. But when he approached one of the groups he was presented with a curious request: Could they change their survey to using ‘smiley-faces’ instead of numbers? (more…)