I’ve written previously about how silly things like Net Promotor Score’s ‘Likelihood to Recommend’ question can seem. I think, generally, that comes more from a place of complacency than downright lunacy. It’s more likely people are asking questions like that less because they’re off their rocker than simply because, well, that’s what everybody is asking.
So the solution to such groupthink, I think, is to start…thinking.
I really dig Simon Sinek and of course we’ve all heard his mantra to Start With Why. So let’s pull that thread a bit: Why are you asking your Customers anything in the first place? Why are you engaging their feedback? As I’ve called out numerous times, the only reason you should be engaging in a VoC program is that you plan to act on what you learn (that hyperlink must be wearing out as often as I use it in my articles). But what sort of action? Action to what end?
As I mentioned in a previous article, the whole purpose of CX oftentimes gets too caught up in traditional KPIs like revenue and market share; people too frequently fail to realize the intrinsic value of CX in and of itself and the strategic value that exists simply in having a tight alignment between your Brand Promise and your Customers’ experiences. So…if the whole purpose of “doing CX” (the root Why) is to drive that alignment, well, why not just ask that question?
Instead of asking our Customers how satisfied they are with us or with the service they’ve received, instead of asking how likely they think they may be to recommend us to people they know, since the whole goal of our CX program is to deliberately build alignment between our Brand Promise and the Customers’ experiences, why not ask something like: “ABC, Inc., strives to be the industry leader in [enter brand promise here]. Based on your experiences with ABC, Inc., on a scale of 0 to 10, how well are we living up to that promise?” I don’t know if the scale of 0 to 10 is best. I don’t know if perhaps 1 to 5 is better or “Very unaligned’, ‘somewhat unaligned’, ‘what do you mean aligned?’, ‘somewhat aligned’, ‘Oh seriously totally aligned’ is the best way to collect the quantitative feedback. Frankly, I’d leave that to others to quibble over and honestly, I’m not sure I even care how the top-line number comes out anyway…at least we’d be asking the right question.
For that matter, the even more powerful and useful question would be the follow-on one: Provide an open-ended free text (no character limit!) response to this: “As specifically as possible, in what ways would you say we’re falling short of that promise?” I’d give special weight to those who identified in their score question that we weren’t living up to our Brand Promise, but I’d also take feedback from those who say we are. Then again, that’s true even if you stay with traditional VoC questions like NPS or C-SAT or CES.
Back to my point, though…how about we introduce a brand new CX KPI? We’ll call it the Brand Alignment Score. Companies who embrace CX for the value that it represents (driving that alignment) will find this system of survey much more compelling because it will be much more pertinent to the goal of the endeavor in the first place. Who’s with me?