Gaining clear and actionable insights from our clients, both internal and external, is vital to being relevant. I spent the majority of last week interviewing a team of leaders. There was a saturation point by about the eighth interview, where the key points from each leader started aligning and repeating. By the twelfth, the pattern was set. The rest of the interviews further solidified the key points.
As an admitted data nerd, I am a fan of survey tools where graphs and trends are easy to illustrate. However, when it comes to client satisfaction I believe there is a very real bias in response rates. For the 10-30% who respond to a multiple choice survey, there are shortfalls. Clients may not interpret the question as intended (or as the other respondents did), creating outliers to the data set. Responses may be hurried or biased. Multiple choice doesn’t inspire serious consideration. The list goes on.
The direct interviews are an investment of time, and the quality of the information is exponentially higher as a result. The opportunity to connect and make the respondent feel heard inspires mindful responses and stronger participation. There is a benefit of additional context from open-ended questions, especially when there is an outlier. And, as Kenny points out, there is a very real ability to quantify the responses into “strategic factors” from the end user’s perspective. This is the information that truly supports action to promote long term client satisfaction.
executives are often put off by the idea of interviewing customers individually, believing that it involves many hours and massive expense. Instead they get together in a group and guess what the customer — or any stakeholder — wants, with only the flimsy, half-hearted responses of customer surveys to guide them.