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Listening to the Customer with Martha Brooke, Interaction Metrics

Episode: 13

Think your DIY customer survey produced the data you needed? Are you confident in your ability to analyze that information and implement those client recommendations?

I sat down with Martha Brooke, chief customer experience analyst and founder ofInterAction Metrics, to find out how better questions translate into meaningful customer insights.

Just because you have a platform like SurveyMonkey doesn’t mean you have a good survey. Take Martha’s word on that; she’s been in the business of creating customer listening mechanisms since 2004. She’s also used herLinkedIn blogto call out some of the biggest companies in the world for their abysmal client questionnaires.

With so many plug-and-play survey platforms available, it’s easy to overlook nuances that provide relevant feedback. Good questions don’t assume bias, but getting that language right can be challenging, especially if you’re unclear about which words to avoid and how to structure your phrasing.

Beyond the questions, there’s the mechanism; not all businesses benefit from surveys. Martha says that companies with inside sales, tech support, or customer service find call recordings or client interviews more helpful. That’s a great way…because the customer will drop little clues about what they’re looking for.

On the back end of those conversations, management can gain insight into the quality of their customer service. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of deploying a call-recording system on a sales or customer service department that has operated without electronic oversight, don’t be.

That really is the spirit of it, for training and improvement and consistency reasons, she says. It is to help you become better at providing technical support. Or to help you become better at inside sales or service.

Seeking feedback is an exercise in vulnerability and, regardless of which structure you chose, you’re far from finished once the scores are in. Information is of little value if it’s not analyzed correctly.

Ultimately, the goal is to uncover the story in the data. Are there wins to celebrate? Areas where you can recalibrate? Don’t ask if you aren’t ready to make changes. And don’t fear the process. Behind what we’re doing is incredible optimism that companies want to change, that they can change, and that, in fact, they will change, says Martha.

Interested in eliminating bias from your DIY surveys? Looking for simple ways to encourage worthwhile feedback from your best customers? Martha shares more tips and tricks in our conversation so listen in.


Distribution Talk is produced byThe Distribution Team,a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.

Edited & mixed byThe Creative Impostor Studios.

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