A recent article by Emmet O’Briain really sparked my interest and after sitting down to read it through, I found there were so many great points that I felt that Big Ears customers could both relate to, and use to their benefit!

The article itself is a bit lengthy and requires a bit more attention than a casual peruse over a cup of coffee, so I decided to share with you my favourite insights from this article, because I think they are very relateable.

Create connection between yourself and your customers. 

“We must recognise that we are members of and inhabit the same everyday worlds that we are describing for clients.” 

The goal of creating authentic interactions between your business and your customers is to create a meaningful layer between experience and data. Creating a great emotional connection between your brand and your customers is how you gather the kind of data that will help you learn and grow – and how you understand your customers needs at a deeper level.

“With access to so much customer data and insights, expectations are at an all-time high – the majority of customers expect companies to fully understand their needs and exceed their expectations.

Using highly structured, generic methods that many businesses tend to use for gathering information, can actually create a distance between company and customer – it creates the feeling that that you’re on two different pages.

Bridge the gap between the two worlds by remembering that you both bring value to the table, and talking to your customers in a conversational and relatable way.

Create a better experience for them, and more insightful information for you!

Inauthentic methods are worse for both Customers and Customer Feedback. 

“Industry critics remind us how far removed what gets traded as insight is from ‘the real world’ and from the humanity of our own experiences.”

This is such an important point. And in this article the author discusses at length how “non-human” feedback methods (aka automated technology) are often chosen by companies to gather customer information.

There are plenty of reasons why businesses may feel that these methods could work better for gathering feedback. Generic feedback systems like text based surveys may feel as though they have less of a ‘bias’ than talking person to person, and they can sometimes appear more reliable than people.

Maybe you think that using automated technology methods for customer feedback would result in better research and insights. But actually, it’s becoming quite obvious that the outputs of these kinds of methods are lacking in real and relateable human experiences and in actionable insights.

Human behaviours aren’t always logical, and your customers are human! By using automated/structured systems, you’re missing a huge chunk of authentic interaction and insights – the author summed it up perfectly –

People are missing from research outputs because they are missing from the input.”

It’s really difficult to connect with people’s experiences with your business when your feedback methods involve removing their experiences and stories from the process.

By implementing a system like voice feedback, you’re giving your customers opportunities to talk to you using feedback mechanisms that encourage “straight from the heart” responses.

Show that feedback gets actioned.

“Uncover actionable insights that you can associate with quantitative metrics.”

If you’ve had any experience with surveys, forms, or interviews – you’ll understand the huge amount of time and effort that goes into summing up a complex or detailed process to a tick-box or a number out of 10. And for all that work and opinion, how often have you seen a direct response that your input has been actioned – or even read?

By showing your customers that specific feedback has been actioned and valued – it reassures your customers, that their opinion is highly appreciated! And they are more likely to give you insightful feedback in the future.

A business’s ability to engage in critical reflection and the ability to apply gathered knowledge is what separates you from your competitors.

Try something new (methods).

“A limited research palette can frustrate our ability to learn or deliver something new or surprising.”

It can be easy to stay with what you know, what you’ve always done, and follow the methods of collecting feedback that you’re accustomed to.

Research methods often dominate industries because they are familiar, comfortable and conventional. If the industry standard is to send surveys based off of ratings from 1 – 10, then it’s really easy to go with the flow and follow the crowd.

But as the author mentioned, sticking to outdated or limited methods can really limit the type and amount of feedback we receive!

Trying out new and more inventive ways of gathering feedback can open your eyes to so many more areas of improvement, and help you notice areas you’re already succeeding in.

Voice feedback systems allow you to detail every thought, every quote, every voice inflection and tone – no matter how small or irrelevant the customer themselves may think of it.

Try being open to a variety of methods- you really can create limitless potential for your business.