Should the Squeaky Wheel Get the Oil?

Sometimes mistakes are made, and we get things wrong and our clients make us aware of those shortcomings. In most if not all cases, the course corrections and lessons learned are worth the painful mistake.

Other times, there are customers who make their concerns known … loudly and often. And when those customers represent a series of concerns or a systemic issue, they deserve a speedy response. Recently, I’ve come to notice that companies try to respond to all feedback and as a result, often reply to the loudest voices that are not necessarily the voices that matter the most.

How often do you let people know that they are doing things well? This isn’t really a pattern for most of us… we don’t send emails to Delta when the flight experience went well, and we don’t tell our legal teams they did a great job when they finish a long piece of work that we expected to go well. It isn’t human nature to share positive feedback about things that go as planned – even if it takes a significant amount of effort to make it all run smoothly.

If we spend too much time listening to the loudest complainers and make those voices the most important, we are not hearing to the full constituency. It is important to acknowledge when people aren’t happy, but if we continuously course correct for the loudest complaint and don’t stand true to the great work done quietly every day, we break the system.

In developing customer listening systems for your organization – whether those are digital tools like Twitter or more complex organizational systems like Advisory Boards – focus on the full set of data and avoid course correcting for the loudest voice in the room. Instead, listen for the most important.


Customer Advisory Boards

An advisory board is a powerful engine of engagement, insight, and business transformation. Make the most of yours.

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Engagement Strategy

Like any good relationship, customer engagement is a long-term, reciprocal effort. When done well, meaningful engagement leads to better business results, faster.

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Understanding the C-Suite

Want to improve your standing with your C-suite customers? Deliver what executives want: ideas, inspiration, innovation, influence.

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