The “Magic Bullet” Survey Methodology…

I was recently talking to some of my loyalty industry colleagues about different methodologies and metrics that we use to quantify customer loyalty. There were many different approaches, opinions, and thoughts on the matter of course, but there were 2 universal beliefs among all of us:

1) There is NO “Magic Bullet Survey Methodology”
2) Taking “real” actions based upon the data is most important

Let me expound a bit…

Yes there are some methodologies that are better than others because they are more statistically accurate and/or they are easy to communicate with those who are going to consume and put into action the data… but in the end there is no magic bullet methodology.

Let’s take the Net Promoter Score(NPS) methodology for instance. I “like” NPS because it is easy to understand, measure, and communicate to a broad audience.. people easily get and understand what it is.. but NPS is not “the way, the truth, and the life” either. The score is like a fuel gauge… it is something you should obviously reference to see what the gauge says, but don’t fixate on it either… because you will lose track of the road and crash!

The most important function of a loyalty survey is your ability to take strategic and tactical actions based upon the data and drive real change in your organization. If you are not able to take real actions and deliver real change… why even bother doing a survey… just do a marketing campaign instead!

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld.

There are three kinds of lies…

The phrase “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics” was popularized in the United States by Mark Twain (among others), who attributed it to the 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli… I actually heard it from one of my lifetime buddies Ben Hamilton who is probably one of the biggest geeks I know :)

Regardless of who the original author was of this quote, it is 100% true! I run multiple Satisfaction and Loyalty/Relationship Surveys for my corporation and we are always looking for new ways to slice and dice the data in-order to get to the most meaningful and actionable data. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great practice for sure, but I do find myself searching sometimes for what the REAL answer is in all of the data… if there were just ONE lever I could pull in our business to increase our loyalty… what would it be? Yes we can do multiple regression analysis, trends charting, correlation analysis, etc… but what does it all mean as a bottom line?

The data is really good, but I find the most powerful and meaningful data we get from our surveys is in the comments analysis and categorizations, closed loop calls, & customer interviews. These interactions provide us the raw, uncensored words of one of our customers. If we read and/or listen to the comments… and then look at the scores… it makes the entire survey come alive with so much more foundation/context because it adds a “human connection” aspect that is otherwise sanitized by data.

Yes, let’s keep surveying our customers and looking at the data in great detail, but let’s make sure we “listen to our customers and make sure we are connected with their voice… after all… it is called “Voice of the Customer”!

Quote Source: (,_damned_lies,_and_statistics)