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April 21, 2013

Are You Listening to Your Most Important Customers?

by keerliu

In the early class, Prof. Maxham mentions that the worst thing for a company is not numerous complaints from furious customers, but the silent ones who leave the company without complaints. It is exactly right. Customers are most likely to offer feedback when they have either a really bad experience or a great one. However, it is the silent majority in the middle typically drives the success or failure of a business.


This article, Are You Listening to Your Most Important Customers, addresses the same issue. It recommends that random-sample measurement is better than opt-in feedback because it is closer to the normal distribution curve, and he shows a figure to demonstrate it. In the figure, we can see that the random sampling does a better job of measuring the wider range of customer experiences, rather than just the very happy and very unhappy customers that often respond to an opt-in feedback button. And if you only pay attention to those response collected by a feedback button, you missed the silent majority. (A big concern here is that the author assumes that the actual distribution of responses is normal, which may not be true)


And then, the article illustrates how to answer some typical questions from company’s perspective, like “How am I doing?”, “Where should I focus my efforts?”, and “Why should I take action?”, with some specific examples (but only from his company and the client of his company). Although the examples are kind of limited, you can still learn something from it.


Last but not least, I want to say that business is like life. Your most customers are neither the ones who have great experience nor the ones who have the worst experience, but the silent majority, and that’s where you need to pay attention. It is the same with your life. Most days in your life you are not extremely happy or extremely unhappy, so you’d better not let those very few days influence your life. The ordinary days you usually ignore in life are where you should pay attention!

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