Listening to the Voices

Where to Listen- Part I


One of the biggest challenges is knowing you need to be listening to customers, employees, and other stakeholders but there are many places and times you could listen – picking where to do it can be overwhelming.  Thinking about when to listen in a systematic way makes this easier and allows the efforts you undertake to be focused and effective. So, when does it make the most sense to listen?


1. Look at Personas & Journeys:

This is one place where doing the foundational work first – identifying the personas and journeys of those you serve – can help you understand where it is important to listen.

What matters to individual personas helps you know the ways they are likely to engage with you and what they are seeking from those interactions. Identifying these touchpoints through the different journeys the personas take illustrate what is most important to them and will instruct you on where to listen. When you are listening at the right places and gathering needed feedback, the insights on how to continuously improve and make things better and easier will not be difficult to find.


2. Utilize Moments of Truth

Look for “moments of truth” – the points in time that are the “make or break the relationship” interactions.  What are those situations when showing up in the right way matters the most? What is your company able to do?  What expectations exist and are you meeting them?  Is that person left feeling like you did not hold up your end of the deal? Or did you effectively manage that situation and now that relationship is stronger? 

We all have moments of truth – whether professional or personal – and this provides you with a way of thinking about those moments which have the greatest impact on the connection between your company and the customer.


3. Cover the Channels

You already know how important it is to not be in just one silo or segment (i.e. only having a website feedback survey or capturing customer feedback that covers only one interaction).  This gives you a fragmented view on the relationship and highly limited feedback.

For a broader view, step back and think about all the different channels – the unique ways and natural places you are interacting with your customers and employees right now – and understand that those are the channels where you can build natural places of listening – and not just surveys. 

Whether it is using software that records and analyzes phone calls which generates information while people are talking to customers, or giving customers that interact with you inside an app a place to provide quick feedback, it is crucial for you utilize those different channels where interactions occur to capture insights.

For example, the Daily Burn app for exercise is something I’ve recently adopted, and they want to get feedback on the recorded workouts. After an exercise session the app immediately asks you to rate it & give any comments. They do not send a survey later, but are meeting customers where they are within that interaction channel to request the insight they need.

Research by Imimobile indicates that 75% of people are completing surveys on their mobile devices, so keep in mind when you are designing feedback systems they need to be compatible with the way people are interacting with you and their world – and most are doing this through the window of a mobile device. Making sure that whatever systems you use are automatically optimizing your data intake for mobile platforms is crucial.


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Katrina Starnes

Katrina Starnes

Cofounder 4Xperience, Operational Research

With nearly two decades of experience in market research (both quantitative and qualitative) Katrina is adept at finding creative research solutions that balance client needs and budgets. Katrina’s project work spans numerous industries: transportation, pharma, government, education, retail, advertising, museums, utilities, credit unions, analytics firms and non-profits; as well as typography: customer feedback, B2B, competitive intelligence, advertising effectiveness, employee engagement, grant-funded program evaluation, branding, product development, and more.