You can't over-communicate

15 March 2022

We're a customer insight agency. Our job is to help you to understand your customers' attitudes and behaviour, so that you can design experiences that will make them happier (which is good for business).

Traditionally, research agencies have divided their work into two camps: qualitative research to dig into feelings in detail, and quantitative research to measure; but there's a danger that focusing only on research can lead to "paralysis by analysis", which is why we organise our work into four categories.

These are the four parts that any customer experience improvement programme needs:

In this post I want to concentrate on that final piece of the puzzle - communicating effectively to achieve culture change and manage customer perceptions.

Internal communication

For insight to lead to action, you need to get the right messages to the right people in the most compelling way possible.

Your colleagues need to understand what they can do to improve the customer experience, why it matters, and why doing so is worthwhile.

The answer, we believe, is to use your research to craft a story that makes these things explicit. A good insight story captures attention, emphasises cause and effect ("if we do X, then Y will happen"), combines facts with emotion, promises an outcome that is personally important to its audience, and gives them a clear call to action.

Customer communication

You also need to think about the key role that storytelling has in improving customer attitudes. Your communication to customers after the survey needs to do two things:

  • Show that you're listening

  • Manage perceptions

A customer survey is a promise. The deal is that customers give you five minutes of their time, and in return you pay attention to what they say and do something about it. How do they know that you're keeping your side of the bargain? Even if things get better, they have no way of knowing that it's because of your survey, unless you tell them!

"You said, we did" is a really important message to get across, whether or not you use those actual words.

Telling customers about the improvements you've made is also an effective way to shortcut the time it takes for customers to notice change. Think about it from a customer's point of view - how many times do they have to experience a new improved service before they believe it'll always be like that? Three times? Five? But if you tell them it's a new improved service, and explain why and how it's better, then once may be enough.

Communication is a vital part of turning insight into action, and it's crucial to showing customers that you're using the survey to improve.

As the saying goes "you can't over-communicate".