Tell 3000: The Voice of the Customer

I always encourage my clients to listen to their customers using a variety of mechanisms.  One of the best ways, however, is to listen to or read customer verbatims.  In other words, listen to customers tell stories about your company in their own words.

So of course, I am very interested in this new project put together by Pete Blackshaw.  He is doing it to help promote his new book, “Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3000”.  Over at his book’s blog, you can find a series he is starting up showcasing consumer interviews .  These feature various consumers talking about both good and bad experiences from companies.  I listened in on a few, and here is a line I liked from a recent consumer interview about Southwest Airlines.  Mike, the consumer, said this about one of the reasons he likes Southwest:  I feel as though they see me as a person, not just as a ticket and a way to make cash.  Prompted by the interviewer, Mike then goes on to share a story about a Southwest employee that went out of her way to help him feel better about a certain situation at the airport.

Pete, this is a great idea!  I would love to see this sorted by good vs bad experiences, as you are doing with your feedback.  We all need to hear more good experiences -that’s why this blog was started over 1.5 years ago!

Check it out, and let Pete know what you think (and tell him I sent ‘ya).  Readers, talk to me, too.  How do you best listen to your customer’s pure, unfiltered voice?  Monitoring the internet?  Social media?  Reviewing feedback letters?  Surveys?  Focus groups?  Tell us how you do it either via comments or by sending me email to becky at petraconsultinggroup dot com.

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22 Responses

  1. In addition to the usual listening posts (surveys, feedback from the frontlines, etc.), I encourage my clients to host customer roundtables to solicit customer input. This type of session is part focus-group, part relationship-building where the message is “we care about you and want to know what you’re thinking. ” And to spread the “voice of the customer” throughout the organization, key non-contact staff can be invited to observe (as long they won’t become defensive about anything negative that’s said), or a written transcript or audio recording of the session (made with the group’s permission) can be shared with ALL employees, not just those with customer contact.

    Thanks for sharing Pete’s idea in this post, Becky!

  2. Sybil, I have also used customer roundtables in the past, often part of a “customer advisory board” program. Building relationships is just as important as getting their un-edited feedback! I also like the idea of sharing the customers’ words with others in the organization in a recording or transcript. Too often, I see customer feedback from these sessions “summarized” into key takeaways, and that is what is shared with others. When one does this, one loses the customer’s passion and intention. Thanks, Sybil!

    Glenn, thank you for the link back! I like what you pulled out from Pete’s discussion. Thanks for continuing the conversation.

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