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CX Listening Posts

Most organizations are flooded with customer feedback, and the challenge is knowing what to do with it all. Maybe you have a steady stream of surveys, comments from your Customer Service center, emails to your website, tweets that tag your organization, feedback relayed by your front-line employees, or citizens who speak at your public meetings. And you may find that each of these sources of feedback differs from the others. How do you make sense of it all?

First of all, embrace All of these listening posts. Each provides valuable intelligence to guide your CX program, but it's important to establish what role each plays in your CX work.

The centerpiece of your Customer Experience Plan should be a robust, statistically valid survey of your customers. It should be based on a random sample that is representative and inclusive of your riders. The CX Survey, if done carefully, will be your most accurate source of information. That being said, it's not an instantaneous source. By the time data is processed and analyzed, the results could be weeks or months old.

BART surveyor carrying surveys and pens

In between customer surveys, other listening posts can fill the gap. Customer Service Center comments can be classified by issue and monitored for any spikes. This can give the CX Program intelligence on rapidly emerging issues that need an immediate response. Emails, tweets, and other sources of "live listening" can provide even more immediate insights, and should be monitored around the clock, with clear workflows established to get major problems addressed.

The downside of informal listening posts is that they are not necessarily representative and valid like a formal survey. It is possible, for example, for an interest group to mount a campaign to spike your comment line or twitter feed. That may be fine if the sentiments reflect your ridership as a whole, but you would need statistically valid survey results to have certainty. Similarly, people testifying their comments at your Board meetings or individuals tweeting about your service may or may not be representative of your riders as a whole. Beware of "management by tweet," for example, where you spend so much time chasing down information to answer tweets that you don't have time to address top pain points that come from the statistically-sound customer surveys.

The other downside of informal listening posts is that they may omit important CX issues. Many people don't bother to tweet, email, or come to a meeting when they have a concern. Only a small fraction might take the time to complain.

All in all, statistically sound surveys are the lifeblood of CX programs, although other more immediate listening posts can play an important role if used with caution.


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