Federer, Feedback and CX


Roger Federer is a legend. So far (yes, I believe he still has a couple of more to win) he has won a record 19 Grand Slam titles, and over $100 million in prize money. He is the best of the best. A GOAT (Greatest Of All Time).

Roger is coached by Stefan Edberg, who was #1 and won 6 Grand Slam titles, Ivan Ljubicic, who has a career high #3 and never reached a Grand Slam final, and Severin Lüthi, the head-coach, who gave up tennis when he was 20 with career high #622 and no titles!

Now the question is: Why does Federer need or even seek advice and feedback from people who are light-years away from his capability? People who have never even dreamed of achieving what the Swiss was able to achieve? People, like his head-coach, who have nothing to show for in tennis?

The answer is simple, and one that applies to you and your company. No matter how successful you are, you can never turn down a piece of advice and you always need feedback on how to improve. That is the only way you will be able to keep improving, and that is how the best keep being successful.

It doesn’t matter if the feedback comes from who you might think knows less than you about your business, product or service. Sometimes all you need is another perspective. One that is different from yours. And turns out that most times, in particular in business, customers and employees know more about it than you. They’re the users, they’re the frontline!

In business feedback is absolutely crucial. The best companies not only embrace feedback but, above all, they act on it. Customer feedback and Employee feedback are probably the most important ones, as they give you a true reflection of the experience your company is delivering, allowing you to address and move forward. To capitalise on the good things and improve the bad ones.

If you’re only starting the feedback journey then you should look into surveying your customers and employees. Surveys are the primary building block of Voice-of-Customer or Employee (VoC / VoE) programs – a key part of Customer Experience programs – as they help you gauge how customers and employees feel about the experience you deliver.

Once you have the data collected you need to analyse and make sense of the feedback. And after that you need to be able to reach actionable insights. That is the difficult bit. Finding meaning in your data and identifying the trends. Things that sometimes are buried deep under customers’ free text comments or responses.

It’s been over a year, since I came across and started working with a technology that enables all of the above, Qualtrics. The world’s leading enterprise research platform with over 8,500 brands using it to manage their Experience. Be it the Customer Experience (CX), Employee Experience, Product Experience or Brand Experience.

The motto of this blog is “Customer Experience and Technology to Enable It“. Well here is a technology that will definitely enable you to improve the Customer Experience you deliver.

How to understand your customer

One of the key disciplines of Customer Experience (CX) is Customer Understanding. In order to design, implement and provide an outstanding CX, companies need to know and understand their customers, and their customers’ needs.

In order to do that, companies need customer insight, that can be collected from various sources, one of them being the customers themselves. For that a Voice-of-the-Customer (VoC) programme needs to be put in place.

VoC helps you understand customer requirements, and determine what they perceive as being most valuable to them. At this point, it is important to also be aware of the Kano Model, and the fact that there are different types of requirements:

  • Must-bes: those that customers expect by default. If met, they have no positive impact. If not met, they have huge negative impact.
  • One-dimensional: those that are stated by the company. If met, they result in additional satisfaction.  If not met, they result in dissatisfaction.
  • Attractive: those that will surprise and delight customers. If met, they will “wow” the customer. If not met, they will have no impact.

(Notice that it is normal to see, over time, a one-dimensional requirement become a must-be. And an attractive become a one-dimensional).

There are various ways to collect VoC.

  • Qualitative methods, like mining unsolicited customer feedback (e.g. phone calls, emails, social media), or conducting ethnographic research.
  • Quantitative methods, like analysing data from CRM and finance systems, or gathering information through surveys.

Qualitative research is extremely important and effective. Due to its nature, it is done on a small number of customers. However, results may be completely skewed if the customer sample is not quite right.

On the other hand, Quantitative research is done on a much larger number of customers. And this will allow companies to feel more confident on a more accurate picture of customers and their needs.

Research on a significantly large sample of customers can only be done when enabled by technology. There are various platforms available. In my opinion Qualtrics is probably the best, and one of the most trusted, platforms in the world.

(I first came across Qualtrics in the Summer of 2016, and the company I work for, Capventis, quickly decided to adopt it as one of the preferred technologies. Since then we built a team of certified Qualtrics experts, and have supported 30+ clients. It can be used for CX initiatives, as well as Employee, Brand or Product Experience).

With a complete understanding of the customer, his requirements, and what he values the most (or perceives as being of value) companies – those working under CX strategies (and with VoC programmes), or those undertaking CX initiatives (in particular at the research stage) – will be able to deliver outstanding experiences, differentiate in the marketplace and ultimately succeed and grow.