Tag Archives: Surveys

Are Your Customer Surveys Costing You Business?

Are Your Customer Surveys Costing You Business?

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

Why does a company send out a customer satisfaction survey? Generally, it is to find out if they did a good job or what they can do to make the experience better.

In the weekly Super Amazing Show I do with Brittany Hodak, we talked about surveys. The general consensus was that shorter was better. After the show, we heard from John Hughes, who is connected with me on LinkedIn. Here is a shortened version of his comment:

“Saying, ‘Short surveys are better,’ is a bit like saying tall people are better at basketball. Yes, it helps, but you still have to be talented and have that extra ‘something’ to be a professional basketball player. … Rather than focusing on short surveys, I would say companies should truly investigate the principles by which customers choose them and then try to match the survey to the customers’ willingness to help. Ironically, customers at top service companies (think Ritz-Carlton, USAA, Chewy, Amazon, and Navy Federal Credit Union) are actually more willing to take longer surveys because they appreciate the relationship. An unwillingness to take a survey can be the most direct measure they do not value the relationship.”

First, I love John’s comment, especially the analogy to professional basketball. I won’t argue that some brands have customers who are more willing to take the longer surveys; however, Brittany and I were talking in general terms. And in general, short surveys get higher response rates. I shared with John that depending on how many surveys are sent out – as in a large number – the company can keep the surveys short and ask different questions, which should give them similar feedback as if they sent out fewer longer surveys.

Shep Hyken Customer Survey Cartoon

Here are some findings from our 2024 Customer Service and CX research (sponsored by RingCentral) that back up my comments:

  1. In 2024, 67% of customers said they don’t complete surveys if they are too long.
  2. Furthermore, almost one in five (19%) of customers stopped doing business with a company or brand because its satisfaction surveys were too long.
  3. And 23% of customers stopped doing business with a company because it kept sending too many surveys.

It’s not all gloom and doom for surveys. There are plenty of people who are happy to complete surveys, and we’ll share some of those findings later this year.

Back to John’s comment about customers at top service companies who will take the time to answer longer surveys. There are some rock star brands that are so good that customers are compelled to share their experience in a survey, be it long or short. But for most of us mere mortals, we should pay attention to what most customers are telling us about customer satisfaction surveys.

Image Credits: Unsplash

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Why Business Strategies Should Not Be Scientific

Why Business Strategies Should Not Be Scientific

GUEST POST from Greg Satell

When the physicist Richard Feynman took the podium to give the commencement speech at CalTech in 1974, he told the strange story of cargo cults. In certain islands in the South Pacific, he explained, tribal societies had seen troops build airfields during World War and were impressed with the valuable cargo that arrived at the bases.

After the troops left, the island societies built their own airfields, complete with mock radios, aircraft and mimicked military drills in the hopes of attracting cargo themselves. It seems more than a little silly, and of course, no cargo every came. Yet these tribal societies persisted in their strange behaviors.

Feynman’s point was that we can’t merely mimic behaviors and expect to get results. Yet even today, nearly a half century later, many executives and business strategists have failed to learn that simple lesson by attempting to inject “science” into strategy. The truth is that while strategy can be informed by science, it can never be, and shouldn’t be, truly scientific.

Why Business Case Studies Are Flawed

In 2004, I was leading a major news organization during the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. What struck me at the time was how thousands of people, who would ordinarily be doing thousands of different things, would stop what they were doing and start doing the same thing, all at once, in nearly perfect unison, with little or no formal coordination.

That’s what started the journey that ultimately resulted in my book, Cascades. I wanted to harness those same forces to create change in a business context, much like the protesters in Ukraine achieved in a political context and countless others, such as the LGBT activists, did in social contexts. In my research I noticed how different studies of political and social movements were from business case studies.

With historical political and social movements, such as the civil rights movement or the United States or the anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa, there was abundant scholarship often based on hundreds, if not thousands of contemporary accounts. Business case studies, on the other hand, were largely done by a small team performing a handful of interviews.

When I interviewed people involved in the business cases, I found that they shared some important features with political and social movements that weren’t reported in the case studies. What struck me was that these features were noticed at the time, and in some cases discussed, but weren’t regarded as significant.

To be clear, I’m not arguing that my research was more “scientific,” but I was able to bring a new perspective. Business cases are, necessarily, usually focused on successful efforts, researched after the fact and written from a management perspective. We rarely get much insight into failed efforts or see perspectives from ordinary customers, line workers, competitors and so on.

The Halo Effect

Good case studies are written by experienced professionals who are trained to analyze a business situations from a multitude of perspectives. However, their ability to do that successfully is greatly limited by the fact that they already know the outcome. That can’t help but to color their analysis.

In The Halo Effect, Phil Rosenzweig explains how those perceptions can color conclusions. He points to the networking company Cisco during the dotcom boom. When it was flying high, it was said to have an unparalleled culture with happy people who worked long hours but loved every minute of it. When the market tanked, however, all of the sudden its culture came to be seen as “cocksure” and “naive.”

It is hard to see how company’s culture could change so drastically in such a short amount of time, with no significant change in leadership. More likely, given a successful example, analysts looked at particular qualities in a positive light. However, when things began to go the other way, those same qualities were perceived as negative.

So when an organization is doing well, we see them as “idealistic” and “values driven,” but when things go sour, those same traits are seen as “arrogant” and “impractical.” Given the same set of facts, we can, and often do, come to very different conclusions when our perception of the outcomes changes.

The Problem with Surveys

Besides case studies, another common technique to analyze business trends and performance are executive surveys. Typically, a research company or consulting firm sends out questionnaires to a few hundred executives and then analyze the results. Much like Feynman described, surveys give these studies an air of scientific rigor.

This appearance of scientific rigor is largely a mirage. Yes, there are numbers, graphs and pie charts, much as your would see in a scientific paper, but there are usually important elements missing, such as a clearly formulated formulated hypothesis, a control group, and a peer review process.

Another problematic aspect is that these types of studies emphasize what a typical executive thinks about a particular business issue or trend. So what they really examine is the current zeitgeist, which may or may not reflect current market reality. A great business strategy does not merely reflect what typical executives know, but exploits what they do not.

Perhaps most importantly, these types of surveys are generally not marketed as simple opinion surveys, but as sources of profound insight designed to help leaders get an edge over their competitors. The numbers, graphs and pie charts are specifically designed to look “scientific” in order to make them appear to be statements of empirical fact.

Your Strategy Is Always Wrong, You Have to Make It Right

We’d like strategy to be scientific, because few leaders like to admit that they are merely betting on an idea. Nobody wants to go to their investors and say, “I have a hunch about something and I’d like to risk significant resources to find out if I’m right.” Yet that’s exactly what successful business do all the time.

If strategy was truly scientific, then you would expect management to get better over time, much as, say, cancer treatment or technology performance does. However, just the opposite seems to be the case. The average tenure on the S&P 500 has been shrinking for decades and CEOs get fired more often.

The truth is that strategy can never be scientific, because the business context is always evolving. Even if you have the right strategy today, it may not be the right strategy for tomorrow. Changes in technology, consumer behavior and the actions of your competitors make that a near certainty.

So instead of assuming that your strategy is right, a much better course is to assume that it is wrong in at least some aspects. Techniques like pre-mortems and red teams can help you to expose flaws in a strategy and make adjustments to overcome them. The more you assume you are wrong, the better your chances are of being right.

Or, as Feynman himself put it, “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.”

— Article courtesy of the Digital Tonto blog
— Image credit: Pixabay

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Top 20 Customer Experience All-Stars of 2022

Top 20 Customer Experience All-Stars

by Braden Kelley

Recently Forbes and HundredX partnered together to produce a list for three hundred (300) customer experience all-stars utilizing an extensive online survey over the course of 2022, gathering 3.7+ million ratings of more than 2,220 unique brands.

121,000 respondents chose and rated the brands and products they view most positively across more than a dozen categories scoring the company’s products, services and treatment of customers.

The list at the link above can be searched for a specific company or sorted by brand category. If you want to see all 300, go there, but if you just want to see the Top 20 Customer Experience All-Stars, here they are:

  1. Buc-ee’s
  2. Chick-fil-A
  3. Toyota
  4. Costco
  5. In-N-Out Burger
  6. See’s Candies
  7. Trader Joe’s
  8. Chewy
  9. Lexus
  10. Publix Super Markets
  11. Honda
  12. Wawa
  13. Mario
  14. Dutch Bros. Coffee
  15. Zelda
  16. QuikTrip
  17. Marriott
  18. Apple iPad
  19. Wegmans Food Markets
  20. Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants

Here is an example of the first page of a brand survey from their methodology:

CX All Stars Survey Page 1

From here it goes into what’s good and not so good about the product, what’s good and not so good about the platform & company, and then digs into why the survey participant said certain items were good or not so good, before finishing with an open comments box and a rating of future usage and 10-point scale on likelihood of recommendation. People can rate up to seventy-five brands.


Customer Experience is incredibly important, and recently in my article Brewing a Better Customer Experience I laid out both the Seven Characteristics of a Great Customer Experience and also the Seven Steps to a Better Customer Experience. Both lists are available there as downloadable PDF flip books.

And while I disagree on certain elements of the methodology used to craft this list, particularly the comingling of brands and products together in the same list, it nonetheless helps to shine a light on the importance of focusing on delivering a great customer experience – and that’s a good thing.

People often underestimate the importance of customer experience in the success of any business. Luckily research has been done on the impact of customer experience on sales, and here are three of my favorites:

  • “86% of users are inclined to pay more for a great customer experience.” (source: Super Office)
  • “32% of customers “break up” with a favorite brand after one poor customer experience.” (source: Iperceptions)
  • “64% of buyers consider customer experience more important than price.” (source: Iperceptions)

Finally, very soon I will be publishing a series of new Customer Experience articles on the HCLTech Blog that will go into some of the next practices for customer experience research, personas, journey mapping, and experience improvement. I will introduce and link to them here, so stay tuned!

Image credit: Unsplash, HundredX

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CEOs Say Creativity is the Most Critical Factor for Future Success

CEOs Say Creativity is the Most Critical Factor for Future Success

GUEST POST from Linda Naiman

According to the IBM 2010 Global CEO Study, which surveyed 1,500 Chief Executive Officers from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide, CEOs believe that,

“More than rigor, management discipline, integrity or even vision — successfully navigating an increasing complex world will require creativity.”

IBM CEO Study: Creative Leadership

CEOs say creativity helps them capitalise on complexity

“The effects of rising complexity calls for CEOs and their teams to lead with bold creativity, connect with customers in imaginative ways and design their operations for speed and flexibility to position their organisations for twenty-first century success.”

Amen to that! If we are going to find solutions in a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected and complex, we cannot rely on traditional ways of leading and managing.

Creativity is the most important leadership quality

Facing a world becoming dramatically more complex, it is interesting that CEOs selected creativity as the most important leadership attribute. Creative leaders invite disruptive innovation, encourage others to drop outdated approaches and take balanced risks. They are open-minded and inventive in expanding their management and communication styles, particularly to engage with a new generation of employees, partners and customers.

High-performing CEOs practice and encourage experimentation and innovation throughout their organisations. Creative leaders expect to make deeper business model changes to realise their strategies. To succeed, they take more calculated risks, find new ideas and keep innovating in how they lead and communicate.

The most successful organisations co-create products and services with customers, and integrate customers into core processes.

They are adopting new channels to engage and stay in tune with customers. By drawing more insight from the available data, successful CEOs make customer intimacy their number one priority.

95 percent of top performing organizations identified getting closer to customers as their most important strategic initiative over the next five years – using Web, interactive, and social media channels to rethink how they engage with customers and citizens. They view the historic explosion of information and global information flows as opportunities, rather than threats.

Better performers manage complexity on behalf of their organisations, customers and partners.

They do so by simplifying operations and products, and increasing dexterity to change the way they work, access resources and enter markets around the world. Compared to other CEOs, dexterous leaders expect 20 percent more future revenue to come from new sources. 54 percent of CEOs from top performing companies indicated they are learning to respond swiftly with new ideas to address the deep changes affecting their organizations.


IBM 2010 Global CEO Study: Creativity Selected as Most Crucial Factor for Future Success — May 18, 2010

My reflection

As a practitioner in the world of business creativity and innovation over the past twenty years, I am heartened by this encouraging news. We’ve all been tracking the success of innovators at companies like Google and Apple, and now it looks like a second wave of creativity and innovation is penetrating C-level leadership. We truly have entered the Age of Creativity.

Whole Brain Creativity

Develop creative leadership in your business:

  • Discover your Creativity and Innovation styles
  • Leverage the four intelligences of creative thinking in your team
  • Develop a language and structure for managing the creative process
  • Create a climate conductive to fostering creativity and innovation
  • Design and conduct high-performance idea-generation/problem-solving sessions
  • Recognize when and how creativity is stifled and be able to prevent this
  • Build innovation and critical thinking into individual and teamwork processes.

Image credits: Pixabay and Linda Naiman

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How to Write a Good Market Research Survey

How to Write a Good Market Research Survey

GUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

Market research surveys are one of the most effective ways to gain insights into the needs, wants and opinions of your target audience. With the right survey, you can uncover data that can help you make better decisions about product development, marketing campaigns and more. But what makes a good market research survey? Here are a few tips to help you create a survey that yields actionable data.

1. Identify Your Goals

Before you start creating questions for your survey, take a step back and identify the goals of the survey. What do you hope to learn or uncover? By taking the time to identify your goals, you’ll be better able to craft questions that are on-point and will yield useful data.

2. Write Clear, Concise Questions

When writing questions for your survey, make sure they are clear, concise and easy to understand. Avoid double-barreled questions, which ask two questions at once, and complex questions that require a lot of thought to answer. Aim to make the survey as easy to take as possible.

3. Include Open-Ended Questions

While closed-ended questions are good for gathering quantitative data, open-ended questions can be useful for gathering qualitative insights. Consider including some open-ended questions in your survey to get a better understanding of how people feel about your product or service.

4. Keep the Survey Short

Surveys should be as short as possible to increase the response rate. Aim for no more than 10-15 questions. Also, make sure the survey can be completed in 10 minutes or less.

5. Test Your Survey

Before you launch your survey, make sure to test it with a few people first. Ask them to take the survey and see if any of the questions are confusing or unclear. Make any necessary changes based on their feedback.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to create a market research survey that yields meaningful insights that can help you make better decisions.

Image credit: Pixabay

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What is your level of Innovation Maturity?

Innovation Maturity Introduction

When it comes to innovation, no two companies are likely to be pursuing innovation in the same way, and they are also likely to be at different stages of innovation maturity. Because of this, even if you found out what your competitor’s innovation strategy was, it would be of no use to you. It is necessary for an innovation strategy to be tailored to your organization’s level of innovation maturity, your corporate strategy, and your innovation vision.

Free Innovation Maturity AssessmentAn organization’s innovation maturity level is important because you must first master a certain set of basic innovation capabilities before implementing more advanced innovation approaches into your strategy. For example, an organization just getting started on their innovation journey would be foolish to try and implement open innovation in their organization. Every organization should get their idea generation (including evolution), idea evaluation, and idea commercialization policies and processes working well with their employees first before opening themselves up to the outside world. Your organization’s innovation strategy must be appropriate to your level of innovation maturity for your innovation efforts to be successful.

I developed the graphic below to explain the different levels of innovation maturity based on some thinking from Wharton professors Christian Terwiesch and Karl T. Ulrich, and I think it allows executives to determine at a glance where their organization is across the spectrum. I hope you find it useful.

Free Innovation Maturity Assessment

Special OfferTo help people evaluate their level of innovation maturity against the above graphic, I am sharing the 50 question innovation maturity assessment I use with clients. The assessment is most powerful when answers are gathered at multiple levels of the organization across several groups and several sites, but you can also fill it out yourself and get instant feedback – for FREE.

To get even more out of the innovation maturity assessment, for a nominal fee, I can help you organize a multiple group and/or multiple physical location survey of people in the organization to capture not just your level of innovation maturity, but also to provide preliminary innovation diagnostics on the areas of innovation challenge and opportunity in your organization.

I can set up a research study to capture a baseline innovation maturity level and analyze the data to unlock insights about the relative health of your innovation efforts. For a limited time, I will provide this service for the special introductory price of $499.99.

Click here to purchase the innovation diagnostic service
(Get help using the innovation maturity assessment across multiple sites and job functions and analyzing the results)

Innovation Maturity Model

Innovation Maturity Assessment Scoring Key (showing level of maturity)

Point totals are translated to the innovation maturity model as follows:

  • 000-100 = Level 1 – Reactive
  • 101-130 = Level 2 – Structured
  • 131-150 = Level 3 – In Control
  • 151-180 = Level 4 – Internalized
  • 181-200 = Level 5 – Continuously Improving

Click here to access the Innovation Maturity Assessment

Innovation Maturity Assessment Instructions

1. Read each statement and determine how much you agree with each one, using this scale:

  • 0 – None
  • 1 – A Little
  • 2 – Partially
  • 3 – Often
  • 4 – Fully

2. Select the answer for each question that is most appropriate.

The form will score the innovation maturity assessment and return a result to you via email along with the SCORING KEY and the Innovation Maturity Model graphic. Store the result as a baseline and come back annually and re-take the assessment to measure your progress!

Click here to access the Innovation Maturity Assessment

Click here to purchase the innovation diagnostic service
(Get help using the innovation maturity assessment across multiple sites and job functions and analyzing the results)

* Graphic adapted from the book Innovation Tournaments by Christian Terwiesch and Karl Ulrich

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Is Innovation a Priority for CEOs?

Is Innovation a Priority for CEOs?

We’d all like to be the best at everything and to make everything a priority, but that’s just not the real world.

So what did CEOs say was their priority when they were surveyed by KPMG for their Global CEO Outlook 2015.

Here are nine of the key findings from the report:

  1. 62% of CEOs are optimistic on the economy
  2. 54% are optimistic on company performance
  3. 74% believe the competitive environment is getting tougher
  4. 52% believe aggressive growth strategies prevail
  5. 30% feel they are not risking enough for growth
  6. 86% are concerned about the loyalty of their customers
  7. 42% are pursuing a mix of both organic and inorganic growth
  8. 47% of CEOs are pursuing significant geographic expansion
  9. 73% feel regulatory environment having a big impact on their business

It is also interesting that American CEOs are more pessimistic about growth prospects than their international brethren:

KPMG CEOs Confidence

Especially given that survey respondents see the greatest potential for growth in the United States:

KPMG Growth Potential

And while American, German, and Japanese CEOs definitely live in the most mature markets, part of their growth pessimism may come from more completely grasping the impact of the top four concerns of CEOs voiced in the survey:

KPMG Top 4 Concerns

“Maintaining status quo, while incredibly comfortable, is the most risky thing you can do in today’s world.” – Mark A. Goodburn, Global Head of Advisory, KPMG

Most interesting for me is the chart at the very top that shows fostering innovation as a lower priority than developing new growth strategies. Obviously innovation is just one component of any holistic growth strategy, but shouldn’t fostering innovation be a little more important if CEOs hope to create sustainable growth?

But it shouldn’t be surprising that this option scored the lowest, because my experience has been that leaders want innovation but they often aren’t willing to invest the dollars required when the rubber hits the road, and even more troublesome is that many leaders don’t understand how to foster innovation. Most CEOs see innovation as a project and not as an organizational capability they need to develop in order to help fend off disruption. Anyways, here are the top three barriers to innovation CEOs identified in the survey:

  1. Rapidly changing customer dynamics
  2. Unsure of which technologies will deliver the greatest return
  3. Budget constraints

Maybe there is no money for innovation and companies are so worried about disruption is because the survey tagged the CFO as the executive gaining the most clout in the C-suite and the CIO came in last. Just a thought.

So what’s holding you back from making sustained innovation a priority?

Accelerate your change and transformation success

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Your Chance to Help Change Change

Your Chance to Help Change ChangeMy first book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire was designed to help organizations identify and remove barriers to innovation, but readers also found it to be a great primer on how to take a structured, sustainable approach to innovation, and as a result the book has found its way into university courses and libraries around the world.

I’ve been thinking over the last few years about where I could provide the most value in a follow-up book, and it came to me that innovation is really all about change and that where most organizations fail to achieve innovation is in successfully making all of the changes necessary to transform their inventions into innovations. At the same time, the world has changed, the pace of change is accelerating and organizations are struggling to cope with the speed of changes required of them, including the digital transformation they need to make.

So, my next book, this time for Palgrave Macmillan, will focus on highlighting the best practices and next practices of organizational change. And where does any successful change effort begin?

With good planning. But it is really hard for most people to successfully plan a change effort, because it is hard to visualize everything that needs to be considered and everything that needs to be done to affect the changes necessary to support an innovation, a digital transformation effort, a merger integration, or any other kind of needed organizational change.

But my Change Planning Toolkit™ and my new book (January 2016) are being designed to help you get everyone literally all on the same page for change. Both the book and my collaborative, visual Change Planning Toolkit™ are nearly complete. But before they are, I’d like to engage you, the intelligent, insightful Innovation Change Management community to help contribute your wisdom and experience to the book.

I’m looking for a few change management tips and quotes attributable to you (not someone else) to include in the book along with the other best practices and next practices of organizational change that I’ve collected and the introduction to my Change Planning Toolkit™ that I’m preparing.

It’s super simple to contribute. Just fill out the form, and the best contributions will make it into the book or into a series of articles that I’ll publish here and on a new site focused on organizational change that I’m about ready to launch.

I look forward to seeing your great organizational change quotes and tips!

UPDATE: The book is now out! Grab a copy here:

Accelerate your change and transformation success

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