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« Complainers, cry-babies and whiners: How to break through the resistance | Main | Complainers, cry-babies and whiners: Smoking out resistance to culture change »

Complainers, cry-babies and whiners? Doesn't mean they're completely wrong

In the prior post, we catalogued some of the most frequently-encountered objections to changing customer metrics.  This time, we'll try to give the objectors the benefit of the doubt and search for what might be valid about their objections and arguments.

What about these objections is valid?

The people raising these objections may be disruptive and even irritating at times.  Sometimes, their objections are based on incomplete understanding of what is being proposed.  Often, they choose confrontational and argumentative ways to raise their issues.  In some cases, they aggressively attack the new metrics without making constructive or helpful counter-recommendations.

Nevertheless, they often raise issues out of a genuine concern for the company's best interests.  (Okay, not always, but often.)  Buried deep in many forms of resistance to change we often find kernels of truth.  These can help improve the solutions and actions you take.

A few of the points that may have some merit: 

  • Sophisticated and complex multi-question customer loyalty or satisfaction scores often provide stronger statistical correlations to customer behavior than do simpler, easier to understand metrics such as the Net Promoter Score.  In fact, in our client work, we have shown that you can get a 5-15% improvement in explanatory power moving from a radically simple Net Promoter Score based approach to one of the proprietary models based on multiple questions.
  • Changing from an existing metric to a new one almost always disrupts the organization in the short term.  Losing a baseline is scary, especially for the people closest to the data.  The anxiety caused by this can last for several months.  So leadership teams should anticipate this and develop ways to bridge from the old world to the new, if necessary.
  • Metrics with high sensitivity to changes in customer sentiment introduce more volatility in feedback and demand more attention.  For organizations accustomed to stable feedback scores that don't change much over time, this can create real consternation.
  • The scale used to gauge customer feedback matters, somewhat.  It must be simple, intuitive and help differentiate responses meaningfully, so that real differences in customer behavior correlate well with different responses.
  • Introducing a new scale can create some confusion, if not done thoughtfully.
  • No metric, by itself, tells an organization what to do.  So the new metric won't either.

Bottom line:  If your primary objective is statistical accuracy, stick with your current, proprietary index.  If you value stability and consistency over action, learning and impact, you should probably stick with what you've got.

There may be other "kernels of truth" in these objections.  See any I've missed?  Leave a comment.

Next time:  Proven techniques for addressing the objections.

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