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Questioning The Questions—The Truth About Your Data

You’ve probably been on one of those calls to a service provider where having pressed, one, then two, then one again and being on hold for fifteen minutes you finally get to speak to a human being. Sadly, the undervalued team member at the call centre is charged with doing his best to troubleshoot his way off this call and on to the next in the minimum amount of time, while trying to avoid escalating your enquiry to a call out.

Eventually with the appointment time booked (without written confirmation as there is no template in his system that allows him to send an email or text) the operator asks if you can, ‘hang on the line to answer a two question survey to rate his service today, which was hopefully ten out of ten.’

And the questions are as follows:

A. Did we solve your problem today?
Yes or no.

B. On a scale of 1-10 how likely are you to recommend us to family and friends?
10 being the, ‘without a doubt because you are so awesome score.’

This kind of quantitative data gathering is flawed on so many levels. The framing of the questions is designed to get the answer you’re hoping for, and not necessarily the right answer or the most useful answer—the one that’s going to help your business to improve and make customers rave about your service.

12 Questions To Help You Gather More Useful Data

1. What are we really measuring here?

2. Are we willing to be more wrong than right?

3. Does what we are measuring actually help us to serve the customer better?

4. Who is this data trying to please?

5. Why does this matter to the customer?

6. What does the customer want us to obsess about?

7. How does what we measure change the posture of our team for better or worse?

8. Are we asking the right questions in the right way?

9. How to we know that we’re asking the most useful questions?

10. Are we trying to get at the truth so we can fix something or are we trying to confound it.

11. If we could only measure one thing what would that be?

12. Why aren’t we already measuring that?

The most useful questions we can ask are often the ones that prove us wrong rather than right.

Image by IMF.