Continuous Listening

Listening to customers so as to align business strategy and ground level actions that address, alleviate and enhance customer experience is clearly the road to business growth. This is specifically true in a low differentiated and crowded market space with players jostling each other with an USP that is not even discerned by the customer.

Listening to customers comes in two avatars,

  • One that looks at the holistic picture that provides a customer view on future expectations, brand perceptions and satisfaction level of the engagement on the whole.
  • The other looks at listening to customers at key points of impact during the engagement to get a true sense of what actually worked or didn’t. Known as deciphering “The moment of Truth”, helps organizations capture sentiment closest to the time and enables introduction of quick interventions that effectively result in significantly improved customer satisfaction/experience.

The Greek philosopher, Aristotle mentions that “A whole is greater than the sum of its parts” to say a complete picture gives you bigger insight compared to collation of insights of specific parts. The corollary to it also is that a key (referring to a high impact) transaction experience with its urgency and impact gets toned down due to time and its position as a part in the overall picture.

THE WHOLE IS SIMPLER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS

In a B2B scenario, where two organizations interact, it becomes all the more critical to manage expectations and residual impressions after each high impact transaction, whether it be a sale, delivery, service or grievance handling. This could potentially decide re purchase or even advocacy of the product / service and brand.

Actionable Insights gleaned from Transaction Listening (Continuous Listening) adds critical nuances to customer experience. Quick and tactical interventions are introduced at the ground level that significantly enhance customer experience apart from creating robust inputs for strategy and holistic customer assessment.

Transaction Listening: Key stakeholders

Benefits gleaned from “Transaction Listening” of “Moment of Truth” transactions percolates across stakeholders be it a) Customers b) Employees c) Distributor Network or even d) Investors. Valuable and actionable insights received bring back and/or fortify customers, service and reputation

Perceptions regarding the service, product or brand is not completely in control of the organization esp. in the socially active digital world. This is driven by various stakeholders of the organization be it customer, employee or even distributor within their highly influential virtual networks.

There are two significant points to ponder about this, firstly, it is critical to monitor and manage stakeholders beyond customer due to the possible impacts on brand and organization perception and secondly it is definitely imperative that one listens on the ground to access the window of opportunity that help to assess and react quickly with tactical interventions to bring back the customer/stakeholder and even enhance their experience closer to time.

High impact transactions differ according to stakeholders, the industry one is in and the engagement value and history with the customer.

A critical inward analysis and response to a holistic customer assessment will provide clues to what needs transaction listening. Some thoughts given below:

Organizations that ‘continuously listen’ on high impact transaction across multiple stake holders typically customer and employee have significant returns in terms of stickiness, positive perception and business growth.

Transaction Listening: Framework and Process

Feedback insights based on its 35 years of B2B research and consulting, industry insights and the SERVQUAL[1] model uses the TRAACT framework. The framework is used to help organisations reduce customer dissonance and enhance customer experience through listening within the right context, time and place.

TRAACT Framework brings a spotlight to customers / stakeholders

  1. Tangible Needs
  2. Reliability
  3. Accuracy
  4. Availability
  5. Credibility
  6. Trust

The framework helps put together key elements that enables

  • Step 1 – Measuring of Experience
  • Step 2 – Analysing key causes
  • Step 3 – Recommending right interventions
[1] The model of service quality, popularly known as the gaps model was developed by A. ParasuramanValarie A. Zeithaml and Len Berry, in a systematic research program carried out between 1983 and 1988.

The TRAACT framework is applied to continuous listening at the transaction level or an overall level. The transaction typically delved into is high impact, needs deeper customer satisfaction monitoring or is critical to over all organization strategy. Key steps include:

* Recommended as an actionable insights’ framework, helps organizations assess gaps, understand causes for gaps and build the right interventions to bridge them.