Last week I received a cold call on behalf of an organisation who’d provided my business with some support. The caller asked if I’d be happy to have a conversation with them to gather feedback. As this is something I do for my clients (albeit not cold), I agreed (with the caveat that as it was my non-work day, my toddler would be in the background likely to be demanding snacks!).
The caller said the conversation would be recorded for training and quality purposes and asked if I was okay with that. Again, this is something I do with my client listening calls, so I said I was fine with it.
It then became apparent that our reasons for recording calls weren’t aligned. I record calls to enable me to provide my client with a transcript, but more importantly to have an engaging and free-flowing conversation with the interviewee.
My experience went like this:
Caller: Asked qualitative question
Me: Gave my answer
Caller: Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap as they recorded my answer and I hung on the line
This was repeated a number of times and was followed by:
Caller: Asked quantitative question followed by so many options I can’t remember the first ones they mentioned!
Me: Umm, please can you repeat those
Caller: Asks a number of other quantitative questions with the same long list of options!
The lady asking the questions was delightful, but the overall experience wasn’t great. So, how would I recommend making sure your client listening delivers the best experience?
1) Schedule the calls in advance so the participant can choose a time most suited to them. For me, 4pm on a Friday afternoon would have been my last choice for a call.
2) Record the calls (with permission) and give the participants your full attention. They don’t want to hear you tapping away at your keyboard while you record their answers or see the top of your head while you furiously scribble notes. This also takes up more of their valuable time.
3) Don’t ask quantitative questions with lengthy options – if you can avoid it, skip quantitative question altogether on a call. They give you lots of data for graphs and charts but limited in-depth insight – save them for online surveys. The one exception to this is one ranking question such as Net Promoter Score or Customer Satisfaction Score.
Client listening interviews are an investment – both of your budget and your client’s time. Conducted well, they extremely valuable, and your clients will view them as a demonstration of your commitment to the relationship. Conducted not so well, they are a waste of everyone’s time and money.
Please do get in touch if you’d like to know more about how I can help your client listening programme become a core, and useful part of your overall client experience.