Do You Know When to Ignore Customer Feedback?

While giving a speech to a group of association executives yesterday, I told them that there were only three factors in determining whether or not to act on customer (member) feedback. Those factors are impact, alignment, and feasibility.

Organizations are being given constant feedback through a variety of channels and I wanted to provide a framework to help determine what feedback to act upon and what feedback to ignore.

Impact means that acting upon the feedback will provide a benefit to your organization. That benefit can be financial or increase your reputation, or help you attract and retain customers.

Alignment means that acting on the feedback will align with your overall corporate strategy. It will help you move closer to your ideal future state.

Feasibility means that it is actually possible to act upon the feedback.

Only when all three of these factors are present, does it makes sense to act upon customer feedback. See the visual below to help explain why.

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If acting upon the feedback is feasible and can have an impact, but doesn’t align with your corporate direction, then you are taking a wrong turn.

If acting upon the feedback can have an impact and aligns with your corporate direction, but isn’t feasible, then it’s a pipe dream

If acting upon the feedback is feasible and aligns with your corporate direction, but will have no impact, you are wasting resources.

When you have all three, it is a game changer.

Do you know when to act upon customer feedback and when to ignore it?

How well aligned are your strategy and tactics?

I was speaking with a colleague yesterday before a volunteer fundraising meeting we were both attending and we were discussing growing my business internationally. He asked, “How have you been able to grow your business internationally with no staff?”

As I was describing to him how I have been successful by asking for and receiving introductions from friends and colleagues, and mentioned some of the places where I am building strong connections, another colleague entered the room. She overheard me mention a couple of cities and said, “I know people in those cities.” She then mentioned a few people she knew and their roles and asked if I would be interested in being introduced to them. I said, “Of course.”

I then looked at my other colleague and said, “You just saw firsthand how I’ve been able to grow my business internationally.”

If you are clear about your strategy (mine is growing internationally), then the tactics you employ need to be directly aligned with that strategy (in my case, asking for direct introductions to prospective clients outside of Canada from people I know well).

How well aligned are your strategy and tactics?