How to make a pig fatter (part 2 of 2)

The best customer feedback I’ve ever seen. And nobody asked them for it. Customers were so delighted at their re-designed service they spontaneously said these words. But before all this, before the thinking changed the service, this was how we got customer feedback….

[wibbly lines please]

On the first day that I started to do some work with a service in my organisation, I walked past a notice board with posters up about it.
The results of a survey from the previous year were on there proudly boasting that 85% of customers were “satisfied” with the speed it took to process their claims.
But the number one type of failure demand was customers ringing up to ask what had happened with their claim, as they had waited so long. Hmm.

40% said ‘Who are you, and who let you into my bedroom?”

This survey also said that customers were delighted with letters and forms we sent them.
Except that was the second largest type of failure demand, customers didn’t understand the stuff we sent them.

The main data from the customer satisfaction survey told us the complete opposite of what we found when when we started listening to demand.

Like Rami, we didn’t start to get proper knowledge until we asked different questions, and not of customers in surveys but by listening to what was happening in the work. Customers were walking and phoning in every day and telling us what mattered to them, we just weren’t listening.

Listening to demand is the start of understanding your service. There’s nothing before that other than going and finding where it is. So don’t do anything else until you’ve done it. Put down that survey, pick up the phone.

By shutting up our surveys and just opening our ears we found a story of peoples lives being made miserable by a system designed to serve internal targets not customers.

Managers listening to demand in the work is the start of unpeeling the old command and control thinking.
Managers sitting in a meeting room looking at customer satisfaction measures in a report or powerpoint IS the old thinking.

So that’s how we started to improve, by listening to demand at the source, in the work.
So what was the results of this then?

[wibbly lines please]

This is what we found customers felt about our new re-designed service:

  • 2 out of 3 customers voluntarily gave us feedback without being asked. No confidence levels needed here.
  • 100% of the feedback offered wasn’t EXCELLENT it was better than that, it was real.

Not satisfied but like this…


They are verbatim unprompted customer words. No satisfaction rating but the genuine tang of reality.

That “wordle” at the top of this post is made up of all the words in the customer feedback. The largest word in it is “sorted”. This was the word said the most by customers. They said this the most because that’s what mattered the most to them. Getting the certainty of a closed claim, whether they got more or less than they hoped for, it was the closure of it that mattered to them.

This could not what would have been found out by asking through a traditional customer satisfaction survey. It couldn’t have been found out because it wouldn’t have occurred to us to ask. They had been asked in the past about legibility of letters, ease of filling in of forms. Nobody had thought to ask because we didn’t know what mattered to them, but it didn’t matter as they were saying it all along, we just had to stop and listen to demand.

Keen eyed readers might be feeling short changed. The title of this two part series is “How to make a pig fatter”, and there’s been no mention of pigs at all.

So, how do you make a pig fatter? No idea. But weighing a pig doesn’t make it any fatter, so asking a pig how much it would like to weigh certainly won’t work.

I am 95% confident that this pig is tasty

This entry was posted in customer, knowledge, me doing it, systems thinking, systems thinking in housing benefits and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to How to make a pig fatter (part 2 of 2)

  1. Pingback: How not to be loved | thinkpurpose

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