I first heard these words years ago while being informed that I had lost a sale: First we count the votes and then we weigh them. Everyone at my sales presentation voted for my proposal except for one person, the Vice President of Sales. I had 14 yes votes and one no vote. The one no vote carried the day; the sale went to my competitor.
Why am I reliving this painful experience? It illustrates a very important point when reviewing customer feedback: Not all customers and customer contacts are created equal. Some have greater value to you. Some have greater authority, greater credibility, greater influence, and greater potential. In short, some have greater weight.
When reviewing customer feedback, it is important to look at both what was said and who said it. Is the feedback from someone who plays a significant role in the decision process? Are they the decision maker? Is the person an influencer who plays either a major or minor role in the decision? Or is the person an individual contributor, whose role is important but not key to the decision-making process?
As your company plans actions to respond to customer feedback, it is critical to both count the number of times specific customer comments are made about an issue and weigh the comments in terms of who said them.
We all usually lack unlimited resources to deal with customer issues. Decisions about how and where to spend valuable resources to address customer concerns must in part be based on not only the frequency that specific comments occur, but also on the weight they carry. Smart organizations invest their limited resources where they can achieve the greatest return.
To achieve the best results, count your customer comments and then weigh them.