You’re overloaded with data. Your organization collects so much feedback, it’s struggling to find space to store it.
And yet the company doesn’t seem to be getting ahead of its competitors the way you’d expect, with all that data at your fingertips.
What’s going wrong?
Well, take a closer look at the situation. You’ve got a ton of data, but your insight is incomplete. Your data sits in little silos scattered throughout the organization, so nobody has a clear view of everything at once. And if you can’t join up your data, you can forget about joined-up thinking.
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The problem: You’re gathering fragmented insight
In a typical business (one very much like your organization), insight is broken into three parts:
The Chief Marketing Officer collects data about prospects via market research agencies.
The Customer Service Director runs Voice of the Customer programs.
The HR Director runs the annual employee engagement project. (And if you think once a year is often enough to ask your employees how they’re doing, that’s a whole new problem all by itself!)
The information and insight from each of these segments of the business end up in a silo where it’s only seen and used by a small segment of decision-makers. What a waste!
The walls of these silos have three undesirable effects on your feedback systems and the insights they provide.
1. You’re collecting low-quality data
Even if the quality of your data collection and recording is high, the quality of your insight is spoiled if the data isn’t timely and relevant. This includes the relevance of one feedback channel’s results to another — your insight will be inconsistent and ill-suited for action if you can’t see the connections between market, customer and employee information.
You may gain some useful insight from each of these data sources, but with the incomplete insight, you’ll fail to spot trends or key changes that are only visible when the data are integrated with one another.
2. Your data collection is too rigid
When you collect data in a rigidly separated set of parallel channels, your analytical ability is crippled by the lack of flexibility and agility. Research through each of these channels independently can be painfully slow to yield useful insight, because your setup isn’t designed to understand or even be aware of the relationships between the channels, let alone manipulate them for competitive advantage.
A more flexible feedback system that lets you exchange data between all the relevant feedback channels puts you in control of the insight forged from integrated information. You’ll be more responsive to changes within your organization and changing market conditions if your research tools adapt to suit your evolving needs.
3. You’re spending too much on data collection
If your organization collects data through three separate channels, keeps it in three separate silos and reports it to three different leaders, that involves a lot of duplicated (or rather, triplicated!) effort and expense. Why invest so much effort for so little return?
The high cost of running three systems means that you’re spending money the business could put to better use in listening to customers, employees and prospects and acting on their feedback. Think how much of that money you could redirect into competitive action if you broke down those silo walls and streamlined data collection, analysis and reporting on all three channels into a single system with a single cost.
The solution: unified feedback management
What you need is a holistic view of your organization, merging feedback from multiple silos into one platform. Without a full-surround view of the landscape and your place within it, your data won’t yield the right insight to guide smart business decisions.
A commonly-used example of this concept is that if you studied water by looking at its hydrogen atoms independently of its oxygen atoms, you’d never be able to understand the water molecule — oxygen and hydrogen are both gases at room temperature, so you wouldn’t even realize that combining them as H2O creates a liquid!
Similarly, your company’s customers, prospects, and employees aren’t isolated from one another in real life, and a closer look reveals the correlations. A change in employee engagement and performance management can influence customer loyalty and boost customer lifetime value, for example. Perhaps instead of throwing resources at the latest customer loyalty fad, the company’s money could be better spent on increasing employee engagement and still deliver the desired result.
Unifying feedback so that you can see the data from all internal and external sources in one place lets you draw insights from patterns between datasets as well as within them. So why do most businesses treat these three pillars of feedback as separate units?
Often, they simply aren’t aware there’s an alternative. Or they’re aware of the possibilities unified feedback offers, but don’t believe their organization can carry the weight of such a complex endeavor.
You don’t have to carry it alone. Smart self-serve software or a managed service will put the research architecture in place and do all the heavy lifting for you so that your organization can simply “show up and plug in” to a real-time stream of unified insight.
Conclusion: the point of it all
Integrated data leads to intelligent action. Once you’ve started collecting smarter, faster feedback, don’t forget to use it smarter and faster, too. If your customers, employees and prospects don’t see you responding to their feedback, they won’t bother to offer it again.
You’ll need to pull up reports that help you see the vital patterns from which you can understand what’s been happening across the organization. You’ll need the kind of big-picture analysis that lets you forecast what will happen next. And you’ll need the spark of creative thinking that generates ideas for improving the future.
Maybe you’ll get those reports, big-picture views and ideas for improvement by hiring and developing smart minds to cross-reference and interpret all your data. Maybe you’ll get them by choosing a software solution that delivers everything you need in one accessible package.
Either way, once you have the insight and you’ve evaluated the ideas, you only need one more thing: action.
Has your business adopted a unified feedback management strategy yet? If you have comments or insights Meet us over on Linkedin. We’d love to hear from you.
Or, if you want to try out Questback for your business click here.
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