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Without trust, a business cannot grow. Without reputation a business cannot be trusted.

Without trust-comcastCustomers prefer to buy from companies they trust. When consumers’  choices are limited and they have to do business with companies they don’t trust, customers only care about price or looking for ways to avoid to do business all together.

The television broadcasting companies are the best example of the latter. Most, if not all, research into sentiment of the industry’s customers, consistently shows their disdain with having to support these companies. There is a growing number of consumers who prefer to find ways of “cutting the cord” rather than buy from the companies they distrust.

The regulatory environment and capital requirements for potential direct competitors have left consumers as prey of established operators, who would rather spend money on lobbying government agencies than on finding ways to improve experience of their customers. On the surface, the growth of these corporate giants seems to challenge the argument “without trust, a business cannot grow”. However, if you look deeper into their corporate reports, you will notice that most of their growth comes from acquisitions and the “natural” subscription increases are heavily impacted by customer churn.

The acquisition game just encountered a very abrupt stop as unhappy customers have flooded FCC with a tsunami of petitions to kill the merger of Comcast and TWC. The too familiar tactics of divide and conquer (bribing so-called consumer activist groups with special dispensations in exchange for their public support) did not work this time. I predicted it might happen here over a year ago.

A company’s reason for existence is to serve its customers, to make their lives easier. Fulfilling this promise earns their profits honorably. The television Without trust-comcast-1broadcasting companies’ executives are aware that their customers hate their business practice of bundling channels and mysterious rate manipulations that come with this practice. However, they prefer to protect their undeserved profits by sharing them with regulators via political contributions and lobbying efforts. While they decided to take a defensive position against desires of their customers, the companies who choose to innovate content and distribution methods, will continue to gain momentum and keep taking a larger cut of the advertising budgets.

Another example of companies that seem to put their quarterly earnings ahead of their customers’ interests are software maker Intuit and tax preparer H&R Block. In fact they invest millions annually to lobby against any initiative promising to make the lives of their customers easier by simplifying the tax preparation.

On the opposite side of these digital “barricades” are companies like Uber and AirB&B mobilizing consumers, who experienced vast improvements over traditional transportation and hotel services, to put pressure on regulators that try to run interference for status quo.

Only time will tell if this is the beginning of a fundamental shift of power to the Social Consumer from “special” interest groups.

 

 

 

Algorithms vs People – Customer Experience Perspective

Algorithm vs human1During the last few months I’ve seen a significant increase in a number of articles warning about the onslaught of automation in workforce. A lot of very respectable and technologically advanced people, from Stephen Hawking to Elon Musk, express their deep concerns about implications of the latest advancements in artificial intelligence. These concerns range from the social implications of automation replacing jobs, previously thought to be immune, to outright threats to the existence of human species.

Shifts in the employment paradigm are the most immediately noticeable to most people who operate in economically developed and developing countries. Growth in entrepreneurship and shared economy at the expense of  permanent shrinkage of full time jobs in manufacturing and service sectors are very obvious in the US. The return of previously outsourced/off shored jobs translates into the automation or  part-time sub-contracting as companies shed off increasingly high costs of full employment.

Those who make their living by fanning conflicts between people, point at evil “employers” as the root of future mass unemployment to be caused by more automation. It is not surprising as they consistently warp economics into a Cinderella for political science and one cannot promote a political agenda without a villain.

“Technology first allowed the job to be outsourced. Now machines at call centers can be used to seamlessly generate spoken responses to customer inquiries, so that a single operator can handle multiple customers all at once. Meanwhile, the customer often isn’t aware that she is mostly being spoken to by a machine.”

I would like to point out that today’s economy is largely consumer driven and without improving customer experience the cost savings, obtained through automation alone, cannot be sustainable.

During the last 3 decades I was actively involved in development, deployment and adoption management of various automated solutions. I have never experienced a sustainable adoption of an algorithmic solution that decreased the cost of delivering customer experience without also improving it. Surely there were many implementations that did not meet both conditions, but inevitably these were abandoned under competitive pressures within 2-3 years of trials.

I will never forget the remarkable advance in my experience as a customer of banking services with the advent of ATM technology. The availability of on-line banking elevated my experience even higher. Did these automation efforts delivered higher profits to the banks? Absolutely! Would these efforts succeed without the customers adopting to them enthusiastically? I don’t think so.

The experience of riding with Uber is a dramatic improvement over the traditional taxi experience most of the time, but algorithmically driven vehicles are likely to make it even better every single time. The cost of the change is the devastation of employment in the transportation industry which currently accounts for over 30% of the US labor force.

Algorithms do not perform better than people. However, they do consistently perform better than many people. Customers demand consistent experience every time. If most bank tellers delivered exceptional customer experience, ATM technology would not be able to replace them. Unfortunately, the impact of our attitudes toward job performance is not commonly considered in this algorithms vs human equation.

We use remarkable, self-learning algorithms optimized for mining customers’ opinions and sentiments from their unstructured comments and reviews to assist in discovery of customer needs and differentiation. However, some product marketing people expressed their frustration with the technology because it does not generate marketing requirements automatically. When such algorithms arrive it will signal the start of product marketing jobs departure. And they will arrive because the product marketing employees demand them and because their customers are likely to get a better experience with products designed by the algorithms.

While the last two decades brought substantial improvement in the quality of algorithms they also brought considerable increase in direct and indirect cost of labor. Meanwhile, we have developed unfortunate expectations that stop us from bringing the best humanity has to offer – curiosity, empathy, original thinking and creativity, to enrich our working lives and to make us indispensible. We (the humans) need to bring our A game to our jobs, and do it consistently, to outperform the algorithms if we don’t want employment to become another meaningless entitlement.

Why is it so difficult to get funding for Customer Experience change?

CX initiative fundedIf you are reading this post you are likely well aware of customer experience’s capacity to improve your company’s performance. You are also likely very frustrated with a lack of actual commitment from your boss. Oh, he is probably saying all the right words at the company meetings, but when it comes to bankrolling the action, the time is never right.

The reality is that while 90% of executives say that customer experience is central to their strategies, and 80% want to use it as a form of differentiation, 86% of these executives do not expect to see a significant uplift in business resulting from it.

The reasons it is so difficult to get funding for customer experience initiatives are:

1. Your boss’s mental framework is focused on cutting costs and/or raising revenue – it is very difficult to find very specific examples (i.e. best practices) that directly connect improvement of customer experience to achieving these goals.

 

2. Fear is a stronger motivation than desire. The desire to provide better customer experience may not be strong enough to inspire the change. Fear of falling behind the competition in how customers perceive their experience of doing business with your company, may facilitate sufficient stimuli. Particularly if that fear is confirmed by trends in customer churn rate or increased product returns, while your competition enjoys healthy market share growth.

 

3. We all like to think of ourselves as the rational decision makers. Behavioral economics research exposes how predictably irrational are our decisions. Your boss, assuming s/he is human, is no exception and likely makes very important business decisions based on beliefs rather than evidence. Challenging these beliefs with “solid” data is a fool’s errand. A much better strategy is to understand which of these beliefs inspired him to hire you into his organization in the first place.

 

It is the time for the disclaimer – I believe that Customer Centricity can only be architected by the top leadership of a company as it requires alliance of corporate culture, customer experience metrics and operational KPIs. It is a long term corporate strategy and not a project or initiative.

However, most of us are not fortunate enough to work for leaders who share our commitment to viewing our company’s business processes and practices through the eyes of its customers. Most of us know how difficult it is to earn credibility and trust while evangelizing the importance of customer experience. Since this is the road less travelled, you are not likely to find a blueprint or a list of waypoints to guide you. However, an understanding of your environment and seasoned advice may help to navigate these uncharted “waters”. The scope for every milestone/waypoint has to be crafted to be uniquely relevant to the specifics of your situation and the landscape of your company. There is not space in this blog post for specific examples, I am happy to offer them, if contacted directly.

Nothing works better for evangelists than miracles delivered on time and within the budget.

The Strategic Value of Customer Feedback

Strategic Value of VOCMost companies solicit customer feedback on their products or services in various forms, even though it is hard to find evidence of any strategic benefits derived from its use. Most commonly used methods, surveys and focus groups, are tightly controlled by companies through the selection of the subjects of inquiry and carefully formulated questions that require a quantitative response. These efforts are focused on validation of hypotheses about a product or service’s adoption by target market segments. However, they do little to help the discovery of unmet customer needs or to support construction of alternative hypotheses.

Unsolicited customer feedback, found “in the wild” at online customer reviews sites and forums, is an excellent source of insights comparable to the ones discovered by ethnographic research (by observation).  Both methods share the focus on the customer’s outside-in perspective, but “in the wild” feedback provides more statistically representative samples at a much lower cost.

“The only truly unbiased voice-of-customer feedback, I believe, is the feedback you find “in the wild,” that is, by simply observing the comments made by your customers in social media.” Don Pepper

It is a common practice today for many companies to collect and/or monitor both types of customer feedback. The problem is what they do with it. Ultimately, the quality of business outcome trumps what types of customer feedback or methodologies were used to produce it. There is a growing body of evidence that puts a very high value on the use of “in the wild” customer feedback for strategic innovation efforts. Yet, most companies use social media comments to focus on the resolution of public complaints by responding to them at a micro level.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Ben Franklin

The goal should be discovery and elimination of systemic process/product failures that impact customer experience. However, companies are often skeptical to consider unsolicited customer feedback as a reliable and fertile ore for mining strategic insights. Their management seemingly prefers the comfort of familiar, if not effective, evaluations by the “house” customers at the expense of their brand’s degradation by “in the wild” social consumers. The use of Band-Aids is not effective to stop heavy bleeding.

Since most “tamed” customer feedback is used for validation, and most “in the wild” customer feedback is used for firefighting, the relative ROI should be examined closely. Perhaps a better model would be to start using unsolicited Voice of Customer for selection of subjects for validation.

Where are Customer Experience Success Stories?

Where are CX success stories.Companies cannot control how their customers perceive their experiences with their products and services. However, they can and they must optimize their processes to deliver the best experiences from their customers perspective, profitably. Some would argue that doing this is critical to a company’s longevity.

In developed markets the quality of customer experience quickly becomes the primary competitive differentiator. Recent studies found that 90% of executives say that customer experience is central to their strategies, and 80% want to use it as a form of differentiation. The problem is that 86% of these executives do not expect to see a significant uplift in business resulting from it. As long as this is the case, nothing will change, and the customer experience mantra will remain just empty words, while their companies continue to compete on price on the race to the bottom.

This will linger on as long as business leaders put the interests of short term share traders ahead of the interests of customers, employees and investors. The focus on quarterly growth of earnings per share benefits only day traders and corporate raiders. All the while the company’s longevity is being compromised. Companies exist to serve customers profitably. The executives, that cannot see “a significant uplift in business results” from customer experience investment, should closely examine what business results they pursue and a time frame they expect the results to occur.

The business results to be expected as a return on customer experience investment made skillfully include, but not limited to:

  • increase in revenue per customer
  • growth of customer lifetime value
  • increase in their market share
  • decline in marketing costs
  • decline in customer support/service costs

However, these gains typically start to make impact on the earnings per share (EPS) two or three years after the first round of the customer experience investment was executed successfully.

Customer Experience Management (CEM or CXM) is a relatively new discipline. A Google search of the term finds the first relevant reference on the second page as the very vague Gartner definition:

” the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.”

Given the association of Gartner with the software industry, and the most of subsequent search results point to technology companies, it is easy to assume that customer experience management investment means buying and implementing technology. Nothing can be further from the truth. In fact, technology is never the solution to your customer experience management challenge. The solution is an investment of effort and money into the rethinking of your business processes and practices from your customer perspective. Only after this is accomplished, modeled and tested, may you want to use a technology to speed the proliferation of the results throughout the company.

Specific methodologies and best practices for successful customer experience strategy implementations are very hard to find. Each success came after multiple failed attempts and is unique to the market in which the company operates. When a company considers customer experience to be a competitive differentiator, the last thing it wants to do is to share their hard earned customer competency with their competitors. Over 90% of our clients insist on strict non-disclose conditions before we start any work with them. This experience is not unique.

That is why successful implementations of marginal technology solutions will be publicized and imitated ad nauseum. The successful implementation of customer centricity strategy may see a lot of publicity, but its specifics would always be left for public guesswork and folklore.

Customer Experience – From Data to Action

Customer Experience-From Data to ActionToo many analytical efforts focus on a single stream/source of data and that makes them unproductive. The purpose of analysis is the development of actionable intelligence:

  • to lower the uncertainty of management action
  • and/or to help form ideas to bridge the gap between the existing and desired state of affairs.

Confining these efforts to the analysis of a single source of data does not provide enough intelligence to produce confident outcomes.

Google Analytics is a good example of an excellent tool that provides a great deal of transactional data that requires interpretation to suggest an action. When the interpreters have no data about the customers’ experience with the website, they would have to make assumptions about the motivations behind the transactional data. Every time an assumption substitutes for  data,  the confidence in a suggested action is diminished. I am not arguing for “paralysis thru analysis”, but there is a reason why GPS requires the minimum of three satellite signals, before it gives your position’s coordinates.

I used to look over Yelp reviews before selecting a new restaurant to check out, but 9 out of ten times my experience fell well below the expectations created by other customers’ perceptions. Since I have no access to data about the reviewers age, culinary experience, cultural background and priorities, the analysis of their perceptions cannot produce confident/meaningful recommendations to act. Hence, Yelp restaurant reviews are no longer a reference source for me.

Analysis of customer reviews of products published on Amazon and other sites like that can be very valuable to product and brand managers. They can find great insights for optimization of a product’s lifecycle, a brand’s product mix or advertising efficacy. However, the correlation between customer experience data and sales and returns’ data, will always produce much more confident calls to action.Customer Experience-From Data to Action 1 dashboard

The myth of “The One” has been propagated in our culture for a long time. That explains the popularity of books and movies that try to make us believe in a single source of wisdom, love and happiness, or whatever else they sell. Similarly, technology providers market their analytical tools for a single source of data as a “strategic” solution, but market intelligence is highly contextual and requires a multiplicity of sources to be meaningful.

Flashy dashboards, without blended data sources, cannot produce confident calls to action.  Blending different models to analyze the same data will likely increase the confidence even more. It is important to remember that the effectiveness of your efforts depends much more on the data sets you choose to analyze in concert, than on the tools you choose for analysis and visualization.

Customer Satisfaction Is Not Enough to Forge Loyalty

CSAT and LoyaltyMost companies, large and small, monitor satisfaction scores given by their customers. Regardless of the methodology or scale they employ, the utility of these measurements is somewhat questionable. Aggregate metrics like these offer very little actionable intelligence, but trending them over time may provide alarms, acting as the proverbial canary in the mine.

Presumably, companies that compete in the market have to satisfy their customers to stay in business.  Therefore, relatively high customer satisfaction scores signal the likelihood of the company’s longevity. Many hypothesize that high customer satisfaction leads to the creation of loyal customers, low customer churn, and subsequently high profit margins with increase in market share. While the correlations between increases in customer experience scores and wealth creation are relatively well documented, the cause and effect between the two are very hard to establish. There are many gaps in the logic of such inferences:

  1. Relativity of the score – most companies measure customer satisfaction of their customers without benchmarking these scores against the competition. Such an approach provides no more than a data point without reference to the realities of the marketplace.
  2. Satisfied customers do not automatically become loyal customers. Customer satisfaction is an absolutely necessary condition for forging customer loyalty, but it is not a sufficient one. Loyal is the customer who will continue to buy from your company regardless of the market pressures:

– even if the product or service can be purchased cheaper from someone else

– even if your competitor comes with a “better” product

– even if the delivery comes a day later than competition.

Rudy Vidal of Vidal Consulting Group shared with me the results of his research on the correlation between customer satisfaction and loyalty – only 13% of “extremely satisfied” customers identify themselves as being “loyal” as described in the definition above.

Make no mistake, raising your customer satisfaction scores above the scores of your competitors will likely have a positive impact on reducing your customer churn rates. The challenge is to produce “real” quantified evidence of such impact. It may be substantially easier to produce evidence of how loyalty (not declared intent, but observed behavior) impacts profitability and/or revenue growth. The methods for doing this have to be discussed in the context of specific product or company. The more relevant question for this post is – what turns satisfied customers into the loyal ones?

Many subject matter experts seem to think that loyalty is created by an emotional response of customers to certain elements or attributes of their experience with a product, brand or company. Moreover, the loyalty is only forged when the customer exposed to such experience on multiple occasions.

Most “loyalty” programs on the market today completely miss this point and act as “golden handcuffs” to incite repeat business rather than creating loyal customers. All the talk about “awing” or “delighting” customers is unlikely to produce any specific, measurable and lasting effect in creating customer loyalty. Without understanding what customers value on emotional level these programs will likely fail.

The ultimate challenge for a practitioner is to recognize which elements/attributes of their customers’ experience inspire emotional responses and optimize the processes to deliver them consistently.

Technology is not the solution for your customer experience problems

Techology is not the solutionIt appears too many companies, particularly startups, rely too much on the technology tools in attempts of scaling their business.  In markets, where most customers have at least 3-5 companies that promise to deliver similar solutions for their problems at similar prices, customer experience is the only true differentiator. The company that provides the simplest path from on boarding to desired customer outcome, will most likely own their market segment. Yet, most companies give much more thought to their marketing efforts to attract potential buyers than to prevent their paying customers from living.

For almost a year I was a customer of SocialOomph. In spite of their convoluted interface, I was able to schedule my content for publishing, until someone decided to change their billing process and the name they used to debit my credit card.  An unfamiliar name on my credit card statement prompted me to notify my bank and that caused SocialOomph to cancel my account. When I realized what happened I send them an email asking how my payments and service could be restored. I’ve never heard back from their customer support. The phone number is available on their website along with the message that discouraging its use. When I called, the voice message directed me back to the customer support’s email address.

Given the well publicized reputation of Canadians for their politeness, it is very unsettling to experience the “Soup Nazi” treatment from the company based in Canada – “No SocialOomph for you!”.

There are 4-5 companies that offer seemingly similar services at similar prices. Their websites are not particularly descriptive as to how they differentiate from each other and “free” test drive offers require credit card information. I could not find any customer reviews from those who have done business with any of them and was not in the mood for risky experiments.

All of these companies sell technology based service to social customers, but none of them seem to have a grasp of a social customer’s perspective.

That brings me to the point of this article – commerce, whether it is conducted online or at brick-and-mortar, is inherently a human activity and no technology can replace empathy and understanding of your customers’ journey. The transactional website analytics, that tracks clicks and time visitors spent on specific pages, does not help to gain that human perspective. Technologists often think that unique attributes of their offerings are more critical to success than fuzzy customer experience. They are wrong. No technology is good enough to make your customers forgive you for not caring for them. Many of them will abandon your business as soon as they find a provider replicating your service’s functions and offering a better experience. “They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”.

An outside-in view of your business is by far more critical to your growth than any technology you can deploy to promote or automate it.

Not all social media channels are created equal

Not all social media channels are equalThe value of a company, brand or product’s reputation in the socially connected marketplace has started to eclipse the value of their paid advertisement and marketing efforts. If you need proof that the previous statement is true, please explore the bibliography list at the bottom.  In this post I would like to explore the state of the reputation ecosystem and hierarchy of its content from the perspective of the customers and the businesses involved.

The contemporary wisdom of social media marketing and customer support pundits, suggests that companies have to monitor any channel their customers are using at all times. In practical terms such an approach may result in ineffective use of monetary and talent resources. The extensive and growing selection of channels available to customers makes it improbable to monitor and mine content for producing meaningful action.  The same dilemma faces customers and businesses alike:

Which social media channel is the best to publish my customer experience to make a desirable impact?

Which social media channel is most likely to serve trustworthy content, to help me make the best purchase choice?

Which social media channel(s) are most likely to yield the most valuable insights at a reasonable cost?

If your idea of reputation management is chasing every negative mention of your brand anywhere on the Internet and trying to erase or neutralize it, you will spend a lot of time and money playing this “whack-a-mole” game without any financial gain. Your brand/reputation, is what your customers say about their experience doing business with your company. The best you can do is learn from what they say publically to improve their personal experience every step of their journey. In the age of social customers, manipulation and puffery do not work as well as they used to, yet authenticity and competence became the currency of choice.

From that perspective different social media channels, where customers can share their experiences, offer very different value for both consumers and the brands based on these criteria:

  1. Is there a sufficient volume of customer feedback on this channel? A small number of a product/brand customers, who share their experience on a given channel, makes this channel superfluous for assessing this product/brand reputation. It also makes it improbable for the brand to learn how to improve customers’ experience cross market.
  2. What is the business model behind the social media channel? Who pays for the channel to be in existence, and what is the primary reason for this channel’s existence? Based on the answers you can expect certain biases to influence the content published in the specific social media channels, regardless of their assurances. Facebook’s brand/product page is paid for by the brand to advertise its products, therefore the probability of finding negative customer comments published there is relatively low. The Amazon reviews site is published (paid for) by retailers to increase page visit to the purchase conversion ratio – not of the specific product page, but of any product page available on the Amazon website. Therefore the authenticity of content on a site like Amazon is more trustworthy than on a site like Facebook. The trustworthiness of many social media channels, like Yelp, Trustpilot, TravelAdvisor and others, has been challenged by both consumers and companies in the past. No allegations were actually proven, but their business model’s dependence on brand’s support/advertising leads to the suspicions of conflict of interest.
  3. What is the desired outcome? An enthusiastic Twitter message from somebody you barely know is not likely to help in selecting your next washing machine purchase. A reasonable number of BestBuy.com customer reviews, describing their experience in reasonable detail, may well assure you that this machine would treat your laundry they way you would expect it. It is not about positive and negative sentiments, it is about the relevance of published opinions to the desired outcome of the reader. The detailed description of an experience with a specific product helps consumers understand how the customers’ experience relates to their own expectations. From the perspective of a brand/product manager, the analysis of a Twitter stream can provide the knowledge that your customers in the West region love your brand, but the customers in South hate it, but it is not likely to help you measurably improve your brand reputation.

Every day and every technology bring new choices. The wise choices are the result of careful consideration of desired outcomes and prudent analysis of potential for unintended consequences.

 

Bibliography

  1. Absolute Value: What Really Influences Customers in the Age of (Nearly) Perfect Information
  2. http://www.eweek.com/small-business/social-media-seo-investment-rises-as-paid-advertising-falls.html
  3. http://blogs.sap.com/innovation/sales-marketing/loyalty-or-reputation-which-sells-your-product-better-01248327
  4. http://customerthink.com/customer-experience-is-more-important-than-advertising-infographic/
  5. http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/a_new_way_to_measure_word-of-mouth_marketing

Is it Wise to Ignore Correlations Between Customer Experience and Creation of Wealth?

Is it wise to ignoreMany academic studies were published over the last two decades that examined the correlations between improvements in customer satisfaction/advocacy/experience and increase in sales, profits, market share or share value. Below are some examples

 

Advocacy Drives Growth Across Industries

 

Customer Satisfaction Heterogeneity and Shareholder Value

 

Customer Satisfaction, Market Share and Profitability

 

 

If there was a debate, by now it is over. Yet, customer experience management practitioners often fail to convince their bosses and clients to take decisive actions that can measurably improve the experience of their customers.

 

I think the primary reason for this frustrating situation is the cultural divide:

 

  • CXM practitioners are often focused too much on the complexities of methodologies for measuring, and statistics. Our clients and bosses are often too focused on quarterly financial results.
  •  CXM practitioners often lack the business domain knowledge required for the translation of market research findings into specific recommendations that our bosses and clients can embed into their strategy and process.
  • When we do amass the knowledge and courage to make the recommendations, our bosses and clients want us to predict their outcomes. Since they do not appreciate differences between correlations and causations they are frustrated with our lack of confidence in our own recommendations.

 

These cultural differences drive many CXM professionals into endless selection of “better” methodologies for measuring customer experience and pursuit of poorly defined accuracies of vanity metrics. In other words they retreat into their comfort zone and relinquish their ambitions of contributing to improve their employer’s ability to win in the market place. I can confidently predict that such surrender will not enhance their value to their employer.

Here are a few tips for bridging this cultural divide:

1. Start to think more as an economist than a statistician. Focus more on problems and processes that impact customer experience, and less on data, metrics and technologies.

2. Stop debating which methodology is better (CSAT/NPS/CES, etc). Your customers do not care how you measure their experience. They only care if your product, service, brand or company delivers a better experience to them than your competition.

3. Stop asking your customers the “on the scale from A to Z…” questions and pretending that to be the Voice of Customer. These scores rarely tell you WHY your customers chose a competing offer. The research is about discovery of new knowledge, not about tabulating survey scores into neat piles.

4. Model your recommendations extensively before you present them to your boss or client. They know how to assess and manage uncertainties in their own fields (sales forecasting, etc.). You need to frame your predictions similarly so your boss or client can assess risk/reward ratios and start acting.

“Be the change you want to see in the world” and if you don’t like the change, you will like irrelevancy even less.