While InfoQuest has been described as the most effective, efficient and actionable survey process in the world, the fact of the matter is, high response rates, candid data, attributable results and powerful analytical tools, by themselves, will not accomplish anything. For any survey, including ours, to successfully generate a return on investment, the results must be put to productive use. To help assure that outcome, we developed the InfoQuest Brainstorming Workshop.
The Workshop provides our clients with a systematic, internalized approach to the development of a detailed and prioritized action plan. What clients find attractive is that the Workshop is not a forum to give you our opinions on what we think you should do. Rather, by acting as facilitators, we help your management team come up with the entire plan. In other words, the people who will be responsible for its implementation take charge of its design. This creates a bottom-up approach to the response plan, even though the survey itself is typically a top-down initiative.
The workshop normally runs 5-7 hours, which we suggest be wrapped around a working lunch. Though the size of the company will dictate how many people should participate, best results are achieved by having at least nine people in attendance, though twelve to fifteen are even better. Collectively, the assembled group should represent all operating areas of the business that impact and/or directly and routinely interact with your customers.
The first portion of the Workshop entails a detailed review and explanation of the survey results. Your InfoQuest moderator reviews each of the report sections and provides guidance on how to read them, what they mean, and where the priorities lie. This normally takes up to two hours. Further exploration, including a Q&A session, is provided during a working lunch.
After lunch, the management team is split into groups, each of which is assigned the task of brainstorming 20 ideas, or "action items" that, if successfully implemented, can be expected to improve customer satisfaction. The objective in identifying action items is not to rebuild the company, but to search for ideas that, based on the survey results, can be expected to generate quick and cost-effective results. Some actions will be systemic in nature, others will be aimed at individual customer needs, but all will address needs identified in the survey. Your InfoQuest moderator provides guidelines for this phase, and monitors each team to make sure they are staying on track. Each team is given an easel and writing paper on which to log their ideas.
Scores being applied (STEP 4) to action items developed at a workshop held for Manitowoc Crane Group, Singapore in September 2005.
Once action items have been assembled, the groups are brought back together. A designated spokesperson for each group then presents and explains the action items they have identified, in adequate detail for everyone else to understand and be able to evaluate the idea. We ask that a notebook computer be available for this phase. As the presentations are made, each action item is entered into an Excel spreadsheet. Duplicate ideas are identified and removed as they are entered.
The next step is to evaluate and "score" each action item using the InfoQuest Brainstorm Scorer. In this phase, the full management group is given the task of scoring each of the action items. The full list is evaluated and scored based on five basic criteria, as follows:
1) Speed of Change (Time required to implement it. The more time required, the lower the score.)
2) Cost of Change (Considering the investment that will be required, the lower the cost, the higher the score.)
3) Benefit of Change (To what degree can additional revenues be generated and/or existing costs lowered, thereby producing a direct return on investment? Alternately, if no monetary impact is discernable, to what degree can a positive impact on customer satisfaction be anticipated?)
4) Level of Approval Required (This is customized for every client to reflect the relevant hierarchy, but the presumption is that where autonomy is indicated, the action item will proceed more quickly, less expensively and with a higher degree of "ownership".)
5) Probability of Succeeding (All things considered, if adopted, what is the likelihood of the action actually succeeding? For example, an idea may score high on the previous four scales, but if the idea is contrary to the prevailing corporate culture, it may be unlikely to succeed, at least in the short run.)
Once the scores have been tallied for all action items, they are entered into the spreadsheet and sorted. After filtering out either redundant ideas, or ideas determined to be more long term in nature, most companies emerge with at least 40 practical and beneficial action items, ready for implementation.
Senior Management Staff of Pitney Bowes Sweden with their final action items. Stockholm, November 2005.
Many of the ideas will be able to be put in place within days. Others may take weeks, even months to implement, but regardless of the time required, two certainties will emerge.
One, the resulting action plan will have been designed and developed by your own management team, increasing their level of commitment and buy-in.
Two, each action item adopted will be in direct response to the voice of your customers.
Combined with the built-in relationship building elements of the InfoQuest process, the result is a program that elevates customer satisfaction from a general corporate objective to a specific and measurable action plan.
Best of all, with each subsequent survey, you will be able to monitor the impact on customer satisfaction over time. Why is that important? Because customer satisfaction is like any other aspect of your business - if you can't measure it, you can't manage it.
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