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Apple Continually Improves Because They Listen
Sep 29, 2008

After this recent purchase at an Apple store the following survey was sent to me. Take it and explore ow they do what they do .

Securing feedback is critical to continuous improvement.  In How you do What you do we make the point that surveying is critical and listening to the feedback contributes to continuos improvement.

The perfect time to solicit client feedback is during periods of outstanding performance, but not for the reasons you may think.  When what you do is on track, you can probe for feedback on your behaviors without any distractions from product performance issues.  Great service companies use feedback mechanisms that ask for input when you are the most satisfied.  This approach takes advantage of the client relationship at its high points, resulting in commentary about the most important aspect of the relationship – behaviors.  It also conveys your quest for continuous improvement, which registers with clients and gives rise to more open and willing participation.

  • After purchasing a new automobile, the great service companies ask about your buying experience
  • After visiting a quality hotel, they ask for feedback about your stay
  • Shop at a fine department store, and they ask about your interactions with their sales associates

Great service companies solicit feedback using some form of personal connection, such as telephone calls.  Be careful not to undermine the very objective you are trying to achieve by asking those you serve to engage in annoying and impersonal feedback mechanisms.  Think about interactive voice surveys, comment cards, suggestion boxes, or e-mail surveys.  Reflect on your personal experiences with airlines, internet service providers and on-line retailers who routinely ask you to participate in surveys lasting longer than the transaction.  These mechanisms may be cheaper and faster, but are they really better?  What is the quality of the feedback?  
Use surveys
Used properly, surveys that solicit feedback from internal and external clients can be very effective.  But your intentions must be “pure” or the process can backfire.  Are you really seeking continuous improvement, or are you eliciting praise?  Your clients are not easily duped; they can see through self-congratulatory mechanisms that, as an aside, typically miss the mark.

Requests for feedback must be ongoing, timely, specific, easy to complete, and limited to vital indicators of satisfaction.  Your goal is to ascertain areas requiring improvement, and the extent to which the improvement would enhance client satisfaction.  Needs that have been satisfied, while gratifying, are not really motivators.  If you are well-intentioned about seeking continuous improvement, you must be inspired by what you are missing, not by the targets you hit.  Properly designed surveys will lead you to these answers.  Apple does this continually.....

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How you do... What you do gives us hope in what is perhaps the most comprehensive book published in awhile on the topic of transforming your culture into one that is renowned for Service Excellence. 

"How You Do What You Do", by Bob Livingston

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