Webinar Q&A Recap: Using Voice of the Customer to Increase Customer Retention

September 23, 2022

Kate McBee

Category: Customer Experience, Customer Onboarding, Customer Retention, Customer Success as a Service, Customer Success Maturity, Customer Success Strategy, Partner Success

Speakers: Anita Toth, Chief Churn Crusher

Anita Toth joined Marley Wagner for Customer Success Unlocked to dive into the many layers of a comprehensive Voice of the Customer program and answered some intriguing questions from the audience. Keep reading for the thoughtful answers Anita provided.  


Q&A Recap

Q: How do you navigate participation bias in customer feedback? 

Anita Toth (AT): Ah, that’s a really great question and remind me to talk about confirmation bias as well. It comes back to segmenting, or sampling is what we call it in the academic or scientific world. So, you want to go through and try to get your sample sizes big enough, so then you have statistical significance. If your numbers are too small, and of course, you can look this up for yourself on Google, or if there’s somebody on your team who’s a bit of a numbers person, they can help you understand what that is. Your participants, you want to choose wisely. Just like you want to segment when you’re sending out your surveys, you want to do the same thing. Now, I’m assuming that that is what you mean by participation bias. If I have it wrong, please just put something else in the chat, so that I answer your question directly. 

Q (cont.): I think of participation bias to be in multiple forms of Voice of the Customer, from which customers choose to speak out in reviews, support, etc., to those who choose to answer surveys, those who choose to interview, etc., and that those humans might be a specific segment that is motivated to speak out. 

AT: You’ve got it. So, I was mostly on the right track but thank you for going through and qualifying that further. So, there are people, Marley and I are two of them, who are happy to speak our minds. There are other people who are less inclined to speak their minds about certain things. If it’s really important to us, we tend to speak up. And so, there’s a couple of things that you’re looking at to overcome that participation bias for those of us, like the two of us, who always want to give feedback. So, this is where the different types of tools help.  

So, it could be a survey. Some people prefer focus groups. Other people prefer one-on-one interviews but aren’t great with typing. Surveys are a monologue, it only goes one way. Sometimes people need to be prompted a little bit. And so, places like focus groups and interviews are really helpful for that. In terms of [some] sort of appreciation [or] thank you gift, some people are really motivated by money. Some people maybe just want extra time, and that could be a thirty-minute specialist call with somebody to help them with a very specific problem that perhaps you know their CSM can’t help them with, or maybe it’s a donation [to a nonprofit on their behalf].  

So, you’re looking at many moving parts. We’re not all the same. We’re motivated by different things and different modes of communication. I don’t mind typing, I don’t mind speaking. I know some people hate typing but prefer speaking. So, what you want to do is give multiple opportunities, [like the example of] HubSpot giving multiple opportunities to people to have their feedback collected and heard. And so, you’re going to have to try different things. And of course, no surprise, your different segments will likely be motivated by different things.  


Q: Anita, as you shared before, you should usually replace the question of ”why?” We want to know why but we maybe don’t phrase it that way, right? We use language like, ”tell me more.” Are there other questions that should be avoided, or other language that should be avoided?  

AT: I’ll just really quickly tell you why “why?” isn’t a great thing. A lot of us, when we were small, and we did something, the first question that comes out of adults’ mouths is, “why did you do that?” so, it feels accusatory. We feel defensive. It doesn’t matter that we’re adults in a business environment now, that stuff still comes with us, right? It’s made an impression. So, anything that would perhaps diminish a person [should be avoided].  

Another [thing to avoid] is to lead them to the answer you want. It’s called a leading question, [something like] “share with us how you felt when you hit your first milestone” or something like that. Well, what happens if they haven’t hit it yet? As humans, we like to please, and so some of us would say, “oh, I felt this way” and it wasn’t even true. It’s not that we’re lying, but we’ve kind of been led so that we feel that we have to give an answer. So, watching for those things that might make people feel, maybe, a bit of shame that they haven’t done something, or leading them to the answer that you want.  

And those are sneaky, they really are. And then the last is something called a double-barreled question, and that is, I believe, a shotgun reference, where you put two questions together. It’s where two questions are shoved together, and you’re like well, I could answer “yes” to this, but “no” to this. What do I do? What do I answer? We’ve all seen them where there are two distinct questions, and you might have a different response for both. But they’re stuck together into one question. So, that’s a double-barrel question. And how do you answer it? The problem is with it too, from an analysis perspective, I don’t know what they’re answering. Are they answering the first part of the question, or are they answering the second part of the question, or is it for both? So those are the types of questions you want to try to avoid.  


Watch the recording of this webinar to catch up on the full conversation!

Want more expert advice on Voice of the Customer? Follow Anita on LinkedIn!