Why collect work and activity data? Often the causes of success and failure are there in front of us. All we need to do is learn from the data available. So what can we learn from Big Data that improves success in what we do?
This week while travelling, I was taken out for dinner twice. On both of these occasions, we went to restaurants that featured live music. These experiences got me thinking about how we measure performance and use data rather than “gut reaction” and personal preferences in work situations for both customer and employee satisfaction.
Yes, sad isn’t it that rather than focus on the entertainment, I was thinking about how we could all learn from this experience!
When we participate in our leisure time, we need to remember that for other people, that leisure activity is their workplace.
We have all been to music events. There are two types:
Both are great, but the dynamics are different.
For example, the role of original artists is to play enough old material to encourage fans to buy tickets to their gigs and play and introduce fans to new content to drive future sales.
Cover band groups have a different intention. They want to be rehired at the venue or engaged in playing at new clubs and bars. The more the audience engage with them, the more successful they will be.
I want to explore what organisations can learn from cover bands and DJs.
Most of us have experienced this but do we learn from data
We enjoy music, especially live music. And much like some DJs, the music gets people up on the dance floor. Then the band play another track, and people stop dancing. Then a few tracks later, people start dancing again.
The best Bands and DJ’s watch the audience and react changing their set to meet the needs uninterested of the crowd there on the day.
The mediocre bands only play a set of music they like, hoping others do too.
But how much of a more compelling experience for the audience would it be if the band used dance data to influence the next track? With full dance floors, people will remember the evening more, and they will get more work. With broken engagement, the fans could have a good time, but not a great time, and people on the fringe won’t come back.
We have all experienced DJ’s at weddings do the same. Play different tracks, almost ignoring the audience interaction.
For music to get people dancing, there needs to be relevance and resonance with those in attendance on a given evening. Also, there should be a story and theme for the music. When the music changes from type to type with no outside reason, audiences find it difficult to get involved.
How can business learn from these mistakes?
When we carry out team building events or employee engagement activities, do we use data to track what is valued and what is not? Do we learn from the good stuff we do and repeat it, or do we keep trying new things and not measuring in a way that people value? Do we learn from the data that exists? Do we capture that data that is there?
The same is all too often true for customer satisfaction surveys.
For example, I write this at EWR airport while waiting for my plane to board. As I passed through security, there are the “quick feedback” buttons. Asking for feedback like this is better than nothing. But what was the activity that triggers a customer to say tremendous or lacklustre? For me, there was a problem with waiting for trays to pass through x-ray whilst they further searched two other passengers. The feedback would not capture the problem and they would not be able to correct the layout flaw.
How can we correct behaviours? Of are these temperature check feedback systems just self-congratulatory metrics or sticks to hit employees over the head? Engagement needs to be a two-way relationship. All parties need to understand the relationship between data and performance.
Almost every corporate business operates some benefits packages. Often these benefits are based on discounts to leisure or shopping activities. Human Resources spend tens of hours exploring the best solutions for their employees. These offers are not cheap and often take considerable administration to manage. Once the launch has happened, do these programmes offer good value? Do people use them? What percentage of employees have EVER used the services you painstakingly introduced? For those that do use them, how often?
If we are serious about improving performance, we must seek appropriate data and link behaviour to the data and learn to be agile and react to changing needs.
IT support tickets
The same is true for IT-based chat systems. We use them because they are there. We get copies of the transcripts of our conversations. But are real metrics being used anywhere? Do these systems drive people to search YouTube for their solutions? Several times I have had phone calls from my wife having IT problems at work, and when she could not get an answer, she would ask me. Where is the data for failed support?
Just because a service looks like it is getting good feedback, does not mean the right or appropriate data is being interpreted!
The last three times I have flown to the USA (and back) I have been unable to check-in online. And yet I can check in on the self-check-in booths at the airport. Staff cannot say why or correct the situation. The lack of understanding of what the issue is has an impact on my satisfaction. If I cannot check-in online, how can I book the seat I want?
This week I tried to check-in 24 hrs early to get an aisle seat, but could not. That left me in a centre seat. It led to a poor experience for me, when a family of four spread across two rows could have sat together.
Unseen problems by a business can and has led to poor flight experiences. But it is not something that is measured anywhere. If it is not regulated, how can it change to improve the service for customers?
What can we learn from Big Data?
There is data around. Are we using the data we have? Are we collecting the right data and the context for that data? Increasingly the difference between passable and excellent service is the experience we have. Small changes to the experience we give to customers and employees can have a significant impact on their satisfaction.
Data is here. We need to be more confident in capturing it and using it. The best performing and sustainable businesses use data effectively. Those that do not capture, measure and respond to changes will cease to be viable businesses. How can we improve our products and services if we do not learn from the data available?
How can you use data to increase the engagement of your customers or employees?