I recently started teaching a Family Business Dynamics course at CSU Fullerton. Before going further, I’d like to point out how wild it is to say that. I’m not sure I’ll ever get over it, and I mean that in the best possible way. Teaching is not something I ever saw myself doing, but it has been an incredible experience so far!
On the first day of class, I did what all my teachers and professors did while I was in school; I introduced myself. I shared a bit about my background, my work experience, and since it’s a Family Business Dynamics course, I emphasized the fact that I’m a second-generation family business owner. From there, I explained the work we do at MacKenzie. I can talk about family business, customer insights, and brand development strategies all day, so it was tough to keep it short and sweet. But I did my best. Then asked the students if they had any questions for me.
As is usually the case, someone asked, “So, you do customer feedback surveys?”
This is a typical question after I explain what we do, so I was waiting (and ready) for it.
Yes, we do customer feedback surveys. But that’s like saying a doctor sees patients, or an artist paints pictures. It’s technically correct, and there’s so much more. Surveys and data collection are the means to an end. They’re a starting point in a broader, strategic, and more detailed process leading to brand growth, development, and evolution.
I responded as I usually do when that question pops up, “Yep, we do feedback surveys.” And then I posed a few questions back to the students. Have you ever taken a boring survey that seemed irrelevant? Have you ever wondered what happens after you complete a survey? Well, we’re on a mission to rid the world of boring, irrelevant surveys. And our focus is on making sure your feedback is heard and put to good use after you click submit.
I saw the light switch flip, then shared an example that just so happened to transition into one of the topics we were set to discuss that day – customer experiences.
We’ve all heard of Customer Journey Mapping. It’s creating a visual to see and feel how a person interacts with a brand across a variety of touchpoints. At MacKenzie, we leverage customer feedback to verify and validate ideas about what the customer’s journey looks like. But we’re also challenging assumptions about when, where, and how those touchpoints are most relevant to the customer. We start by mapping a brand’s intended flow of experiences, then we compare that to what we learn from the customer’s feedback. This offers a very helpful “intention vs. reality” perspective.
Now, we have a factually based, data-driven framework of the customer’s journey as it exists today. But we don’t stop there, because we’ve only established what the journey looks like. There are still the matters of why customers take the actions they do, where there’s opportunity to improve and evolve, and how this information can be applied in a real-world context.
So, we gather additional feedback. We seek to understand the subtle nuances, the micro decisions, and the underlying drivers of consumer behavior. We ask targeted, tactful questions focused on relevant and timely topics. We focus on producing actionable insights that provide the knowledge, clarity, and wisdom needed for confident decision-making.
That initial feedback survey only scratched the surface, and now it’s time to dig deeper into each point along the customer journey we’ve mapped. But we can’t just be firing off questions or overloading people with feedback requests. We must ask the right people the right questions at the right time; and have a clear purpose for doing all this in the first place.
Ideally, this becomes the foundation for an ongoing process of gathering feedback and applying results. By maintaining two-way dialogue, we strengthen relationships and bring customers into the strategic development process. We position brands to deliver true value and meaningful experiences that directly align with the preferences and lifestyles of their target audience.
As a second-generation family business, all of this is especially relevant in our world. Relationship building is one of our greatest assets because we’re often closer and more personal than bigger brands. So, it’s important we seize the opportunity to make our customers’ voices a central part of how we operate. The more we listen, understand, and apply what our audience is telling us, the better we can deliver products and services that surprise and delight.
Yes, at MacKenzie we do customer feedback surveys. And so much more.