Einstein got it right…

I don’t know how many of you enjoy reading about Einstein or not but he had a quote that hung on his door at Princeton that to me was spot on in regard to your customers and generating more revenue. 

The quote was, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”  So how does this relate to customers?

Simple.  It really relates to a number of areas but let me pick just one – CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEY’S. This is a tool that is basically worthless, in my opinion, today as a tool for caputuring differentiating data from your customers.  Instead, it has been used as a “validating tool” to simply validate what it is the organization “thinks” is important to their customer.  Problem is the traditional “Bell Curve.”  Only the extreme ends (those that love you and those that hate you) generally provide feedback so it is automatically skewed from the start.  The customers in the middle (the other 80%) don’t bother either because they are merely “satisfied” or they don’t care – either because they know their information won’t change anything or they truly don’t care enough to respond.  Either way, bad information.

So, back to the Einstein quote on counting.  Think about his quote in regard to customer survey’s.  “Not everything that counts can be counted” is the first part. Exactly!  What is most important to the customer isn’t something that can be tallied in a survey.  Rather, they want to be heard and give you their opinion and what Promises they want you to keep – not checking boxes.  Is it more work?  Yes. Is it more valuable?  Absolutely.  The voice of the customer, giving you their own words is invaluable, most companies are just too lazy to take the time to go get it. 

The second part of the quote supports the first part, “…not everything that can be counted counts.”  This basically says the same thing as above – just because you “can” count it (as in a survey with numbers and statistics) doesn’t mean it really counts.  Having numbers doesn’t make it right nor does it make it accurate – it just is something that has numbers behind it.  Are numbers good?  Absolutely – but only when used to capture “valuable” information used for the benefit of improving the customer experience each and every day.

So Einstein was spot on in regard to how to capture valuable information from your customer and how to use it – he just didn’t know it.  Put his saying on your wall and next time ask your customer which they would rather have – someone asking them specifically what Promises they want you to keep or handing them a survey and a pen.


Blaine Millet

Customer Experiences Inc.
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