I think most of us have read of research or seen a political poll that makes us question who conducted it. Sometimes it seems research is done to merely bolster an existing view.
It’s usually because those asking the questions have a tendency to only solicit the data that agrees with their viewpoint or expectations. Those conducting research need to be sure to set aside their personal prejudices and perceptions to ensure they can engage others in conversation and enable open expression without manipulation or coercion.
To test this now, ask yourself what you were thinking as you just read the previous two sentences. Were you truly focused on the text? Or were you thinking about something else? For example, you might have been thinking about:
■ what you thought about what was written
■ how you could have written it better
■ why you didn’t agree with what was written
■ how you could relate it to your own situation
And so it goes.
Data collated from customer surveys is often disappointing, revealing little not already known. Often this is because the organisation has unconsciously been looking only for data it knows how to deal with, even though this does not uncover the true state of service provision.
So remember: if you truly wish to collect data that will tell you the truth about your organisation, learn how to be truly cognisant of what’s important to the other person – don’t just focus on what you want to hear.
Even more importantly, don’t assume that you know your customers. What may seem obvious and able to be taken for granted might turn out to be completely wrong.