Bring balance to your data gathering.

CX Jedi: "You must bring balance to the forces of quantitative and qualitative data."

Padawan, technology greatly expands our capabilities. An experienced pilot can’t do much on his own but with an X-wing ship and a droid programed with a map of the star system, he can bring down a Death Star. Data and technology solve many problems. However, if you focus too heavily on the technology and its output, you can easily lose sight of your goals.

Technology provides many ways to gather data on customers. Click path analysis, A/B testing, and unmoderated user testing provide a wealth of valuable quantitative information about what people do. This data helps you make better choices in support of your customers. However, it is easy to become driven by the blinding array of indirect behavioral data points. Too much information is like a dust storm on Tatooine; it is easy to get overwhelmed and lost. You cannot see the important patterns when you are caught in the middle of it. It is critical to step back from the quantitative metrics and focus on qualitative methods in order to capture customers attitudes.

Qualitative methods directly connect you with the customers themselves. Qualitative data allows you to find out not just what the user is doing but why they do it. Contextual inquiry, customer interviews, and moderated usability testing give you the opportunity to probe into the forces at play in customers’ minds. By listening carefully and exploring their views, you will be able to make sense of the quantitative data and find the important patterns, which drive effective solutions.

In “A New Hope,” Luke and the rebels used data and technology to guide them on their mission to destroy the Death Star. However, as Luke was preparing to take the shot that would destroy the Empire’s ultimate weapon, Obi-Wan Kenobi told him to ignore the technology and use the Force. Luke needed to rely on human skills like deep listening, attentiveness, trust, and perception to focus on the details that mattered most. In a similar way, when CX professionals use technology to gather quantitative data, the data should then guide qualitative research. This should then feed back into structuring quantitative research, forming a virtuous cycle of customer feedback that aligns with the Force, pushes back the dark side, and gives you a clear path to your customers.


May the Force be with you,

Shoji-Wan Kenobi

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