What is The One Question?

Gary Bartley
Gary Bartley
August 21st 2019 - 9 Minute Read

All businesses exist to serve their customers. Those that forget or fail to put the customer’s needs first don’t survive. That’s why understanding the people who work in and buy from your business is paramount. Your profitability relies upon it.

Many businesses have committed themselves to the tireless pursuit of knowledge in this area and yet the systems they’ve used to collect the data fails to tell them the one thing they need to grow their business, how the people in their business really feel. 

When it comes to feedback systems, many business owners are left asking ‘which is right for my business?’ The One Question was designed and built in response to this need, to get to the heart of the one thing that matters.


What is The One Question?

It’s simple really. If you ask people how they feel you have a better understanding of how to make them happier. As nice as that is, this isn’t some altruistic bid to make the world a better place, that’s just a happy side-effect.

In short, The One Question is asking the people in your business, ‘How do you feel?’. Whether you’re asking your customers or employees, there are lessons to be learned and opportunities to grow from every response.

Understanding the motivations of the people who work in and buy from your business puts you firmly in the know, empowering you to make informed business decisions and act with confidence. The real power comes from turning those insights into action. Even small changes can have a big impact. Businesses who shift from a product-led-culture to a relationship-centric one will quickly see a return on investment.


Why should I care about feelings?

When it comes to the human psyche, the purpose of feelings are to further the interest of the individual. How does that translate to your livelihood? It boils down to this; Happy customers come back, they spend more and they recommend your business to their friends. Securing your customers’ happiness safeguards your profits. The implications of an unhappy customer stretch far beyond one disappointing transaction.

The rise and immediacy of social media and online review platforms mean people are talking about your business even if you didn’t start the conversation. If you want your business to thrive you better be sure they’re saying the right things. BrightLocal found that 87% of customers won’t consider buying from a business with low ratings. Happiness holds the key to reaching your full potential.

Feelings are an instruction to behave a certain way. If you have a good experience, your positive feelings drive you to repeat that action so you can enjoy it again. The One Question not only captures how your customers feel and why they feel that way but provides a metric by which to measure it. And as Peter Drucker said, ‘what gets measured, gets managed’.


How can you measure happiness?

Happiness is a pretty obscure concept. Not only is it a transient state of being but it’s different for everybody. This is probably why the current industry standard feedback systems completely disregarded it as a measure of success. Neglecting customer emotions has created a huge blind spot and it’s the reason why feedback has been failing businesses for a long time. 80% of businesses believe they offer a superior customer service, yet the same study by Bain & Co found that only 8% of their customers agreed. It’s clear to see something’s amiss.

Happiness is subjective. It’s unique to every individual which means there’s no uniform definition that can be applied to your whole customer base. Up to this point, it’s all just guesswork, interpreting flawed data and personally reading customer reactions.

To get a true measure of happiness you need to go directly to the source. You have to ask your customers outright. To truly understand how the customer feels, they must self-certify their happiness. The best way to collect this data on mass is to survey them.


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Why should I use surveys in my business?

Yeah, it’s a term that comes with a lot of baggage. Long form surveys have literally bored business owners and their customers into submission. A drain on time and energy, it’s understandable customers can’t be bothered to share their insight. Even the businesses administering them struggle to analyse, share and act on the data they collect, often leaving it to collect dust on a shelf or sit as an ignored icon on a desktop.

Simply put, long tedious surveys don’t get filled in. When response rates can be less than 1%, the insight you’re getting is minimal at best. The only thing that inspires customers to respond is when they’ve had an overwhelmingly good or bad experience. That means the data you’ve collected is already skewed one way or the other and won’t represent the views of the vast majority of your customers.

A simple antidote to this is to just ask one question. In a world of increasingly limited attention spans, it pays to keep it brief. The One Question platform allows you to create a customisable on-brand survey that gets to the heart of how your customers feel about your business. You simply have to ask ‘How do you feel about (product/ service)?’.


‘How do you feel?’ is a very open-ended question.

Well actually, because of the nature of the question it’s much more refined than other feedback methods. Unlike NPS and its counterparts, asking how your customers feel about their experience is transactional rather than relational.

A transactional question means you learn how the customer feels about the experience they’ve just had, not your brand in general. This helps you spot patterns in feedback ensuring you can do more of the good stuff and less of the bad. Ultimately, this contributes to a better overall experience and improves the perception of your business as a whole.

For example, you might be Apple’s biggest fan. You love the user experience, you reckon the functionality can’t be beaten and the design is the coolest thing since sliced bread. Even if Windows users are so passé and your office is a Mac showroom, if your phone breaks and you have a run in with the assistant on the genius bar you aren’t going to be overwhelmed with positive feelings. The specifics of that situation, rather than the customer’s likelihood to recommend in general is where the value lies for the business.

Asking customers about their specific transactional experience as opposed to their general thoughts will give you a clearer understanding of where you can improve. It also allows you to capture customer happiness data and collate it into measurable quantitative results.

Another clear benefit is everyone knows how they feel. There’s no right or wrong answer, it’s just an innate reaction to what you’ve experienced. The One Question has created a simple and effective method of collecting the customer’s response. They can respond to the ‘How do you feel’ question by selecting one of 5 emoji style faces.

Each face represents an emotion ranging from the most negative, ‘Actively Unhappy’, to the most positive, ‘Actively Happy’. The customer can then fill in a free text ‘Tell us more’ box to expand on their experience if they want to. This will draw out the reasons which were responsible for making them select the face they did.


Why use faces to measure customer happiness?

Emojis have become part of our daily discourse. They’re used as a quick way to communicate how we feel on social media and messaging. Just look at the ‘reaction’ function on Facebook. You can show how you feel about a post with a single click. The same logic applies when collecting feedback.

The One Question uses these five faces because they require no explanation. Even if you don’t read the question, the customer would still likely understand what the images mean. This makes feedback accessible to everyone, including non-English speakers.

It’s also a novel method of collection that doesn’t ask too much of the customer; minimising the barriers to response. There’s no interpreting scales or surmising about your future actions. All you’re asked to do is state how you feel. The faces offer such ease and simplicity that response rates can be as high as 69%. This means you hear from the silent majority of your customers in your business, not just the most vocal outliers.

This method of collection allows customers to self-certify their feelings which means the data you collect isn’t vulnerable to interpretation. Their choice of face also naturally segments them into groups determined by happiness. You can see how many customers were ‘Actively Unhappy’, ‘Unhappy’, ‘Neutral’ and so on. This is valuable information when it comes to personalising marketing campaigns, spotting opportunities for improvement and knowing which customers are more likely to interact with your business again.

Collecting feedback in this way is quick and engaging. Whether your customers have got 15 seconds or 15 minutes, they can tell you all you need to know about your business simply by clicking 1 of 5 faces. A one-second response will establish whether you’ve exceeded their expectations or missed the mark.


Why ask ‘Tell us more…’ in a customer feedback survey?

‘Tell us more’ is a free text field that gives your customers the opportunity to expand on their feelings choice if they want to. These details can enrich the quantitative data collected from the faces. Any information the customer provides gives you a fuller insight into their experience. ‘Tell us more’ is the ‘why’ to the faces’ ‘how’.

Making the additional comments section an optional field acts as security against feedback fatigue. If people can’t be bothered, they’re not railroaded into providing more details. This is important because, as shown with long-form surveys, extra questions negatively affect response rates. Hearing from the majority of your customers is tantamount to getting the most accurate insight.


How does The One Question collect employee feedback?

It works by the same logic. Your employees are responsible for rolling out your business’ objectives which contribute to your success. How well they do this depends on how engaged they are. It pays to care how your employees feel.

People work better when they feel valued and asking them how they feel is a good start. Creating a feedback culture works both ways, supporting both the individual and the business. Employee feedback invites a healthy dialogue that will help you create a happy and healthy workplace for your team to thrive in.

Employee insight is a vastly underused resource when it comes to making your business better. Customer facing employees are on the frontline. Not only do they interact with your customers on a day to day basis, but they’ll have an understanding of issues affecting the customer experience. This first-hand insight could remove roadblocks to growth that you’ll never know if you don’t invite them to share it.

One of the biggest challenges facing business owners in recent times is employee retention. The One Question helps you identify who is most at risk of leaving your business and why. Addressing small issues before they become big problems can help save time and money on recruitment. It’s also worth noting that consistency is good for business. It can be unsettling for employees and customers if there’s a stream of new faces constantly entering and exiting the business.


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The One Question summed up

People drive your business. Whether they’re buying from you or working for you, knowing how they feel will help you make informed decisions that propel your business forward. Don’t settle for the status quo. Guesswork can only take you so far. The One Question gives you a complete view of your business, empowering you to take action.

  • Hear from the silent majority
  • Unite your team behind a single score
  • Identify and eliminate problems that hold your business back
  • Start a valuable dialogue with your customers and your workforce
  • Market your business more effectively
  • Boost your on and offline reputation
  • Improve customer and employee retention
  • Spot opportunities to drive revenue and cut costs


How do I implement The One Question in my business?

The One Question is a business growth strategy that relies on your desire to get things right. Because getting it right is better for everyone. Happy employees make for happy customers. And happy customers are good for business. The One Question can renew and refresh your focus to put happiness at the heart of what you do.

Getting started is as easy. Simply sign up to the platform on our website, start sending your emails, directing your customers to your landing page or download The One Question app.

The simple and engaging nature of the platform will make collecting customer and employee insights easy. The changes you make in response will take your business to the next level.

Why not see for yourself? Book a demo of The One Question system at your convenience to start making positive people driven changes in your business. All you’ve got to do is ask The One Question that counts.


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Gary Bartley

Gary is on a mission to help businesses understand the role that customer and employee happiness plays in their success.

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