A Look Back at Customer Experience in 2010


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As I spend long hours on e-commerce sites to finish my holiday shopping, I’ve been reminded of what a year of change 2010 has been for companies looking to improve the customer experience. Two key developments that had been simmering for the last few years reached boiling point:

1. Social media for customer service overtakes the call center: Social media grew significantly as a customer communication channel and as a result, customers looked for new ways to bypass the traditional call center via social. While Twitter has been around since 2006 and community forums for several years as well, 2010 was when the ground really shifted beneath our feet! Customers started to move in droves to the web to get their service questions answered and companies started to follow. Whether it was YouTube directions on how to install a home appliance, community guidance on how to fix a stroller, or consumers sharing experiences in private forums – there was a tremendous increase in online activity related to customer service, with a subsequent scramble among companies to re-shape their customer support process to address this new communication channel. (The key for 2011 – figuring out how to leverage these communities conversations to improve service processes, service knowledge and customer engagement….)

2. Voice of the Customer (VoC) analytics (text analytics) goes mainstream: Enterprises realized the value in unstructured customer data. As customer feedback channels proliferated and social media listening became a hot topic, we saw large corporations dive in and take on the challenge of establishing corporate standards for customer (text) analytics. In 2010, companies turned, in droves, to solution vendors to choose a text analytics platform that can take any customer conversation and turn it into actionable insight. VOC analytics, enabled by text analytics, moved from an innovator/early adopter activity to something that mainstream companies have institutionalized as core to their business.

As evidence of this tipping point in customer experience, 2010 was a huge year of change for Attensity. We signed some of the largest companies in the world as customers for our VoC analytics suite to track and respond to service discussions across social media, in industries ranging from financial services, to telecommunications, to hospitality, to consumer electronics and IT. (If you’re interested, you can read more about Attensity’s 2010 achievements in a shamelessly self-promotional press release we issued this week.)

In a future blog post, I’ll look ahead to what I believe will be the big trends in 2011 related to the voice of the customer.

What do you think were the year’s biggest development in customer experience?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Michelle deHaaff
Michelle leads marketing at Medallia, the leader in SaaS Customer Experience Management and has over 18 years of experience in marketing, branding, product management and strategic partnering in Silicon Valley. Michelle came to Medallia from Attensity where as Vice President of Marketing and Products she led the transformation of the brand and the products to be the leader in Social Analytics and Engagement. Michelle also led Marketing at AdSpace Networks, was a GM of Products at Blue Martini Software and worked at Ernst & Young as a CRM practice manager.


  1. I agree that social media has played a large role in customer service this year. Nonetheless, not all customer service interactions will be solved by YouTube or Twitter. Thinking that social media is the answer for customer service is a dangerous over-simplification. http://bit.ly/c3U1kG


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