In 2014, voice of the customer is 2.0- why are you offering customers to speak through microphones 1.0?


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It was about seven weeks ago, that I had dinner with two former customer experience top executives, and currently principal consultants for one of the top customer experience consultancy. We were sharing opinions around topical customer experience issues, ranging from loyalty, customer feedback platforms, customer journey mapping and a host of others. I then, retracted and focused on the state of the voice of the customer systems.I told them that there are great VOC systems like: uservoice, Nice fizzback, NPS, usabilla, iperceptions, getsatisfaction and a host of other platforms.

With my customer facing and research background, I said there is a massive need for analyzing emotional drivers to positive or negative customer experience. I told them,trustpilot, a great customer feedback platform, that utilizes customisable emails, to garner customer feedback, affirms that they have about 7% response rate. ‘Does that ring an alarm bell?’I asked, whimsically. One of the consultants, recalled an interesting experience, on a comical feedback comment cards in a gents toilet in Belgium. He did add, that gents had an opportunity to rate their experience using animated pictures that typified good or bad.

I ended by telling them, feedback programs should be accessible, dynamic and multifaceted – in a bid to collating emotionally measurable responses. I told them it is with this yearn and pain in my heart, that i have found the need to create vibevox. The ultimate aim is to bring web 2.0, microphone 2.0 and mobile 2.0 to customer feedback. I told them the about the idea and it resonated within them, as industry experts, on the need to have a dynamic and 2.0 voice of the customer platform.You could keep this preamble aside for a minute, we would put the strings or puzzle together in a moment. Don’t swipe to a next blog yet, this journey is about to get interesting. Hang on a bit!

Microphones have evolved over the years- and have thus, transformed the music, public speaking and performance industry immensely. Microphones 1.0, within the music or performance world, could be conceived as microphones with cords or wires- epitomizing disruptions to dancing and mobility. This informed the need for the creation of wireless microphones, or cordless as some folks would term them. These microphones are handheld, but a distinct advantage is that they are wireless and aids a better stage performance. I choose to call this microphone 1.5 at this point, leaving us with a 2.0 that has aided charismatic singers and speakers utilize their full potential. “What is the Microphone 2.0?”- I can hear you quiz, with a handful of curiosity. Microphone 2.0 are game changers, they have given a whole meaning to music and are wireless and hands-free. They are called a headset wireless microphones, you have possibly used them or seen speakers used them during TEDx events or conferences. Please capture this in your mind, but imagine for a second, how companies still offer customers to speak through a wired microphone 1.0, that inhibits mobility, energy, charisma, emotional expression and freedom. Please hold on to these microphones, we are still brainstorming and would hit the point sooner than you think.

Neil Davey says the likes of Gartner are forecasting that Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs will be one of the most significant strategic investments over the next five years, and the VoC market is set for annual growth rate of over 30%. But while this may indeed come to pass, it is also accepted that VoC remains an immature market. In short – a lot of money could be wasted in the coming years. Jim Davies, research director at Gartner opines that, “From a corporate perspective, the focus on understanding customers by listening to them and using that understanding to market differently, sell differently, support differently, redesign processes and change the product, is becoming more and more important. It is a key part of customer experience management and a lot of companies are now realizing they can’t really differentiate by traditional means, but really understanding the customer can help them to do that.”

It is against this backdrop, that it is key for companies to offer her customers with a microphone 2.0, that gives these customers an opportunity to express their emotions in an unrestricted manner. What is microphone 2.0 in relation to the voice of the customer program? In a very simple and clear manner, the world is gone mobile with smart phones and gone creative with this likes of instagram, pinterest, vine and a host of others. In my extensive research with customer experience practitioners and customers- the clarion call in 2014, is that, companies should not restrict feedback platforms with wired microphones but facilitate with cordless headsets. Microphone 1.0, are feedback channels with just a restrictive email or text medium. Customers would be unable to express themselves emotionally and creatively through a restrictive email or text medium. Microphone 1.5, are customer feedback platforms that have animated pictures that accompany comment cards. Vibevox and hopefully many other VoC vendors in 2014, aim to utilize micro videos, pictures, voice memo’s and animated comment cards, to gather customer feedback. This is microphone 2.0, that does not restrict customers to one medium, but creates flexibility like a cordless microphone.

In addition, since the world has gone mobile, Voc 2.0 is calling for the additional use of mobile apps to gather customer feedback in the most accessible, effective and dynamic way. To add more urgency to this need, Joel Gascoigne, the founder of bufferapp, a social media scheduling tool, tweeted a few days ago: “Does video customer support exist? Any products out there that provide audio/video/screensharing customer support tools? Thanks :)”

I know it is a long piece, but what seems to be longer is getting the right quality and quantity of customer feedback. Companies should see the need to embrace an all encompassing medium (comment cards, video,voice memo and picture) to gather and interpret customer insight. Voices come in several tones and could be better understood with a variety of creative mediums. Don’t restrict your customer’s voice to one tone and medium!

Dateme Tamuno
Dateme Tamuno (Tubotamuno) is currently working as part of the SEO and PPC delivery team for UK based digital agency, Cariad Marketing. He has also completed a book on user-generated content marketing.