As marketers and customer experience professionals, we’re becoming increasingly focused on how we can deliver a consistent, delightful experience throughout all stages of the buyer journey. If you haven’t heard the term tossed around before, “omni-channel” refers to all of the ways (or channels) that customers interact with your business. It includes the contact center, the physical store location, the website, and others.
There’s no denying that the omni-channel experience is important, but capturing it, understanding it, and making meaningful changes to impact it is challenging and requires multiple sources of feedback. Customer-centric businesses are investing heavily in Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs to collect, analyze, and operationalize customer feedback. To do this, they are using VoC analytics solutions that gather and combine omni-channel feedback for a single view of the truth.
If omni-channel encompasses all the ways in which a customer interacts with a business, then omni-channel feedback must also encompass all the ways in which a customer communicates with your business. While many VoC programs are primarily survey-based, the most mature programs analyze and act on feedback from a much wider universe of data sources. Namely, unsolicited data.
Unsolicited data goes beyond surveys to sources such as social media comments, third party review sites, inbound calls, online chat, blogs, forums, internal business data, and more. Because businesses aren’t specifically requesting that customers provide this data at a particular point in the journey, this data can reveal much richer insights than solicited feedback data alone.
With solicited survey feedback, the business determines how and where the customer’s voice is captured. Receipt tape surveys are a prime example of this. Shortly after a purchase is made at a retail location, the business asks the customer to go online and fill out a survey. By contrast, a frustrated customer who cannot find what he/she is looking for in a store might vent on Twitter about how poorly the store is laid out. Capturing emotion at the exact instant when it’s felt is critical to understanding customer needs and wants.
Another example is air travel. Upon boarding a flight last year, I was disappointed to learn that the flight had no wi-fi and the seat cushions seemed to have shrunk. I immediately tweeted to the airline expressing my frustration. However, during the post-flight survey, I responded positively to most of the questions because I wasn’t as frustrated and the flight had arrived at my destination on time without delays.
Not only does unsolicited feedback capture emotion at the exact time it occurs, but it also can paint a different picture. What customers tell you about your business may be different from what they are telling others online. Consciously or unconsciously, they may have a different tone, they may be more or less harsh, and they may focus on different aspects of the experience. This is why it’s important to capture everything from everywhere, and rely on a big data analytics solution to make sense of it.
A true omni-source VoC program listens to both solicited and un-solicited feedback across all communication channels- social media, inbound calls/e-mails, online chat, blogs, forums, surveys, agent chat notes, and third party review sites. If you are neglecting any of these sources of feedback and they contain a significant amount of content, then you are missing the boat.
If your ultimate goal is to deliver a consistent customer experience throughout all stages of the journey, then make sure you have a way of understanding that experience and making meaningful improvements that impact customer loyalty and profitability.