Now there is no excuse for not closing the loop on customer feedback

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It’s pretty safe to say that most businesses ask their customers for feedback these days.

Most would agree that is a good thing.

But, there are two problems with that situation.

The first problem is that research suggests that while the largest majority of companies ask their customers for feedback, only a small minority close the loop and actually analyse the feedback provided to them, consider it and then set about acting on it.

Now, there could be numerous reasons behind their inaction, ranging from a gap between their rhetoric and reality to how they are organised and how feedback is collected, analysed, reported and shared.

The second problem is that many of these companies rely solely on survey data to help them understand how they are doing and also to identify areas for improvement.

Relying only on survey data, however, is a flawed strategy. Survey data provides only a partial view of what is going on and is becoming increasingly less reliable due to survey fatigue, which has resulted from over-surveying, poor survey design, timing issues, and surveys that are way too long.

A better approach would be one that pulls in formal and informal feedback from numerous data sources, including surveys, emails, call transcripts, social reviews, ratings, messaging threads, etc., analyzes that data across customer groups, products and services, and different parts of their respective journeys, identifies areas for improvement, and then connects those insights to the people who can take action.

This is an approach that Qualtrics has been advocating for the last seven years, ever since they launched their XMos (Experience Management Operating System) back in March 2017. I’ve always thought, ever since it was announced, that it was the right way to go.

At the time, however, I must admit I struggled to see how this would all come together and how it would be integrated with enterprise workflows, at scale and in real-time, so that the right people would see the right piece of insight or feedback at the right time and how that, in turn, would facilitate them taking action.

A lot has changed since 2017, and what has become possible has expanded hugely, particularly over the last 18 months or so, with the advent and application of Generative AI.

This has had a profound effect on Qualtrics’s ability to help brands listen and take action at scale and in real-time. Listening to Zig Serafin, President and CEO of Qualtrics, talk about the advancements that they have made to their XM platform on the main stage of their recent X4 Summit in Salt Lake City, felt like seeing the realisation of a vision that is enabling brands to listen and take action at scale and in real-time.

At the core of their platform are three elements:

Xid – their data collection layer that captures interaction data across a range of structured and unstructured data sources.

iQ – their predictive analytics layer, powered by Generative AI, which sifts through that structured and unstructured data to uncover insights and opportunities as well as making recommendations about the next best actions.

And, crucially, xFlow – their no-code automation engine, which connects these insights and recommendations to the systems that teams in enterprises already use such as Slack, Salesforce, Zendesk, ServiceNow etc.

On top of these foundational blocks, they have built numerous applications, all powered by Generative AI, to help specialised teams in their particular context, ranging from the contact center and other frontline teams to digital experience and product teams.

As Serafin told me in a recent podcast, “We have built an operating system for businesses to be able to span departments and different data sets inside of a company.” Serafin went on to say that what this means is that brands can now “understand how, across a continuum of the journey, a customer interacts with their digital properties, their website, their apps, through coming into their stores, to interacting with their products through to the service life cycle, for instance. And, having one thread that’s woven through it all creates a very powerful connected data set, which then gives you a more probabilistic view into where your business is going to go with that one customer or a whole segment of customers that look like that.”

This is powerful stuff, indeed.

With Qualtrics removing many of the obstacles that have traditionally stood in the way of brands listening to their customers (and employees) and taking action at scale and in real-time, based on their feedback, there is now no excuse for them not closing the loop.

This post was originally published on Forbes.com.

Credit: Image by Ben Kerckx from Pixabay

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.

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