Trends in Customer Feedback. What’s next?


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Customers are reluctant to answer surveys, yet the need for high-quality customer feedback is growing. Is it time for a change in mining techniques?

Customers are less loyal and busier than ever. They consider anything more complicated than an NPS rating a nuisance, and will happily ignore even the simplest surveys. However, many of them are very vocal about their experience on social media, during calls with representatives and in customer service emails.

Up until recently, there was no easy method of harnessing that unsolicited feedback. No wonder most of it was ignored. Now, under the pressure of growing Voice of the Customer program’s appetites and with insufficient information coming from traditional feedback sources, a new technique of mining feedback is becoming popular, and fast.

Un-soliciting customer feedback
Customers are rather known for being outspoken, sometimes to the point where companies wish they would just say less. So why would any company need to solicit opinions from customers when unsolicited opinions are already at hand?
Unsolicited feedback can be found on a company’s Facebook page, Twitter feed, in customer service emails and, most of all, in thousands of phone conversations with company representatives. It comes straight from your customers, it has a broad scope and comes in magnificent abundance. And since text and speech analytics started to hold its own, this jumbled mess of feedback is also perfectly usable.

“A recent study revealed that leading companies are investing more effort into unstructured data analysis and less into surveying. Voice analytics, text analytics, social media analytics, and voice of the customer analytics are overtaking surveying as the primary focus of customer experience professionals and voice of the customer program owners.”
Jim Rembach, Customer Relations Metrics (read full article here)

Overcoming low response rates

The Internet is full of advice on how to build a perfect questionnaire. It goes more or less like this: make it short, offer rewards, target your audience. While this positively influences the response rate, it curbs VoC effectiveness. There are only so many surveys you can send without becoming annoying and only a few questions you may ask without the risk of being snubbed. Opening your VoC program to this unsolicited (or rather “natural”) feedback guarantees access to numerous customers along with their opinions and takes the response rate out of the equation.

Using untapped resources

Accepting unsolicited feedback is the ultimate badge of the customer-centric enterprise. It leads to a shift of responsibility. It takes the burden of answering questions away from the customers and puts the company in charge of listening. Whenever a customer connects with a company or brand, she or he is almost guaranteed to express an opinion about the service, product, representative, customer journey, or many other touchpoints. Actively using that feedback to build a formal VoC program is a huge nod towards your customers. (Read “10 ways to use phone call recordings to improve customer experience.”)

“The landscape of customer service is changing rapidly. Chat is growing exponentially, while social media are falling behind quickly, with barely 3% of customer queries being communicated through these channels. Email is giving way to chat, and despite all the tribulations, phone still holds a strong top position at 68%. However, when it comes to capturing feedback, the phone is lagging behind other text-based mediums. Most companies simply discard the content of the call itself and focus on additional post-call surveys like NPS.”
Temkin Group, State of Voice of the Customer Programs, 2015

Embracing innovation

Up until recently, it was impossible to harness the power of unsolicited feedback. At the moment, these limitations are disappearing, thanks to the advance of tech. Voice and text analytics lifts natural customer feedback from its channel, automatically structures and organises it. Modern processing engines are designed to transform unstructured audio or text files into an analytics-ready data stream containing information about recurring keywords, phrases, and topics, the tone, and in the case of speech, about emotions of the participants of the call.

“Looking ahead to the next three years, 80% of respondents believe that customer interaction history will become a more important source of customer insight, and more than 70% believe that way about contact center interactions and open-ended verbatims. Only 28% of respondents believe that multiple-choice surveys will be more important than they are today, and an almost equal amount believe they will become even less important.”
Bruce Temkin (Read full article here)

Making feedback normal

Using natural customer feedback offers companies a unique opportunity to engage in a steady, continuous analytical process. It doesn’t result in being ‘swamped by data’ as some may imagine. Having a lot to process means that one can be selective in deciding what to measure precisely. A regular feedback loop means that improvements becomes natural. Rather than waiting three months to take a leap of faith and measure its NPS, a company can be pro-active by addressing frequently mentioned bumps in a customer’s journey.

Anna Warchol
Mouthpiece of Call Journey, a Melbourne-based speech analytics company. Writing about voice tech since before it was cool. Enthusiast of customer-centric innovation and employee engagement.


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