What’s Ahead for Customer Feedback in 2011


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future1 213x300 What's Ahead for Customer Feedback in 2011I recently blogged on what I believe were the two biggest developments related to customer experience in 2010. In the coming year, we will see these trends picking up steam and evolving into specific business process centers in the organization – Marketing, Customer Service and IT. Now that social media — both how to leverage it and analyze it — has become top of mind for many marketing, customer service and IT executives, I predict that 2011 will be the Year of Engagement.

Here are what I believe to be the probable top developments:

1. Real-time response to social media: What we’ve found with most of our customers is that once you start listening and analyzing, you want to engage. If a customer is telling you they need help, won’t buy again, is criticizing your products or your service processes, the natural reaction is to want to engage with them and (ideally) change their mind. This is also true of customers who are promoters, and just as vital. When a customer likes or dislikes your products and your brand, in a public forum, companies have the opportunity to reach out and make it a win. (See Jamie Turner’s recent post on Mashable about how the Fortune 500 uses social media). In late 2010 we saw thought leaders and industry early adopters get hired by the big players to do exactly this (eg, Frank Eliason going from his social service post at Comcast to being Citigroup’s social media leader).

Big companies spent the latter part of 2010 defining the strategy and in 2011 they will implement the processes and the tools for response and engagement. For example, we’ve started to see serious uptake of our Attensity Respond for Social Media product, which automatically classifies and routes social media messages for response (and weeds out the ones that don’t need a response, based on your own business rules combined with sophisticated natural language processing). The tools are finally here to do it, so in 2011 companies will take social media engagement to the next level and Respond!

2. Collaboration: Playing on the theme of engagement – another huge trend that will start to really gain penetration in 2011 is collaboration. This means collaboration not only with customers, partners and vendors through external public and semi-public communities, but also collaboration among employees through internal communities.

Consumers have figured out how to collaborate like never before. Whether it is a group of parents planning the classroom party through the classroom Yahoo! group, a bunch of classmates planning a reunion through Facebook, or a group of gamers collaborating on winning strategies through a forum – consumers are not only now accustomed to collaborating this way, they prefer it. Many don’t know what they did before collaboration tools like these were created (I know I don’t.) Now that it is second nature, those consumers, who are employees as well, will adopt collaboration in the workplace like never before. Another opportunity for analytics! Your consumers, collaborating in your community, create a treasure trove of insights for your business … which brings me to my last prediction for 2011.

3. Making VOC a key part of your business processes: Wouldn’t it be amazing if a product person in a company trying to figure out how to improve a product, add a new feature, or what to work on next, could ask his customers directly? Wouldn’t it be even more amazing if it were a part of a company’s business process for him/her to do so? Could a company really drive its marketing messages, new product introductions, product innovations, and service processes based on what customers want? Yes! The time is now! The proliferation of customer feedback fueled by social media, but also — growing not declining — in email, chat and other channels, combined with the growth in VoC analytics adoption by enterprises, immediately creates an important convergence of possibilities.

The need to create the right business processes to take action on this customer data has never been more important — and enterprises are starting to realize this. What do you do when you find out a customer is unhappy and is screaming about it online? What do you do when your community is having trouble solving a service problem? What do you do when you learn of an emerging problem in social media that is starting to affect your email and call volume? You create process. 2011 is the year companies will not just talk about listening to customer feedback and monitoring social media, they will engage and they will need the business processes and IT infrastructure in place to support that engagement.

So those are my three predictions for 2011. What do you think will happen next year?

Photo credit: Playful / Pablo Alfieri

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.


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