Bringing a personal touch back to Retail

Having returned from the annual National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show conference in New York I am increasingly excited for the opportunities that lie ahead for retailers. Each year retailers and solution providers from around the globe gather to discuss the latest trends in retail and share best practices around how best to adapt to the road ahead.

The central theme of this year’s show was focused around bringing the human element back to the retail experience. This echoes the sentiment that is our raison d’etre here at Empathica – retailers and consumers need to reconnect at a human level. The engine of the global economy depends on it.

Retail truly is the engine of the global economy when you take a moment to study some staggering statistics:

  • Retail supports 1 in 4 jobs in the US economy
  • Retail in the US is forecast to grow 3.4% in 2012 (compared to estimates of US GDP growth of 2.1% to 2.4%)
  • Retail contributes over $2.5 trillion to America’s GDP each year

From the opening keynote by former president Bill Clinton, through the educational sessions I attended, and the conversations I had with other delegates, it’s clear that retail provides a pathway out of the recession. A back to basics approach is needed to running a business. Most people have a favorite retailer where employers and customers’ have elevated their relationship to that of a friendship. If not, then you have heard stories from parents and grandparents of a time when the locally focused small businesses were able to deliver a very personal experience to their loyal customers. As time went on, successful businesses began to grow, and sadly achieved much of this scale by focusing on growth and increasing their points of distribution often to the detriment of those necessary friendships and relationships.

Today’s innovations in technology have created a turning point in the world of business.  Technology is now becoming a tool allowing business owners to rebuild these relationships and maintain them on a global scale.

The challenge that now emerges is how to convert this capability to an actionable model.

  • Retailers need to actively solicit feedback from their customers and then engage with them at a deeper level. This can be done in three ways. Use marketing science to understand what drives loyalty. Dig deeper… knowing for example that friendly service outranks other loyalty drivers isn’t enough. The real question is, what are the elements of the experience that build a belief that this brand is friendlier than all others?
  • Deliver a consistent brand experience at the ground level. I argue that its more important for most retailers to become more consistent than it is for actual improvement in their overall service quality scores. Reduce the anxiety and make the choice simple for customers by letting them know ahead of time exactly what they’ll get.
  • Finally, use technology to help personalize the shopping experience. Social media, mobile phones and the new consumer behaviors they foster have created tremendous innovation opportunities. It’s interesting that one of the competitive advantages online retailers have developed over the last few years is a much deeper personal relationship with many consumers. Recommendations, complimentary products, remembering history and preferences… in many ways technology has effectively allowed online retailers to personalize a highly impersonal experience.

I leave you with an interesting exercise that I was challenged with by one of the speakers at the conference. Each day when we all prepare for work, we should challenge ourselves to complete this phrase “What the world needs now…” (yes I know I can Google the remainder of the Burt Bacharach lyrics). Such a simple yet profound phrase can help put the value of what we all do each and every day in a new context.

Improving Operations, with a Social Twist

Earlier this month I had the good fortune to post on the Harvard Business Review blog network.

In an article titled “Using Social Networks to Improve Operations” my colleague Mike Amos and I discuss how the programs for soliciting customer feedback have evolved from mystery shopping, to early customer experience management programs, through today’s more sophisticated experience management programs we’ve dubbed “Social CEM”. Social CEM programs go beyond simply measuring satisfaction and focus on turning delighted customers into active brand advocates on social media channels.

As I reflect on the implications of the cycle of innovation we’re in, I become increasingly excited about the opportunity that lies ahead. Not simply for the world of CEM but for the intersection of businesses and consumers as a whole.

There was a time when business owners were on a first name basis with all their best customers. As businesses grew ever larger with more sources for distribution (many enterprises have 100s of store units) successful scale became an impediment to those relationships. Today, the convergence of social media and customer experience management bridges much of that divide. We are at a crossroads where the old business ideal of “knowing every customer” can be made possible through technology, enabling large corporations a level of agility that matches that of the time when our grandparents shopped at their local general store.

Nobody needs to be reminded of the growth of social media. Some believe that social networks are the most significant advance in communication since the birth of the internet itself. While the value of social communication is clearly understood from the consumer side, it can still remain muddy from a business point of view.

The initial focus of social media use from businesses has been to leverage its growing audience as a channel for the ‘same old’ advertising. That is, viewing social media users as consumers rather than creators of brand content. This is ironic since social media is in fact defined as the collaborative consumption AND creation of content. As the social media user base continues to grow so does the opportunity for mobilizing brand content creators or active advocates.

Rarely have I worked with a brand that scored less than 80% satisfaction amongst its customer base. Being involved in hundreds of customer experience programs over the last 10 years has taught me that the vast majority of customers are happy. Focusing on active advocacy is a huge opportunity for brands to tap in to this happy (but silent) majority to solicit genuine recommendations to be shared amongst peers.

The advocate process is proving far more powerful than regular social network advertising. The key is authenticity: we listen to our friends and colleagues for advice and recommendations. So while retailers and restaurant owners can buy social media advertising, the real place to drive growth is on the consumer newsfeeds. Not only are those kinds of click throughs more numerous. They are also more powerful. Beyond simple word of mouth advertising, poor-performing outlets get suggestions for improvement, which they use to guide better operational performance.

Owning the Moment

I came across a Twitter post recently from one of my most trusted customer experience management resources, Bruce Temkin, which I found to be especially impactful. Bruce was relaying a comment made by Scott Hudgins, VP of Global Customer Managed Relationships at Disney about moments in a customer journey.

“No one owns the guest but someone always owns the moment.”

Scott couldn’t be more correct and the idea of owning the moment is critical to the success of any retailer. Now more than ever, retailers need to understand which moments within their customers’ journeys are those that can create the most delight and opportunity for competitive differentiation. If a retailer is able to correctly identify, own and act upon those moments then chances are good that a great customer experience will be the result. I think we all have had the pleasure of a great shopping experience where everything seems to magically come together and it sticks with us as a benchmark that we compare all others to. Did that experience happen by chance? Of course not and most likely it was the result of a well thought out CEM strategy that began with looking at the multiple points of interaction between consumers and the retailer, or put in a different way the customer journey.

In order to identify the most actionable moments in a shopping experience it’s critical for a retailer to engage in this exercise. It is a process that allows retailers to walk in their customer’s shoes and understand the way points along the journey that may be encountered. In addition to location visits, the journey mapping process should include more in-depth research such as sitting down with groups of front line stakeholders, including store/restaurant/branch owners, managers, and front line staff, to facilitate an understanding of the various “moments of truth” that are encountered by customers in their journey through a transaction with the brand. To do this, it’s important to follow the chronology of a customer experience:

  • What is observed through the customers’ eyes (and nose, touch and ears)?
  • What emotive senses become involved at each functional stage of the visit, be they pleasure, expectation or impatience?

From the very beginning of the exercise, starting from the outside looking in (the view from a parking lot, the street, or mall) all the way through to what is experienced as a customer leaves, you can deepen your understanding of the important moments in the environment that build (or detract) from a great customer experience. The facility’s visual layout, the product and its positioning, the communication boards (be they aisle signs in grocery and shops, posters in a branch, or menu boards in a restaurant) and the experience touch points with people – all these are examined as potential key moments to own for imposing brand standards and consistency in operations to ensure every visit is a perfect one.

As a retailer, make sure owning the moment is part of your CEM strategy and start with journey mapping. If done correctly you’ll determine the magic moments that need to be built, managed and monitored to ensure a differentiated and compelling shopping experience.

Marketing Myopia and the 21st Century Automotive Business

It may seem like ancient history, but in a landmark 1960s article in the Harvard Business Review entitled “Marketing Myopia”, Theodore Levitt put forward the thesis that most companies take too narrow a view of the business they are in. He challenged executives to re-examine their corporate vision and take a wider perspective of the markets in which they compete. His argument was that organizations miss opportunities they are presented with simply because they fail to take a wider view.

An example he uses is the railroads whose failure to grow was due to a limited market view. The problem was that management saw themselves as being in the railroad business rather than the transportation business. There was a growing demand for passenger transportation but it was being filled by cars and airplanes, non-traditional competitors to the railroads. Management was railroad oriented instead of transportation oriented, product oriented instead of customer oriented.

Many credit Levitt with ushering in the era of modern marketing with many concepts we consider commonplace today. Levitt’s argument is that what usually happens is that management emphasizes selling, not marketing. The problem is that selling focuses on the needs of the seller, but marketing concentrates on the needs of the buyer. For companies to grow, he argues, they have to define their industries broadly to take advantage of growth opportunities. They must understand and act on their customers’ needs and desires, not bank on the presumed longevity of their products.

He says that an organization must learn to think of itself not as producing goods or services but as doing the things that will make people want to do business with it. And in every case, the chief executive is responsible for creating an environment that reflects this mission.

In the context of the automotive industry, product is key and I am encouraged by many of the technologies that are being incorporated in new vehicles being launched since they do seem to address genuine needs that customers have told us about. Who would complain about advances in safety, fuel efficiency, or navigation?

But a different perspective needs to be established, and this perspective must be squarely focused on customer needs. Does any new technology considered for a new model truly address a need that customers have or is it just cool technology that the engineering department has come up with? (Just so you don’t think I’m throwing engineers under the bus, I’m not. My brother and uncle are engineers and our son is currently studying to be one too!)

And in a wider context, do CEOs define their business as being in the car business? Or, taking a page from Levitt’s book, should it be defined as being in the transportation business? Defined in this way, it has the potential of broadening opportunities that CEOs will pursue for the company.

There is benefit in dusting off the old business management articles and books that we may have dismissed simply because “they’re too old.” Often the writers have already thought and written about business issues that we’re facing today and if we can learn from their insight and experience, then so much the better.

What do you think? Should manufacturers “stick to their own knitting” or should they consider seeing themselves as being in the transportation business, and not just the car business? Tell me what you think.


How to Deliver a Festive Retail Experience in 4 Steps

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to submit an article to Customer Experience Magazine. With the holiday shopping season in full swing I discussed how the rush of customers at the end of the year is both a great sales opportunity but also a time when customer experience is put to the test.

In the article, “How to Deliver a Festive Retail Experience in 4 Steps”, I outline four strategies retailers can employ to build and optimise the customer experience they deliver.

1. Identify the key touch points in the customer journey.

From the very beginning of a customer visit, starting from the outside looking in (the view from the parking lot, the street, or shopping centre) all the way through to the checkout, you need a deep understanding of the important cues in the environment that build a great customer experience. A facility’s visual layout, the product and its positioning, the signage and the experience touch points with people – all these can act as key moments in the journey a customer takes.

2. Orchestrate a memorable and unique retail brand experience.

The customer feedback and insights from the touchpoints along the customer journey can be used to derive store level action plans. Using the power of science can help to focus your teams on improving the areas of the customer experience that will have the highest impact by understanding the “drivers of the drivers” behind customer loyalty.

3. Build an emotional connection and a real community with your customers, employees and your brand.

With the right insights and the right action plan you can get inside the minds of your customers to understand – and predict – what makes them choose you. The result can be a holistic and highly-predictive model of what drives customer loyalty for your business, building an emotional connection between you and your customers.

4. Go beyond satisfaction and drive customer advocacy.

It’s no secret that consumers trust the word of their friends, family and colleagues over any website or marketing campaigns you might implement – no matter how compelling or creative those campaigns are. The holidays are a time when people will gather with their loved ones, and connect online with those that may be further away.  Amplify great experiences through your advocates. Identify and capitalise on your best customers and turn them into active advocates for your brand by letting them easily share their stories through their social media networks.

Earn Back Loyalty One Customer at a Time

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step” – Loa Tzu

One of the foundations of business will always be customer loyalty. Intuitively people know that it’s easier to keep the customers you’ve already got, than it is to find new ones. A quick online search even turns up a few handy rules of thumb, such as new customer acquisition being up to 7 times more costly than retention of an existing one.

Given the events of the past few years, one industry where this “back to basics” approach to business is resonating especially strongly is the world of banking. Banks have suffered hits to both consumer perception and loyalty. The recent Bank Transfer Day online movement as well as the research Empathica has done with our Consumer Insights Panel serve to reinforce this new reality.

For many firms this means earning back trust and loyalty one customer at a time.

One of the most interesting observations I’ve had helping customers with CEM programs over the years is how sometimes the most valuable customers can be the ones who are most unhappy.

These customers present two opportunities. First, they identify areas for improvement (presumably that’s why they are unhappy) and second those same customers are often in a position where a more personal touch at the time of a bad experience can make a huge impact.

If you think about your own experiences, there’s probably nothing more empowering than having a business reach out to you to find out more about your particular concerns. Think about it, how many times have you been somewhere and seen an irate customer demand to “talk to the manager”. What if a business could intercept that same customer before they reached that boiling point? From the consumer standpoint, this can kick off a very personal dialog that can be empowering. From the brand or branch perspective, the feedback gathered can be a valuable learning experience to drive positive changes.

Customer rescue programs can help you get to the heart of what’s making your customers dissatisfied – before they have the chance to destroy your brand. Through the use of surveys, banks can create “trigger responses” that will flag dissatisfied customers or those who have the potential to become one. When these people are identified, key stakeholders (e.g. customer service or branch managers) are notified. This gives you the opportunity to repair and deepen the relationship, as well as provide an incentive for the customer to return.

That’s one simple way where technology can help to win back trust, one customer at a time.

Satisfaction is Based on Expectation: 7 Steps to Closing the Gap

Do you know what your customers expect when they walk into your location?

It’s a simple question, though for most the answer to that question can be quite difficult. That’s unfortunate because in many ways the level of success that a business can achieve is limited by how close they can get to truly delivering on those customer expectations.

I was listening to a radio presenter introducing singing sensation Adele recently, what he said stuck with me:

“There’s nothing quite like the feeling, when you’re listening to a song, written by someone you don’t know, who you’ve never met, who somehow manages to describe exactly how you felt at a particular moment in your life…”

What a wonderful introduction to a great artist, and in the context of business a simple yet lofty goal to strive for. As a business, is it possible to have such a deep understanding of your customers that you can create and deliver an experience so exceptional that it feels almost as though your store or restaurant was created solely for them? Segment leaders seem to be able to deliver experiences for their customers that are so in tune with expectations that the vendor/customer dynamic achieves an almost emotional level.

It’s this ability to separate oneself from the competitive pack with truly exceptional experiences that has started to put business leaders in all markets on notice. Products and services may become commodities, but fully satisfying a customer’s expectations can build a more robust level of loyalty. So the next question is how do I get there and where do I start?

When implementing CEM it’s important to think beyond simply the products and technology that will be in play, and look at what your brand is trying to accomplish from a programme standpoint.

I like to look at programme development in 7 steps:

1. Business success modeling

What do you really want to accomplish with the programme?

2. Questionnaire development

What are the right questions to be asking to gather the right data to make informed decisions?

3. Data acquisition

Gather customer feedback through whatever channels or technologies are most appropriate.

4. Report delivery

Report on the initial findings as a first phase of analysis.

5. Solution identification

Perform a deep dive analysis of what drives loyalty to your brand, and what factors can be adjusted to improve on this.

6. Solution implementation

Put the improvement plan into action.

7. Brand advocate mobilisation

Enable your best fans to share their great experiences.

Seven steps to help uncover the formula for delivering exactly what your customers are looking for.

Leverage Your VoC Program to the Fullest Potential

If I were a betting man, and Steve Wynn’s newest car indicates that I am, I would bet your organization is not extracting as much value as it could from your Voice of the Customer (VoC) program.

Too often businesses maintain an extremely narrow focus with their VoC efforts and utilize it purely for front-line performance management. While I would be the first to acquiesce that performance management should be a core tenet of VoC, I would also state that the program should be used for much more.

To give you a flavor of what I am talking about, ask yourself the following questions:

Does Your VoC Program Assist in Testing New Products?

A typical VoC program asks about how a business did today and omits the opportunity to gain insight into new products and services they could offer tomorrow. As a business leader, you should constantly be striving to learn and understand how your business could be adding more value to the lives of your customers. An easy way to begin this process is to simply ask your current customers a few different questions, such as:

  • “How could (insert your company name) be adding more value?”
  • “You currently use/have used our Product X. Are there any additional products or services we could offer to help you get more value out of Product X?”
  • “Please rate your level of interest in purchasing Service X (a new product) from us.”

The questions above are purely intended to kick start the hamster on your ‘idea wheel’, not specific questions that accomplish what I am suggesting. Additionally, I am not insinuating that adding a few questions to a survey replaces your existing R&D and market research efforts. If you test the waters with your customers and ask them what they want in existing VOC channels, you could potentially spur more rapid innovation and significantly enhance your forward thinking efforts.

Does Your VOX Program Inform Customers of Feedback-inspired Changes?

It boggles my mind when I learn about organizations that make fabulous improvements in their products or services based on customer feedback, and they fail to communicate to their customers that this was based on their feedback. Tell customers when you change something as a result of their feedback!

I frequently get asked, “How can I improve my survey response rates?” A simple way to increase your survey response rates is to demonstrate to customers that you are actively using the data they provide. Too often customers think that their surveys go into the ether, and for most companies, survey results do go into a vacuum. Be bold, be different, and celebrate the hell out of customer feedback and what it is delivering to your business. Customers will respond by giving you more feedback.

  • Put a brief prompt in your call center IVR telling customers what you did.
  • Put up signage in your stores.
  • At least do something!

Does Your VoC Program Understand the Context Behind Feedback?

Most often VoC program surveys will contain questions about individual employee or overall experience attributes. Such as:

  • “Please rate the knowledge of the individual that assisted you.”
  • “Did the associate take ownership of your issue?”

While those questions are good, unless you know the underlying customer perceptions and context of the response, the simple quantitative data they produce may be tough to coach on. For example, Mindshare met with a fashion retail organization that uses a knowledge rating question like the ones above. When we asked the VOC leadership team what ‘knowledge’ in bullet 1 referred to, and how they should coach their store associates on the scores, we received some very different answers. It means “knowledge of fashion trends” or “knowledge of the store’s inventory and product location” or even “knowledge of pricing” etc. All are “right”, but all have very different coaching steps and context associated with them.

If there was no alignment among the 4 people in the room, there was probably a disparity at the field and store management level as well. They needed to quickly get to the bottom of what type of ‘knowledge’ is most important to their customer base, and drive that out into their training programs. To accomplish this, we suggested an insertion of a ‘verbatim’ opportunity, an open-ended response where customers could describe what a ‘knowledgeable sales associate’ was to them. This question was live in their feedback system for a short period of time where Mindshare gathered massive amounts of data which we then utilized our comment analytics technology, and “Voila!” – Instant coaching bliss. They now understand exactly what ‘knowledge’ means to their key customers.

My point here is simple: make sure you understand the customer’s perception of any experiential attributes you are asking about in your VoC program. Without that underlying understanding, your coaching efforts could be a little off.

Continually Innovate on any VoC Program

This is just a sampling of some of the innovative things you can do with an existing VoC program. If you are only doing basic performance management, we need to talkor talk to your current VoC Advisor, Evangelist, Guru, or whatever their title isbecause you are not fully leveraging the power of your VoC program. You could also be leaving precious information and money on the table.

If implemented properly, these insights can be gained in very simple, tactical ways. You can potentially save your business massive amounts of money and provide the enterprise with phenomenal new data. You can avoid survey toxicity, enhance customer experiences, and we’ll all live happily ever after.

Learn more how VoC can help you build a friendlier, more customer-friendly business with InMoment today.

Mystery Shopping vs. Customer Feedback: Which is Better?

Thanks to the internet and mobile technology, it’s become a lot easier to gather valuable feedback from a larger sample of customers. So does that mean that more indirect, “old school” methods like using mystery shoppers has become passé? Not necessarily – but it’s probably not the best method of gathering customer experience insights, especially if it’s the only solution you’re using.

While mystery shopping can still be a part of your customer experience management activities, it plays a supporting role as an auditing of minimum service standards. A trained mystery shopper can tell you whether or not a product or service is being sold in the way it was intended. Is the sales staff covering off key points when describing the product? How hard are they working to close the sale? Is it being displayed properly in the store?  What you won’t learn is how the customer feels about the actual product or the way it was presented to them. What’s more, mystery shopping isn’t overly cost efficient. For every one observation you get in a month, you can get 30 more from actual customers using customer feedback – and while you might be able to chalk up one bad mystery shopping experience to a bad day, it’s harder to argue with a multitude of real customers who feel your store isn’t living up to their expectations.

That’s not to say that mystery shopping can’t serve a purpose for you. You can still use it to provide an audit of your customer feedback efforts that will provide a better understanding of your customers, their expectations and their interactions with your brand.  A focused campaign of mystery shopping on underperforming locations can help uncover the tangible problems in that store or restaurant.

If it’s a true customer reflection you’re looking for, direct customer feedback can provide you with more relevant and more accurate “in the moment” information.  In fact, it’s become the method of choice for companies who are looking to understand the voice of their customers. And the ROI on listening to your real customers who are emotionally invested in your brand is far greater than feedback that comes from someone who’s paid to make observations on pre-determined criteria.

Mystery shopping has historically helped organizations understand the difference between good and bad – but only direct customer feedback allows you to understand great and striving to be great is the only thing that will transform your business.

Learn more about Customer Experience Management solutions.

4 Keys to Keeping Your Job in Retail

I came across a rather thought-provoking quote the other day. It was from Sam Walton, founder of Walmart:

“There is only one boss. The customer.  And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

It’s a thought that most would consider common sense. It’s obvious that with no customers to buy your goods, then you’d have no business. Not only is it critical to have customers, but ensuring they keep coming back is even more important.

It’s interesting then, that according to Empathica’s consumer insights research this past May, we discovered that 58.5% of consumers agreed that customer service was getting worse. That’s an incredible stat that seemingly flies in the face of common sense. Why would you want to alienate close to two thirds of your customer base?

The result of this is, in today’s world of retail, the biggest opportunities for growth no longer lie in product innovation. Instead, as some have started to promote, the idea that exceptional service should be added to the list of products you offer.

Retailers need to tap back in to the emotional connection that consumers can build when brands are able to deliver on an exceptional experience and compelling promise. But where does one start? Or rather, how can I define a path to improvement? At a brand level, and at a location level.

That’s where customer experience programs come in.

The reality is that customer experience management is not a new concept. However, customer behaviors are changing and the expectations they carry have changed as well.  That’s why at Empathica, we see four keys to building a better customer experience.

  1. Identify the key touch points in the customer journey
  2. Orchestrate a memorable and unique retail brand experience
  3. Build an emotional connection and link the shopper + brand + lifestyle + associate + product equation
  4. Build customer advocacy

Building that memorable experience for your customers can give them a sense of ownership and emotional connection to your brand. In today’s retail climate this is the only way to grow your business in a sea of commodity products.

If Sam Walton where still around, he might even tell you it’s the only way to keep your job…

Harnessing the power of the wired guest through Customer Experience Management

Food services and social media are a natural fit. Going out to a restaurant or bar has always been a social activity, even if it’s a quick lunch with co-workers. And diners have taken to social media enthusiastically, taking pictures of their meals before they dig in, racing to check each other into Facebook places, and competing for the position of Mayor of their favorite restaurants on Foursquare.  Savvy restaurateurs have made social media part of their marketing plans as well, taking advantage of Facebook and Twitter to promote their brands and keep in touch with their customers.

There is a down side to the rapid adoption of social media and mobile technology, of course. It’s just as easy for a dissatisfied customer to broadcast a negative experience to their peers as it is for them to praise you for a positive one. Consumers are dining out less, yet their expectations remain high. A negative post or tweet may persist and remain searchable for some time, influencing the decisions of others who are researching where to dine this evening.

Customer rescue strategies and experience management

Social media platforms are more than merely broadcast channels, of course; they are places where conversations and discussions happen. The same tools that allow consumers to research brands can also help business owners to find out what is being said about them and act on those reviews. A negative “tweet,” for example, is an opportunity to initiate a dialogue and, ideally, a customer rescue – by letting a customer know you are listening, and have a sincere interest in improving their experience.

The next logical step is to develop a proactive, rather than reactive, approach. It’s important to act quickly, and on a personal level, to win back a negative reviewer. But is there a way to close the barn door before the horse escapes? Can a restaurant owner do anything to help ensure that the messages that get posted online are positive, rather than negative? The goal of Customer Experience Management (CEM) is precisely that – to use customer feedback in a measured and strategic fashion to fine-tune business practices and generate increased customer loyalty.

Successfully applied, a CEM program can help you to:

  • Capture customer feedback in a timely fashion and identify rescue candidates early in the process
  • Analyze and quantify feedback so that it can inform adjustments to your operations
  • Improve your customers’ brand experiences to encourage repeat business and advocacy
  • Motivate brand advocates to recommend your restaurant to their peers through social media

In a sense, a CEM program takes what the social media-aware business owner does on a one-to-one basis with a single negative Twitter review and applies it at the brand level. Inviting feedback at point of sale can help diffuse and reverse the effects of a negative brand experience, while at the same time providing you with an opportunity to turn negative feedback into constructive criticism – which then can be leveraged to improve the brand experience for all your customers tomorrow.

Learn more about Customer Experience Management solutions for the Food Services industry.

Your Voice Analytics Strategy & the All-Important “Now What?” Test

When creating your Voice Analytics strategy, make sure your solution can answer the all-important ‘now what?’ test.

Let’s put this test to work against the most typical Voice Analytics solutions in EFM/VoC.

Here are a few common, yet less useful Voice Analytics scenarios:

  • “I know the top ten keywords used by my customers in phone survey feedback.” (Now what?)
  • “I am told I need to have a word cloud.” (Now what?)
  • “My competitors were mentioned 143 times by customers!” (Now what?)

See? It’s that simple. The above scenarios cannot easily and usefully answer the “now what?” question. While they are all very interesting factoids, what practical action steps do they drive? If you cannot take action with your Voice Analytics, why bother with it at all?

Contrast those with the following useful cases:

  • “My least satisfied customers complain about long hold times.” (Now what? Hire more contact center agents and/or reduce talk times.)
  • “When dissatisfied with order accuracy, my drive-thru customers most often use the phrase ‘missing … toy’.” (Now what? Change the assembly process and train employees to double check that toys are included in every bag.)

These Voice Analytics scenarios easily pass the test because they lead to actions that produce measurable operational improvements. When creating your Voice Analytics strategy, make sure your solution can answer the all-important “now what?” test.

Mindshare’s focus: Insights and Action

If you’re going to collect feedback, you need to act on it. Like Text Analytics, your Voice Analytics results should be actionable and drive decisions that result in operational improvements. All analytics must pass the “now what?” test. When you see Voice Analytics results, ask yourself, “now what?” The answer should be an action that drives measurable results for a Return on Investment (ROI).

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