Richard Snow's Analyst Perspectives

Feedback Management Can Improve the Customer Experience

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 25, 2012 10:22:02 AM

There is a lot of talk today in customer service circles about the “voice of the customer” (VOC). For some people it means speech analytics (literally the voice of the customer), some others use it as an equivalent to the “360-degree view” of the customer, and for others it is about customer feedback. At Ventana Research we take a broader view and define VOC as reports and analysis that include as much customer information as possible. It should draw data from all available customer sources and use various forms of analytics to extract, report and analyze it as fully as possible. I am also an avid supporter of customer experience management (CEM) and urge companies to focus on the experiences customers receive at every touch point. This is where I see VOC and customer feedback come together.

I often write that companies can’t ignore the desires of customers to communicate through many channels. I don’t see this as just a nice option: Companies that don’t support all the “modern” channels of communication will surely lose customers. As well, those that do support them have to provide consistent information and responses across all channels or also risk driving people away. The most direct way to find out if you are getting it right is to ask your customers. But even this is fraught with difficulties: Ask the wrong questions and you get the wrong answers; take too long to ask and customer will have lost interest (and will probably be annoyed you ask); use the wrong channels to ask and many customers will ignore you; and the list goes on. What companies need is a customer feedback system that helps them design and develop questionnaires, delivers them through the channel of each customer’s choice, if possible delivers them as soon as the interaction completes, and collects and analyzes the results.

Sadly my research into the use of technology in contact centers shows that only about one-quarter (23%) of companies have realized the benefits of customer feedback and only the most innovative have implemented a system to collect feedback through the channel of the customer’s choice. Research participants gave many reasons for not seizing this opportunity, among them a lack of tools available to collect feedback from all channels, to analyze feedback across channels or to identify root causes of customer issues. To help fill this knowledge gap I undertook research to create the Ventana Research Value Index for CEM – Customer Feedback Management. The methodology used to produce this Value Index evaluates in detail aspects of product functionality and suitability-to-task as well as the effectiveness of vendor support. The Index reflects the value offered by a vendor and its products, presented in clear and accessible graphic representations.

At a time when it is more important than ever – and more difficult – to retain customers and maximize the business value obtained from every interaction, it is vital for companies to know how their customers feel after those interactions. To understand in more detail how organizations are collecting and analyzing customer feedback, I have started a new benchmark research project on the topic. Please help us by completing our survey and collaborate with me.


Richard Snow – VP & Research Director

Topics: Predictive Analytics, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Workforce Management

Richard Snow

Written by Richard Snow

Richard leads Ventana Research’s Customer and Contact Center Performance Management research practice, which is dedicated to helping organizations improve the efficiency and effectiveness of managing their customers, throughout their lifetime and across all touch points, including the contact center. He conducts research exploring the people, process, information and technology issues behind customer operations management, contact center management, and customer experience management. He also works with senior business operations and IT managers to ensure that companies get the best performance from today’s highly complex application products. Richard has worked in management and consulting leadership positions in the technology industry including with Price Waterhouse, Sema Group and Valors. In his work, he has been involved with all aspects of delivering highly complex IT solutions to a variety of clients in the telecommunications, financial services and public sectors. Richard has specialized in delivering customer care and billing solutions for telecommunications operators, and several multi-channel contact centers for organizations in both the public and private sectors.