Published: February 21, 2012 | Comments
Recent benchmark research carried out by Ventana Research on the state of contact center technologies shows that customer feedback management is one of the applications most often deployed in contact centers; our research found it to be the third-most-often deployed app, by 59 percent of participating organizations. (The top two are quality monitoring, deployed by 79 percent, and workforce management, by 67 percent.)
But, as the chart above indicates, few organizations use customer feedback for any purpose other than to improve customer satisfaction. Only some of the most mature companies have grasped how to use customer feedback to pinpoint agent training and coaching needs and the value of doing so, and even fewer use it to improve both operational efficiency and effectiveness.
A limiting factor in how customer feedback is used stems from the way companies collect it. Our research shows the most popular methods are:
- Outbound phone surveys 47%
- Online surveys 37%
- Email surveys 36%
- Agents conducting surveys on call completion25%
Each of these tends to focus on a specific interaction – typically a call to the contact center – and none take into account the preferred channel of communication of the person being surveyed. The results therefore are limited in scope and constrained by the number of completions and the amount of resources put into analyzing returned surveys.
The same research confirms that we are now living in a multichannel customer service world in which companies are forced to support the communications channels their customers prefer; if they don't, many will simply stop doing business with them. The same is true of sending out surveys – companies are much likelier to get more returns if they use the channels of customer choice and carry out the surveys at appropriate times.
Companies apparently think this is too hard to do. Nearly two-fifths (41 percent) of research participants said no tools are available to collect feedback across multiple channels, more than one-third (35 percent) don’t think there are tools to analyze cross-channel feedback, and nearly as many (30 percent) don't think there are tools that can identify the root causes of why customers are not satisfied.
They couldn't be more wrong. In my role as head of contact center research I have identified 19 vendors that provide customer or enterprise feedback management tools, along with a further 13 players that have niche products. Four of these we rated as "hot" vendors in the Ventana Research Value Index for Customer Experience Management – Customer Feedback. Each of them and most of the other vendors have capabilities to support surveys through multiple channels, and many make it possible to choose the channel based on the customer's profile.
Since the majority of surveys are text-based, their analysis can be automated using text analytics. Many of the feedback vendors include analytics in their products; alternatively, there is a growing number of specialized vendors whose tools can be used to analyze the content of surveys.
The combination of multichannel feedback and text analytics can help companies achieve higher rates of return on surveys, develop a more holistic view of the results across more channels, and link the outputs in each case to the agent who handled the original interaction, making it possible to assess the person's performance. The most advanced text analytic tools can classify surveys into types – for example, product complaints, service complaints or complaints about the way their call was handled. They can also supplement the survey data with additional information extracted from systems such as CRM or case management, and thus link the survey results with an agent or a process. Furthermore, the analysis can be scheduled to run at regular intervals and so identify recurring issues and trends.
Customer feedback is already proven to be the most reliable method to understand customer sentiment and satisfaction. Combining it with text analytics can reveal even more insights that can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of agents and contact center operations.