Tag Archives: customer feedback

The Time Isn’t Now: Could Online Reviews Replace Customer Experience Surveys?

Today’s second post comes from TMRE Platinum Sponsor Maritz.  Author David Ensing, PhD, Vice President, VoC Integration will be presenting  A Comparison of Website and Survey-Based Customer Comments: Do They Tell the Same Story? on Tuesday, November 13.   Join David Ensing next week in Boca Raton and as a reader of this blog when you register with code TMRE12BLOG, you’ll save 15% off the standard rate!

The Time Isn’t Now: Could Online Reviews Replace Customer Experience Surveys?

By: David Ensing

I saw an interesting commentary in Automotive News (an automotive trade publication geared mostly for dealers) titled, ‘Do Online Reviews Trump CSI Surveys?‘ The basic gist of the article is that dealers are relying more and more on online consumer feedback to run their businesses, so shouldn’t the auto manufacturers use this information as a replacement for their customer experience surveys? While I think that is an interesting idea, our research indicates it is an idea whose time has not yet come.

We’ve done studies in both the hotel and the automotive industries comparing online reviews to traditional customer experience surveys. As a matter of fact, Randy Brandt and I will be presenting the results of our hotel comparison at The Market Research Event conference in Boca Raton, Florida on Tuesday of next week at 2:45 p.m. If you are there, please stop in.

Not to steal our own thunder (BTW, here is a link to the apparent origin of that phrase) but presently we see lots of issues with using online reviews as a replacement for customer experience surveys. Some of these issues include:

  • - There are systematic ratings differences between online reviews and traditional survey responses for the same hotels for the same time period. Interestingly, when just analyzing the comments, these differences are less pronounced.
  • - The demographics of people that post online are different from those that respond to customer experience surveys.
  • - Most online review sites do not, and cannot, verify that the person posting the review was actually a customer at the business. Online review sites in many industries are struggling with the issue of false reviews (both positive and negative).
  • - Many online review sites allow businesses to ‘manage’ their reviews. Some allow businesses to intervene with the customer if a poor review is submitted before the review is posted publically.
  • - Sample size is an extremely limiting factor when trying to use online reviews as a replacement for customer experience surveys. Currently, there is not enough information to develop reliable scores at the business-unit level based on review site information.
  • -  Even when there are adequate numbers of reviews for a given period, often those reviews are not representative of how customers are treated at businesses. Businesses with large number of reviews tend to be those that (wisely) pay close attention to how they are represented at review sites and actively manage their reviews. This is often done by steering happy customers to submit reviews but not steering unhappy customers the same way.

Given these and other issues, online reviews probably won’t give companies an accurate view of their business-units’ performance. However, it is probably still a good idea to monitor and understand this information because it is what customers see when making purchase decisions.

OK, I know what you may be thinking. Maybe something like, ‘Well, that position conveniently supports the business he is in, doesn’t it’? I agree, but I also truly believe it. Please post a comment or two and let me (and others) know what you think.

This post is co-posted with the SoundCheck Blog.

Customer News of the Week: Getting Social and More!

As we move into 2012 and start looking forward to the next Total Customer Experience Leaders (TCEL) Summit, we’d like to occasionally share with you some of our favorite resources from around the web on customer experience, customer experience design, and customer-centricity.

Here are this week’s picks:
The Social Customer named 2012 “The Year Social Marketing and Social Customer Service Get Cosy” forcasting it as the year that social customer experiences reach maturity where “companies will focus on delivering a complete and consistent customer experience” throughout channels. Plus, NACCM and TCEL favorite speaker Becky Carroll pointed out some great uses of the medium.

Over in our NACCM LinkedIn Group a member shared the following post “Feedback is NOT a sandwich; ‘Where’s the BEEF?’” regarding the best ways to give feedback to employees providing front line customer experiences. A lively conversation on the topic is still happening if you care to join.

Finding inspiration in new and different places, this week the #PRStudChat on twitter featured Jim Joseph, President of Lippe Taylor, and the author of The Experience Effect: Engage Your Customers with a Consistent and Memorable Brand Experience. Joseph discussed customer experience and loyalty in relation to PR, and you can read a recap of the interview here.

What were your favorite customer experience links this week? What resources do you turn to?

Complimentary Webinar – Profiting from Feedback: Achieving Real Business Results with Enterprise Feedback Management

Profiting from Feedback: Achieving Real Business Results with Enterprise Feedback Management

Time/Date: Thu, Mar 11, 2010 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

Complimentary Webinar: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/916296592
Mention priority code MWS0022Blog

CareFusion increased its overall customer satisfaction by 26 percentage points after implementing an Enterprise Feedback Management solution. Attend this webcast to learn how they did it.

Many companies are struggling with how to capture feedback from their customers, partners, and employees ‘ and how to transform this feedback into real business results. Typical questions include:
‘ What are the critical steps in implementing a successful customer feedback program?
‘ How do I prevent the feedback from just ending up in a report with no business impact?
‘ How is enterprise feedback management affecting the bottom line?

CareFusion, formerly part of Cardinal Health, has successfully implemented the MarketTools CustomerSat enterprise feedback management solution across its service organization, elevating customer satisfaction to more than 90%.

Join us for this one-hour webcast to learn:
‘ The 9 critical steps in designing Enterprise-Wide Feedback Systems, and the costly mistakes to avoid
‘ How CareFusion moved from ad-hoc surveys to a systematic feedback program that translates to better service at every customer touchpoint
‘ How CareFusion improved overall customer satisfaction by 26 percentage points
‘ And much more’.

Speakers
Justin Schuster, Vice President, EFM Solutions, MarketTools
Alan Kneale, Vice President, Technical Support Operations, CareFusion
Robert Freeden, Director, Product Support/Repair, CareFusion

Complimentary Webinar – Profiting from Feedback: Achieving Real Business Results with Enterprise Feedback Management

Profiting from Feedback: Achieving Real Business Results with Enterprise Feedback Management

Time/Date: Thu, Mar 11, 2010 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

Complimentary Webinar: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/916296592
Mention priority code MWS0022Blog

CareFusion increased its overall customer satisfaction by 26 percentage points after implementing an Enterprise Feedback Management solution. Attend this webcast to learn how they did it.

Many companies are struggling with how to capture feedback from their customers, partners, and employees ‘ and how to transform this feedback into real business results. Typical questions include:
‘ What are the critical steps in implementing a successful customer feedback program?
‘ How do I prevent the feedback from just ending up in a report with no business impact?
‘ How is enterprise feedback management affecting the bottom line?

CareFusion, formerly part of Cardinal Health, has successfully implemented the MarketTools CustomerSat enterprise feedback management solution across its service organization, elevating customer satisfaction to more than 90%.

Join us for this one-hour webcast to learn:
‘ The 9 critical steps in designing Enterprise-Wide Feedback Systems, and the costly mistakes to avoid
‘ How CareFusion moved from ad-hoc surveys to a systematic feedback program that translates to better service at every customer touchpoint
‘ How CareFusion improved overall customer satisfaction by 26 percentage points
‘ And much more’.

Speakers
Justin Schuster, Vice President, EFM Solutions, MarketTools
Alan Kneale, Vice President, Technical Support Operations, CareFusion
Robert Freeden, Director, Product Support/Repair, CareFusion

NACCM 2009: Hello, How Can I Help You? Real-World – Feedback to Transform Your Service Delivery

The presentation began with the audience listening to heartfelt, recorded messages from Regence BlueCrossBlueShield customers. Here are a few of the comments they shared:

‘So appreciative of the work everyone is doing on my behalf’
‘I am so very grateful to you’
‘You guys are wonderful’
‘You are awesome’
‘I’ve never had an insurance company like this before’

Joanne Gholtston Vice President, Customer Service and Bonnie Hass, Director, Customer Service at Regence BlueCross BlueShield shared one way they analyze customer feedback – by randomly reviewing customer service calls.

How easy do you make it for customers to do business with you? asked Gholston. Complicated phone trees, impersonal messages, and legal disclaimers can drive your customers away. In fact, Gholston and Hass have done away with the recorded-message disclaimer. This doesn’t work for all companies in all states they commented. Know your market and do what you can to keep it personal.

‘Hard to hear’, ‘doesn’t sound happy’, ‘monotone voice’, and ‘no sympathy’ were some of the comments made by the audience in reviewing a recorded employee conversation. Gholston and Hass regularly share these calls with several departments within the organization. When listening to calls, Hass believes that 95% of multiple service calls for an individual customer occur as a result of poor follow-up.

Looking at the pros and cons of customer service calls was insightful. In listening to the last call, audience members commented that the employee was ‘personable’, ‘had energy, ‘gave information’ and ‘was engaged’. Isn’t this what we want from all of our customer reps? Gholston and Hass challenged the audience to go back and listen to customer service calls and find ways to add more value for their customers. Simple advice, BIG results.

NACCM 2009 LIVE: How Travelocity uses customer information to create a Customer Service Culture

When you’re one of the largest travel agencies in the U.S., and you manage the majority of your business through the web, you’ve got an interesting set of customer service challenges. Travelocity is a very well-know portal for purchasing travel, not just in the U.S., but around the world through Travelocity.com, Travelocity Business, zugi, travelguru.com and more. All of this traffic is supported by four centers in the U.S., 3 in India, and 2 in the Philippines. Travelocity achieves very high levels of service, even though they really never meet their customers face to face, and rarely even talk to them on the phone. How do that do that? Through Customer Championship. Ginny Mahl is VP, Customer Care at Travelocity. Ginny shared with the NACCM Customer’s 1st conference what customer championship is and why is it important. Travelocity’s customer promise is ‘We guarantee your booking will be right or we’ll work with our partners to make it right, right away.’ That’s a big promise when you consider the volume of business they do.

  • Delivering on their promise requires a deep enterprise-wide commitment.
  • When a customer makes them aware of a travel problem, they fix it promptly at the first point of contact.
  • They advocate for the customer both within Travelocity and with travel suppliers.
  • They not only fix the first customer’s problem but also those of similarly situated customers. They improve the customer’s entire travel experience.

Example: When a booking ends up not being the room type expected, it’s a big problem, particularly when it’s a special event. Travelocity has developed a process to pre-confirm rooms to cut down on this problem. Travelocity tackles the problem, even though they didn’t cause it! If you look at the many travel websites, you quickly realize that Travelocity cannot consistently differentiate with content. They all look and act pretty much the same. Customer Championship is what makes Travelocity different.

  • It creates a sustainable differentiator between Travelocity and other sites.
  • It causes customers to be more loyal to an organization that provides support when needed
  • Doing the right thing for customers will forces Travelocity to evaluate its policies and processes and fix those that don’t make sense for the customer.
  • Being the customer’s advocate energizes employees

The essence of this effort is echoed in art of their mission statement: To Inspire Travelers and Be Their Champion. A high-volume, mostly web-based business generates a mind-boggling amount of information about customers and their experiences. Here’s how Travelocity uses that information to support their championship vision. According to Ginny, they use it to:

  • Gain a deep understanding of our customers by listening
  • Assure the entire organization is accountable for delighting our customers
  • Work with our suppliers to improve the travel experience

Travelocity gets a vast amount of customer feedback through surveys, emails, calls, etc. — hundreds of thousands of times per month. With so many millions of data points, it’s hard to digest it all. Text Mining allows them to regularly and systematically read mass quantities of customer feedback. In order to manage this process, they have created a dedicated customer advocacy team. This group researches the issues, contacts customers for resolution, and compile feedback for further study. They also look for customer ‘cries for help.’ ‘Cries for help’ are verbatim comments that text mining allows them to search for that indicate a real problem. Comments on websites, surveys, etc. like ‘Do you care’? ‘Help!’ ‘Refund my money!’Travelocity found that they can triple customer satisfaction when the customer advocacy team responds to them. Another benefit of mining so much information and being able to make sense of it is that it also allows them to work better with suppliers. They can give real data to suppliers instead of just anecdotal stories. In short, it helps them, and their suppliers provide travelers with Proactive Customer Care to make their experiences better and better. As Ginny’s final comments reminded us: ‘Because it’s not just about getting there’it’s about assuring great experiences.”

Translating brand webpages to online communities

At CRM News, they look at how many brands are trying to convert their static brand pages into interactive online communities that can foster an environment for their users as well as bring in great amounts of market research. By providing message boards and participate with the fans of the products, instant communication can provide feedback that is currently unattainable in modern focus groups. Although adoption of these webpages has been slow, there is an increasing trend to build powerful online communities. Read the full article here.

Win your customer loyalty the old fashioned way

Over at Customer Think, Kevin Stirtz recently looked at two simple ways you can continue to keep your customers loyal to you: know what they want, and know what you are best at. It’s vital that you keep communication roads open, and that it is easy for both your customers and employees to give you feedback. If you make a goal to listen to their feedback and begin to use it to improve their expreience, customers will keep coming back to you.

What do you do to encourage feedback from both your employees and customers?

Are you Tracking Customer Feedback?

Jackie Huba recently posted on the Church of the Customer Blog that a CMO survey showed that most companies are not tracking customer feedback. This poses as a huge problem because companies can not improve if they do not track what is being said about them. Here’s a recap of the findings of the survey conducted on 400 senior marketers.

Of the survey participants:

  • 56% said their companies have no programs to track or propagate positive word of mouth
  • 59% don’t compensate employees based on improvements in customer loyalty or satisfaction
  • only 16% said their companies have a routine system in place for monitoring what people are saying about them or their brands online

How is your company listening to customer feedback?

Connecting Employees with Customers

Becky Carroll recently posted on the Customers Rock! blog that taking the time out to listen to what customers are saying is an important part of the customer experience. The old age saying is that a happy customer tells a friend and an unhappy customer tells 10 people. Becky goes on to explain that social media is important because it gives customers a platform to leave feedback and opinions, and if you can somehow meet and solve problems live online, well that’s even better!

How good of a job is your company doing in interacting with your customers through social media?