• October 1, 2016
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Mobile Disruption Alters VoC Programs

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As mobile technologies continue to transform how companies and customers interact, companies will need to rethink many aspects of their voice-of-the-customer (VoC) programs, analysts at the Temkin Group recommend.

“Current efforts don’t take into account how mobile differs from other channels. Mobile is a much more personal channel because people take their devices with them everywhere,” says Jen Rodstrom, a customer experience transformist at Temkin Group. “Many companies’ VoC programs focus primarily on the collection and analysis of customer feedback. They don’t focus on how to drive actions and outcomes that support the customer’s goals and the company’s business objectives.”

Businesses, she adds, “frequently make the mistake of taking existing surveys and simply reformatting them to be mobile-responsive.” To engage customers and garner valuable feedback through mobile devices, companies need to design surveys with a significantly different look, feel, and strategy than the ones they use in other channels.

To be truly mobile-friendly, surveys need to abide by what Temkin Group refers to as the “Five Cs of mobile VoC disruption.” They include the following:

  • Condensed. Mobile devices have small screens, and consequently, customers expect communications in this channel to be brief. Companies should also minimize scrolling, use slider bars instead of radio buttons, and incorporate simple icons, such as happy/sad faces or thumbs up/thumbs down.
  • Comprehensive. Mobile devices allow customers to provide more than just numbers and text in their responses; they can include rich media, like images, video, and audio.
  • Current. Because people carry their devices with them at all times, customers can share their feedback with companies as experiences occur.
  • Conversational. Because mobile devices are a medium for instant two-way communication, customers expect a prompt response when they provide feedback through this channel.
  • Contextual. Mobile devices provide metadata—such as geolocation, device type, or browser—that can be valuable for better understanding the circumstances that impact customer feedback.

The report also identified three stages in companies’ mobile VoC evolution. First is a mobile-enabled VoC program in which companies set up the foundation and strategy for collecting and using mobile insights. The second is the mobile-adjusted VoC stage, where companies take their mobile strategies and bring them to life with insights shared more broadly across the organization. The third stage and ultimate goal is the mobile-first VoC stage, where companies drive change based on mobile insights and maintain ongoing conversations with customers that bridge the online and offline worlds.

Most companies are in the mobile-enabled stage, “still figuring out what their strategy is for using mobile and making sure they have processes and systems in place to respond to customers and to drive internal change,” Rodstrom says.

To help them evolve, Temkin Group also developed a framework, called the “Six Ds of a VoC Program,” that outlines how companies can move beyond collection and analysis to create better experiences. This framework includes the following:

  • Detect. Solicit in-the-moment feedback for key interactions.
  • Disseminate. Accelerate the sharing of useful insights.
  • Diagnose. Identify root causes more quickly.
  • Discuss. Embed mobile feedback into ongoing discussions.
  • Design. Intensify the testing of new offerings.
  • Deploy. Implement and monitor real-time service recovery.

Companies can also use customer-generated videos to add significant richness and detail to numeric scores and verbatim comments, Rodstrom recommends, noting that such content can increase employee and customer engagement.

She also suggests using VoC to mitigate negative social media posts. If customers who use mobile apps have no outlet through which they can share their feedback directly with the company, they often turn to websites like Yelp or TripAdvisor to publicly air their grievances, she says.

“Not only does this amplify a potentially negative situation, it makes it almost impossible for the company to resolve the customer’s problem,” Rodstrom states. “Instead, if the company solicits mobile feedback from its users directly, it can open up a dialogue with unhappy customers and work to solve their problems. This allows companies to proactively respond to customers rather than reactively hearing about negative feedback with no way to respond.”

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