Make Use of Customer Feedback

Technologies are evolving on a daily basis, customers are communicating with each other better than ever, and an endless choice of competitors are always a click away; no wonder customers now expect easier and more-effective communication and transaction channels. In short, the very concept of CRM is undergoing changes, with experts emphasizing the need to constantly adjust to new data sources (as demonstrated by the emergence of social CRM).

Companies worldwide have long struggled to make customer service a revenue source, no longer just resigning themselves to accept it as necessary expense. With CRM systems being central to achieving this goal, there is a constant need to improve the data sources from which CRM derives its power. Some companies are staying ahead of the curve by integrating online feedback analytics data from their Web sites with CRM environments. The result? Enhanced capabilities in measuring user experience, communicating with existing and prospective customers, and increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Customers want companies to keep up — and that requires companies to undertake a technological effort to enable these customers to communicate with sales and support representatives faster, more easily, and more efficiently. More than ever, companies are on the lookout for a competitive edge that will allow them to give customers what they really want, and integrating online customer feedback data with CRM systems may be just the ticket.

Many Web sites use feedback analytics to gather data from their online users and customers. Normally, this data is gathered using feedback forms that customers access by clicking on buttons displayed on the site. Customers utilizing this feature can submit their feedback, which usually includes a feedback topic, a description, and contact details. The collected data is analyzed and displayed in a management application allowing the site owner to read the feedback, get statistical reports based on aggregated feedback data, reply to users, and so on.

While this information is highly beneficial in itself, we've recently encountered some very interesting examples of clients that have integrated feedback analytics data with their CRM systems to produce wonderful results: a new data source for CRM that enhances two key abilities:

  • assessing customer satisfaction for the short, medium, and long terms; and
  • quickly addressing issues and communicating with customers.

As a start, every feedback item submitted by a customer is automatically fed into the CRM environment as a new "case." Every one of these feedback items comes ready with information that is valuable on its own, but even more so in a CRM context: the user's general satisfaction level (or grade), the topic she chose to report, a detailed description of the issue, and her contact details.

There are also long-term benefits associated with integrating feedback data with CRM. Data accumulated over time allows companies to display the progression of feedback grades submitted by each customer (one company, for instance, chose to display the last-given grade to assess the user's current state of mind toward the company). A history of detailed feedback also documents users' interactions with the site over time. This leads to three results:

  • feedback data constitutes a brand-new communication channel;
  • customer relationships are translated to measurable terms; and
  • the efficiency of traditional communication channels (emails, phone calls, etc.) are enhanced.

About the Author

Ariel Finkelstein (bizdev@kampyle.com) is chief executive officer and cofounder at Kampyle Feedback Analytics. Kampyle is a leading vendor of online feedback analytics services. Finkelstein has more than 10 years of experience in the field of online sales and marketing, and is a pioneer in the field of online feedback analytics.

Please note that the Viewpoints listed in CRM magazine and appearing on destinationCRM.com represent the perspective of the authors, and not necessarily those of the magazine or its editors.

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For the rest of the March 2010 issue of CRM magazine please click here.

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