Voice of Customer: Mine the Riches of Text Analytics to Optimize Client Experience

If Client Experience (CX) experts are right, companies that use surveys heavily to monitor the opinions of their customers will find their effectiveness wanes over time. This “Decline of Surveys” was highlighted as the number one CX trend to watch for 2013 in a recent blog post by the Temkin Group.

As they point out, “As more companies thirst for customer feedback, the number of surveys has escalated. But there is a limit to customers’ willingness to complete surveys. As completion rates get more difficult to maintain, companies will become more efficient with the questions they ask, target questions at specific customers in specific situations, and stop relying as much on multiple-choice questions.”

While I agree with the points they make, I also think surveys will continue to be a big piece of Voice of Customer (VoC) efforts for most companies. Yet, it is clear that there are several benefits of looking beyond surveys to begin obtaining a rich new set of customer data via text analytics. We’ve begun moving beyond “structured” survey data, to explore “unstructured” data from client commentary, call notes, social network comments, and more. This is something we’re actively working on at ExactTarget and we’ve already been extremely pleased with our new ability to understand subtleties of customer input.

The views and opinions of our clients are critical to our success, so we take VoC very seriously. We use several different ways to monitor feedback on our UI, products, services, support, and more. Clients have the chance to comment on all aspects of our business, and text analysis provides us with new ways to understand the feedback in more depth. We can monitor both the frequency of the usage of terms to determine what our customers are talking about most, and then use sentiment to help understand how they are feeling about those topics. This combination helps us prioritize how we focus our CX efforts to drive the best possible client experience for 2013 and beyond.

Just over a third of companies were using text analytic software to monitor VoC in 2012. Make it a point to include text and sentiment analysis in your own VoC program this year and you’ll realize a new richness in the data.

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