Listening to the Voice of Your Customer
Before the advent of the digital technologies and the internet, customers would only be exposed to a merchant’s products or services via the television, radio and visiting in store. Organisations had greater ‘control’ over their customers as product/service review sites such as Experian was not around, nor were social media and blog sites where customers could express their gripes. Previously, if a customer had a bad experience with an organisation, it would go far as their neighbour and family members and though the information would spread via word of mouth, it would spread slowly. Combined with the fact that choice was little, any bad reviews would probably not have any significant impact on a business.
Fast forwarding to the present day, information spreads much quicker, thus organisations have to be more responsive to customers and their competitors’ behaviour. Moreover, the internet has given birth to many online only businesses that are cheaper to set up and offer alternatives/substitutes at a good price.
Looking at complaint figures in the telecommunications industry, mobile network providers have progressively reduced the number of complaints however, some still remain significantly high. It is vitally important to address these complaints quicker by managing and using them to develop best practice guidelines.
Another current example is in the UK Travel industry. A survey showed that customer service and staff productivity are major concerns for UK travel companies. The significant importance of this example is that keeping staff happy is just as important as keeping customers happy, if your organisation is to be a success.
Listen, respond and learn
Be it your employees or customers the three key steps are to, listen to them, respond to them and learn from them. Learning is of utmost importance because it ensures that the same mistakes are not repeated over and over again causing irritation.
Managing customers and staff alike can be difficult for organisations because they have to take into consideration feedback they’re receiving from external sources such as social media websites as well as feedback going directly to the company. Furthermore it is important to process and manage the data so that it is actionable i.e. you’re able to make decisions from it that benefit your staff and customers.
Managing your feedback involves categorising the feedback into themes and common occurrences and addressing them as a whole rather than on an individual level to reduce the amount of repeat complaints. Once the complaint/feedback has been resolved this should be communicated to the customer.
To achieve such a network of receiving and responding to customers, you can look to Text and Sentiment Analytics, as explained here.