In this age and time where the customer is the king, brands need to constantly question themselves if their product or service is keeping the customers happy enough to be recommended. Brands also need to keep in check customer complaints, suggestions, opinion, and most importantly the brand-related conversations which the customer has on social media. Customer feedback is the bedrock on which a well-chalked-out customer strategy rests. Superior customer experience is bound to boost brand loyalty and ROI.
How to gain insights into what the customer thinks?
Brands can utilize the power of technology-empowered platforms and tools to access customer insights. We live in a digital world of machine learning and artificial intelligence where time is a limiting factor for everyone. Further, the proliferation of smart devices has enhanced customer engagement. An Oracle study, entitled ‘5 Data-driven Tech Trends Shaping Customer Experience’ explains that customer feedback and experience are driven by five aspects — Mobile, AI, chatbots with self-serve options, IoT for greater customer insights and CX cloud suites. In that sense, technology is the golden bridge between a brand and its customer.
Use customer feedback to meet business objectives
Once brand objectives are defined, data is then required to apply for the appropriate VOC program. VOC, is the accumulation of opinions, suggestions, feedback and applause customers offer for brands. The feedback can be roughly categorized into direct, indirect - where information is gathered via third-party channels like review sites or social media or feedback that is customer journey/historical data based. When customers don’t explicitly state their opinions, or a brand’s questions are not the right ones, then social listening (Active or Passive) becomes important. If used well, it can help brands to act on insights and data, and build customer loyalty and ROI.
It can employ the right feedback gathering mechanism based on whether it needs to improve loyalty, counter negative buzz, enhance the quality of a service or product, amongst others. For example, if a brand’s objective is to boost user experience on its website, then it should pose the right questions about the interface on the right channel and tweak its UX accordingly. Or if a brand wants to introduce a new shade of lipstick, it would need to pose the question on a channel where its target audience is and gain insights.
The cumulative use of such tools and platforms can result in positive branding and the long-term results in better sales and enhanced ROI. As per a Salesforce report entitled, ‘State of the Connected Customer,’ 50% of consumers say they are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t anticipate their needs, and 74% feel the same if the company doesn’t provide an easy checkout process.
Technology has truly empowered the study of consumer behavior, thanks to the widespread adoption of machine learning, natural language processing, and predictive analytics, collectively called artificial intelligence. Technology has also altered consumer behavior — where people buy and how they buy, for instance, a lot of consumers may have sought to buy a product via their voice assistant. Most of them use their smart devices to buy. Some apps provide personalized real-time notifications and suggestions to boost in-store and in-destination experiences, and these may influence consumers.
The study of consumer behavior plays a crucial role in marketing decisions, which include pricing, promotion, branding and distribution of services and products.
Need of the Hour!
There are survey builder tools for smart devices, online and app-based polls, online qualitative methods, DIY Insights tools, customer interviews, contact forms, review sites, analytics of activity on the website, comment or feedback boxes, widgets, and social media. There are also customer experience dashboards that offer brands a consolidated view of happenings on the customer feedback front. But, we lack a platform that can edify all the available methods to collect feedback and gain insights from the consumers. Marketers know their requirements and objectives but many a times, they are not aware of all the methods and available technologies. If all the methods are brought at one place and under one platform, marketers and other insights seekers will get benefited immensely.
Jasal Shah – CEO, Managing Director and Spokesperson of Markelytics and Velocity MR
An MBA graduate from the Institute for Technology and Management and has worked with leading agencies like IDC (International Data Corporation) and IMRB International (Part of the Kantar Group, WPP's information, insight and consultancy division). He specializes in technology related market research. He was recently felicitated with the Leadership Award by World Marketing Congress endorsed by CMO Asia for his contribution to Market Research Industry. On the personal front, he lives with his wife and sons in Bangalore. Mr. Shah has also served as the council member of most prestigious global market research association – ESOMAR.