Nearly every company gathers some form of customer feedback. Polls, ratings, surveys – collecting feedback has never been easier. But what happens to all this data? How much of it is acted upon to improve the customer experience?
Most survey feedback is collected, analyzed, and reported on, and much of it ends up in pleasant presentations with impressive pie charts and graphs. Customers are seen in an aggregated view, usually identified by industry and/or title. Of course, their relationship with a business isn’t an aggregated one, it’s an individual one. So how can we really improve an individual’s experience with our brand if we only see them in the aggregate? We can’t. We need to find a way to collect the whole but solve for the part.
Curiously, most companies have the means to do it today. Many surveys start by extracting existing customer data from a CRM application to use for NPS or similar customer engagement measurements. But rarely are the results from the survey returned to the same business application the customer information was pulled from. Most often the results remain within the survey application for analysis and reporting. No doubt, sales teams would appreciate knowing how each of their customers currently viewed the company. By integrating the feedback directly into the CRM solution, a customer’s current perception of the company could now be part of the customer record.
Equally, what if a customer has a support issue but hasn’t filled out a support request? And before they do, they receive a customer engagement survey. They’re likely to share their frustration via this survey. Unfortunately, this information typically remains hidden in the aggregate or becomes yet another verbatim comment that can’t be addressed individually. Some companies, however, have figured out how to have their survey data trigger a support request by integrating the feedback into their customer support applications. This allows action to be taken immediately, and even though the customer never submitted a support ticket, their issue can be resolved. All of which drives an improved customer experience driven by immediate action taken from an aggregated survey.
A separate but equally important issue related to survey data, is the governance and security of it. Typically, each department within an organization has the freedom to choose and buy their preferred survey tool to give them the freedom to create the best survey for their needs. The result is several different tools are used across a company, which means there’s no consolidated view or oversight of the feedback data. Given the increased focus on data governance and compliance, it’s likely that more companies will choose to standardize on single data collection platform so they can provide the governance they require with the feedback gathering they need.
We see the following changes to the management of customer experience data in order to drive individualized action and data governance:
Survey data will be better governed than it is today. Running surveys is very easy because buying and using survey software is very easy. But if IT isn’t involved in the purchase, setup, and management of the software, it’s unlikely that the data is governed, creating a potential compliance risk for the company. In 2020, more companies will look to provide survey-building freedom while simultaneously delivering data governance by standardizing on single feedback platforms.
Feedback data will be integrated directly into existing systems to drive action. Most survey data ends up in dashboards and pie charts to be presented at meetings for discussion and debate. But the people who provide feedback expect action. In 2020, more companies will integrate feedback directly into existing CRM, customer-support ticketing, and other customer-management systems to take immediate action on the feedback provided. This will allow companies to close the loop with their individual customers instead of viewing them as an aggregated number in a pie chart.
Chris Benham is CMO at SurveyGizmo, which takes data out of dashboards and puts it into the hands of people who take action.