Why is the customer’s voice so important? First of all, you want to keep them as your customer. Secondly the customer has become your unpaid sales staff. It is called word of mouth. Happy customers will recommend you to others, and consumers tend to listen to their friends (especially millennials). Lastly the customer is a testing ground for your products and services by providing feedback on new offerings. You don’t want to believe that you are conducting tests on your customers but that is exactly what happens. Customer feedback is necessary for continual improvement, and continual improvement is necessary to keep pace with your competitors.
All the information we gather about our customer’s experiences is important when it comes to improvements, reputation and ultimately, the bottom line. The most difficult part about gathering the data is that customer feedback comes in many forms: conversation (phone or otherwise), email, snail mail, web forms and even third-party ratings services, both online and off-line. Collecting all the data from these sources gives a complete picture of your standing in the marketplace. For the most part, attempts to assemble this data have been met with failure.
The problem is the customer’s communication is delivered in an unstructured format. Data entry is time-consuming, often inaccurate and isn’t necessarily in the language of the customer. Sometimes it was easier to resolve issues without documenting the problems. Unfortunately it never allowed for historical findings in order to compare and analyze issues.
Every business, it seems, wants to be agile now. Rightfully so because agile, flexible, and fast is what makes smarter decisions! But data entry is necessary without the tools for unstructured data. Through the power of Unified Information Access (UIA), both structured and unstructured data can be gathered, preventing the traditional silos from hoarding valuable assets. UIA will integrate large volumes of unstructured, semi-structured and structured information into a unified environment for processing, analysis and decision-making. The UIA platform combines elements of database and search technologies in order to make information access dynamic and ad hoc while offering the reporting and visualization features commonly found in business intelligence applications.
For customer service this means all data—regardless if it is structured, semi-structured, and unstructured—can be included in an analysis. Analyzing the customer’s testimonials, sentiment and opinions is your portal to continuous improvement and smarter decisions for future products and services.
By Cindy Balon Harder, EPM Contributor, from: http://www.visualdatagroup.com/node/145
Throughout her 20+ year career, Cindy Balon Harder has had extensive experience in Marketing, Wholesale & Distribution, Supply Chain, and in developing Sales and Operations Planning processes. She is particularly familiar with the Consumer Products industry where she has participated in all aspects of the supply chain, from demand planning to warehouse distribution. Cindy is a Principal at Visual Data Group. Her main focus is Marketing, PR and Social Media, and Supply Chain consulting.