Listening to Customer Not Enough

Ann All
Slide Show

Eight Telling Changes in Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors

Factors such as loyalty programs and the use of technology are influencing consumers' decision to stay with or leave their providers.

Earlier this year I wrote a post about how some companies were neglecting traditional methods of gathering customer feedback, such as surveys, in favor of "listening" via social channels. This was a mistake, I opined, as companies need both unstructured and structured feedback to improve the customer experience.


While that's true, it doesn't get to the heart of the matter. Any kind of feedback is useless if companies don't actually translate it into action.


Customer Experience Matters blogger Bruce Temkin makes this point in a recent post about the death of enterprise feedback management. Temkin says enterprise feedback management is evolving into what he calls customer insight and action (CIA) platforms. He lays out the key differences between the two, which include:

  • CIA offers a more holistic view of customers, pulling in information from multiple sources including CRM systems and contact center records. That means data integration will become more important to CRM, as Loraine Lawson wrote in March.
  • CIA relies more on unstructured data than structured data.
  • CIA focuses on generating operational action rather than simply compiling informational reports. This is where business process management can come in. I wrote about the wisdom of using BPM as a complement to CRM in March.


Temkin predicts software heavyweights such as SAP, IBM, Oracle and will produce CIA solutions, which will build upon their existing expertise in areas such as CRM, business intelligence, BPM and analytics.


Temkin hit on similar themes in an earlier post on the growing sophistication of voice-of-the-customer programs. In it, he outlines what he calls the "six Ds" of effective VoC programs: detect, disseminate, diagnose, discuss, design and deploy.


Some of the key takeaways:

  • Companies must develop processes to analyze the data they gather and test hypotheses related to these analyses.
  • Companies must create platforms for cross-functional communication, to ensure information doesn't languish in departmental silos.
  • Companies must become more comfortable with frequent change if they plan to commit to turning insight into action.

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