FEATURE20 January 2017

Hear my voice

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Features Impact Technology UK

Technology is making it easier than ever to hear what customers think thanks to two-way conversations and better analytics. But there’s a balance to be struck between easy and useful, as Tim Phillips reports.

Neon 5

In his April 2014 letter to shareholders, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos described the workings of Amazon’s ‘Mayday’ support service enthusiastically. Mayday is the customer service button on a Kindle Fire tablet that opens up a small video window to a real Amazon employee, and had been launched the previous September. Customers had used it to ask for technical support, report a problem, or give feedback, but – in its first eight months of operation – Amazon discovered that Mayday was generating quite a few requests that were harder to pigeonhole. Its agents had received 35 proposals of marriage, had been asked 109 times for help ordering a pizza, and fulfilled the request to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to users 44 times – while three customers had called to ask for a bedtime story.

“Nothing gives us more pleasure at Amazon than ‘reinventing normal’, ” Bezos buzzed. 

For many research companies and their clients, the pleasure of listening to the voice of ...