OPINION9 November 2016

The need for speed

Opinion Trends

Memory is fallible, making retrospective research an unreliable source of insight, says Crispin Beale, who argues that real-time research offers a more accurate picture of customer sentiment.  

Speed crop

Waiting does not come naturally to modern consumers. In today’s world of high-speed communications, they expect interactions with businesses to be as simple and efficient as every other element of their digitally focused lives. And with social reputation easier to damage than ever — woe betide the business that gets it wrong.

To ensure customers’ expectations are exceeded, it is important that feedback is gathered and acted upon. However, memory is not infallible. Over time, recollections of an interaction can become indistinct or clouded by misperception, making retrospective research an unreliable source of customer insight.

Real-time research tools allow the customer to be surveyed moments after an interaction, meaning the feedback they provide is about that interaction, rather than wider brand perception views they may have.

This offers a more accurate approach to understanding customer sentiment — producing an instant and complete view of opinion before it can fade or become distorted.

Real-time data not only generates an unbiased picture of customer experiences, it also creates valuable insight that can immediately be put into action.

For example, instead of learning that a customer is dissatisfied from a disgruntled tweet — which could potentially cause significant reputational damage — teams can be automatically notified of negative experiences and instantly start working to solve the issue.

The information collected from across a company’s customer base will also pinpoint areas of exceptional service and those that could be enhanced, enabling brands to eradicate recurring issues and raise the overall standard of experiences.

But how can brands keep up with ever-changing audience requirements to create experiences that spark lasting interest? Understanding the emotions and needs of a customer is vital, and the birth of real-time technology is providing the tools to do just this.

For example, Anglian Water needed to get to the heart of the true customer’s voice to help increase service level performance and has benefitted from choosing a research tool with the capacity to gather information from as many interactions as possible. The existing method of measuring satisfaction did not give the company the volume of customer feedback it needed to truly understand the variations of customer experience across the different journeys.

Watermelon, part of Chime Insight & Engagement Group, proposed a real-time solution using IVR and a text-based self-complete methodology to ensure feedback is gathered moments after an interaction has taken place. Results are delivered via a bespoke dashboard, which has enabled Anglian Water to action customer feedback in real time and effect positive change across the business.

Businesses require a convenient way to bring together the data gathered from their entire customer base and translate it into useable information. Fortunately, advances in research technology have produced platforms that utilise a self-complete methodology to send short customer surveys and immediately process responses into an easily digestible format.

Using tools that focus on the ‘voice of the customer’ empower companies to not only utilise a real-time dashboard with easy-to-access information, but measure satisfaction levels for specific touchpoints. This allows them to quickly focus on individual interactions and tailor responses to produce the best possible result. The use of the solution can provide the insight needed to gain a comprehensive view of customer feedback and empowered managers and team leaders to better understand employee performance, identify top performers, and provide additional coaching where needed.

Crispin Beale is group chief executive at Chime Insight & Engagement