Real-Time, Actionable Intelligence

By Villette T. Nolon

Earlier this year, Forrester Research surveyed 176 large North American companies about their customer experience plans. Customer satisfaction surveys were the most popular activity, while Web analytics took the top spot for spending increases. To respond to customer preferences in real time, the agile enterprise needs to know what the customer thinks at any given moment. Over the past five years, an increasing number of companies have relied on online surveys as well as Web analytics to keep the finger on the pulse of customer behavior, and here are some of the reasons why.

Online Data Collection = Ongoing, Real-Time Feedback: The intrinsic value of customer feedback lays in an organization’s ability to measure the voice of the customer at various touch-points. As enterprises increasingly use the Web to establish a worldwide presence and communicate with customers, online surveys have become the data collection method of choice allowing organizations to move at the speed of customers on a global scale. Online surveys can be programmed in any language and collect customer feedback from anywhere in the world into one single data repository, thus providing a 360-degree view of any international customer base.

Online Analysis and Reporting = Fast, Actionable Intelligence: Most enterprises are drowning in more customer data than they know what to do with. Information resides in silos that don’t link customer attitudes and behaviors. The trick is to turn that raw data into actionable intelligence to make fast, accurate decisions that foster positive operational change strategies and drive profitability. By using online reporting environments, leading-edge companies reveal the story behind their customer data at a click of the mouse, and push the appropriate information to the right people quickly in their preferred format, from executive team to outsourced partners.

Flexibility = A More Agile Enterprise: No two companies have the same needs and online surveys provide an enterprise with more choices and flexibility. Online survey software can be used internally in a self-service setting for ad-hoc survey projects, or be fully integrated with enterprise CRM, contact center, help desk, business intelligence or campaign management applications to automate the customer satisfaction measurement process. A case study of a major U.S. e-commerce company revealed that customer satisfaction with service and support increased by 16% after only nine months of integrating online survey technology with their CRM system.

Cost-effectiveness = More Money Towards the Bottom Line: Data collection is only a means to an end. The cost savings online research offers compared to other data collection methods can be paid forward in the actual actions you take that will eventually boost your bottom line. By responding to customers in a more timely fashion, call centers can enhance the customer experience, predict behavior, encourage repurchase intent and referrals, and drive profitability.

[From Connection Magazine December 2005]

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