Text feedback in multiple languages: 5 ways to fail (and our solution)

Along our journey, we have discussed with a large number of companies with global customer bases. These companies have customers in many continents and therefore receive (or should receive) customer feedback in several languages. For many of them, this provides a challenge: they don’t have the personnel to read or understand the feedback in a language the headquarters doesn’t speak. It is interesting to learn how they deal with this challenge. These are some of the solutions we have met.

1. Feedback is asked only in the home market

This might sound hard to believe, but we have come across major global US companies, who – because of their lack of language skills – only ask customer feedback in the US (and, perhaps, internationally in the UK). This provides them with heavily skewed results. 

2. Only the feedback in familiar languages is utilized

One company we talked to had a global policy of asking NPS feedback from all its customers. All feedback also contributed to the global NPS score of the company. But as there was no-one in the team to understand some major languages, part of the feedback was simply left unread.

3. No text feedback is used

Numbers are (nearly) universal. If you ask feedback with only questions where the consumer can give you numeric grades, you should be able to deal with feedback from anywhere. Too bad the numeric only feedback is seldom very insightful. And if you want to dig out what the customer really thinks with number responses only, you need to ask a lot of questions. 

4. Text feedback is only utilized in local offices

Some companies do ask text feedback also in local languages but aggregate only the numbers to the corporate level. The text is handled in the local sales offices. This provides means for the local team to do some often-tactical improvement actions, but the global leadership is left in the dark, and company-wide strategic improvement actions are never going to be done.

5. Only Sample of the feedback is translated

This is a widely used method as well. Even though feedback is provided by thousands of customers, some companies decide to translate only a sample of the feedback. The translation can then be managed by a professional translation agency. If the sample is big enough and done well, the overall result can be statistically reliable. The challenge with this approach is that it is still expensive, often slow, and the sample size is hardly big enough to provide more detailed insights for operational decisions. E.g. the sample can be large enough to reveal to the leadership that there is something wrong with the product reliability. But if your product manager wants to study the issue deeper, he won’t find enough insightful comments by just reading through the sample.   

As you can see, there are many ways to deal with the challenge of feedback in multiple languages, but they all have their weaknesses. 

How do we solve this challenge?

Our solution at Lumoa is to get all the translation done with automated translation engine. Both Microsoft's and Google's automated translation services are quickly improving quality wise and they provide a cost effective way to get a large amount of text feedback translated without any delay.

The immediate worry our clients have is always the same: what about the quality? Everyone has experienced automated translation to produce some funny results - especially when translating from small and difficult languages (such as my native language Finnish).

It is true that automated translation will not be replacing professional translation services anytime soon. But we are not translating a book here, not even content for marketing materials! We just want to capture what the person talks about and the strength of the sentiment (how strongly positively or negatively the topic is talked about). And for that purpose, the automated translation works well enough. It enables you and your company’s leadership to understand what people say. And it enables aggregating and categorizing the feedback into topics across languages. In our analytics, it enables also assessing, how impactful the categories are. This is enough to support fact based decision making and start making improvements based on the customer feedback.

Translation options.JPG

In customer feedback analytics the end-result matters most: if the translations are good enough to empower the right improvement actions, don’t worry about the quality too much. What your customer cares about is the improvement: the fact that they are being heard and the issues are being fixed. They don’t care if something they wrote sounded a bit funny in your regular monthly management team report. It is also great that this method allows us to take into account text feedback in dozens of languages. We don’t need to choose to focus the voice-of-the-customer efforts only in a few large markets but can listen to all of the customers. Whether you listen to your customers should not depend on the language they happen to write in. All customers matter.

7 Major NPS mistakes and how to avoid them

Many big and small companies use Net Promoter Score to rate customer experience, but many of them also do it wrong. Although NPS has only 2 simple questions, it doesn’t end with a simple survey. Best implemented, NPS starts with employee training and ends with follow-up actions taken by the company. Avoiding the mistakes stated below will help you to ensure the future success of your company and increase ROI while tracking NPS.

1.    Chasing the score

Once you have gathered the information, calculating the Net Promoter Score is easy. The problem is that NPS is never about the score itself. You might track the trend, but what will you do if it drops or goes up? Knowing why your promoters love you or why detractors are unhappy is equally important if not more, than the trends. Taking control over NPS by focusing on the follow-up responses will give you the most results out of NPS.

2.   Asking too soon

Many companies send out NPS surveys right after the purchase, which could likely result in rating your website or visual designs, but not the brand loyalty or customer satisfaction. Let your customer use the product and form an opinion about it. Perfect timing depends on the nature of the product or service, however, in general, you should send NPS survey 10 days after the customer purchase/use/delivery or 30 days after downloading the app.

3.   Not tracking the change

NPS score is vulnerable to change and for you, it is beneficial to keep track on what drives NPS up or down. It is important not to flood the same customers with the surveys. Instead, ask a small portion of your customers, then repeat the survey in some period of time by sending the NPS questionnaire to the other group of customers.

4.   Focusing too much on detractors

Understanding detractors is important, but knowing why your loyal customers love you will drive your business to the top. You should spend at least as much time analyzing the reasoning behind promoters, as your detractors, as promoters are the people who spread word-of-mouth advertising and literally will bring your business to the top. Learn how to analyze and communicate the strengths of your business, your competitive advantages that will attract more customers with the insights from NPS surveys.

5.   No follow up

Show that you care about your customer by making a follow-up plan for the every response that you gather. Ideally, this could be personalized message according to the score or the problem that your customer faced. Try to solve the problem and ensure your customer that you are going in the right direction. Following up your customer influence a lot on your brand, as the customer, who was heard, wants to give more feedback in the future and continue the relationship with your company. The success of your NPS tracking largely depends on securing that with surveys and follow-up the required actions to satisfy your customer are taken.

6.   Not training your employees

In order to take action, your employees must be aware of the NPS system and how to implement it into the work routine. Educated employees, that deal with following up your customers, will produce higher results. Training created by Bain & Company including a system of feedback and coaching is not a high-cost investment and will immediately result in higher morale and productivity.

7.   Keeping results within the survey team

Some companies keep the NPS results … within the NPS team. The truth is that all the departments of the company influence customer experience. NPS should be visible and not be left out from the meetings. Read more on the role of NPS results in the workflow of each and every department: 

Note: Net Promoter, Net Promoter System and Net Promoter Score are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

Why every company needs proper customer experience management?

Most companies (89% according to Gartner 2015) believe that they will primarily compete on customer experience going forward. Still, very few companies are able to systematically manage their customers’ experience. For a reason or another, they consider the customer experience to be out of their control.

Companies are obviously different, and they have very different reasons why they are not able to take things into control in this field. Some of the most often occurring reasons include:

  • Some companies just don’t have the technical skills and know-how of the modern tools to deal with customer data properly.
  • Some companies lack the leadership commitment. They do things but not on a level with high enough impact. 
  • Some companies decide to prioritize other things. They might be not profitable and the cost cutting is the only way to survive. Unfortunately, the less they focus on customers, the less likely a turnaround will be.
  • Some companies have an established process in place. Theoretically, they do all the right things. But they don’t do those things right. They read the feedback and respond to customers. They might spend tons on money on increasing customer understanding. But there is very little action based on that. Or they do all the right things but the process is too slow to have any real positive impact on their customer experience.

The reasons for ineffective processes are unique in every company. But they lead to very similar consequences: the company has higher churn, higher costs and it loses sales opportunities as a result.    

To any company out there, listen: it is super important to start managing your customer experience in a systematic manner. The process in itself is quite simple. We often use the following illustration to describe the steps.

The process includes the target setting, feedback gathering and analytics, action planning and the required improvement action. Finally, it also includes closing the loop with the customers. The critical thing to ensure is that all of this is done properly.  And by properly, I mean that you do the basic process in a fast, focused and actionable manner.

And why is that? Below are some of the typical ways an ineffective customer experience management process hurts your business:

Increased churn

If you are slow in generating insights (e.g. you analyze and read the feedback manually once per month for reporting purposes or you have an external service provider doing that for you once per quarter), you are always late to respond to any issues your customers have. By the time you have your feedback analyzed and actions planned, your unhappy customers have already churned.

Lost sales

If your insight creation and action planning process takes too much time, you miss upsell and cross-sell opportunities. You are not able to reach out to the customer at the time they would be most likely to buy more of your products. Additionally, you are not able to capitalize on your happy customers’ likelihood to recommend you.  

Lower ROI of improvement activities

Prioritizing improvement actions is difficult without the proper understanding of the importance of customer experience drivers. If your analytics process doesn’t bring you focused insights that help you to immediately make decisions and plan actions, you are highly likely to spread your resources too thinly, focus on the wrong things or focus on too many things at the same time. If you make improvements with a shotgun approach, the ROI of the investment you make will be low.

Higher costs

Finally, if you use ineffective tools and manual processing of data, your costs will be too high and you waste money. Having your analysts do very basic excel analysis is also wasting money if they could be spending their time more on more advanced analytics and driving improvement actions instead.  

Be smart when designing your customer experience management process. And be smart when choosing the tools to use. Many things can be automated in an easy manner and artificial intelligence can help in generating insights into your decision-making process. You should be focusing on improving the customer experience and running your business - not on fiddling with data and trying to make sense out of it. 

Read how Lumoa's customer experience analytics  can help companies in focusing on the most important improvement actions:  

Customer experience target setting: 5 dos and don’ts

Customer experience related target setting is critically important if you want to ensure wide buy-in across the organization. If a customer experience metric is followed up at the leadership level, along with the other key performance indicators, mobilization of the rest of the organization becomes significantly easier.

Why is that? Because that tells about the company level commitment and communicates to the rest of the organization that the customer experience really is important to the leadership. Everyone has seen the word “customer” in the center of company strategy slides and values so many times, that unless there are numbers and money tied to it, many people will be considering it as meaningless company jargon.

You are lucky if your employees are not this cynical. But even if they are not, there are significant benefits in setting up a company level customer experience target. The most important benefit is, that a common target encourages people to work across organizational silos and solve the biggest customer problems. The biggest and most persistent problems are typically the ones, that cannot be solved by one function only.

While we have helped companies in establishing company-wide customer experience KPIs and targets, we have learned a few lessons to share with you. Keep these dos and don’ts in mind when planning your customer experience related target setting and incentive system.

When choosing the metric

Don’t

When choosing the metric, don’t just choose a number. While you need to follow the number and establish a target for it, you also need to understand how the organization can influence the target. Therefore, choose a metric which provides you with immediate access to insights on what is driving the metric.

Do

Choose a metric which enables you to analyze the drivers behind the number. A good example would be NPS: it includes not only the number but also the free text feedback (customer is also asked why did they choose this particular score). Analyzing the text enables you to understand the drivers behind the number. This is essential when you actually want to improve things and achieve your target.

When setting the target

Don’t

Don’t just establish a target and after that start measuring. In many cases, there is high pressure to get target setting done already before the measurement even starts. Then you end up googling NPS benchmarks and set the target somewhere (targeting the same level as Apple, anyone?). This method has problems. The public benchmarks are not always trustworthy. There are also significant country and industry-specific differences in NPS levels (and the same applies to other customer experience metrics as well). The moment when you ask the question also influences the result. Health care providers typically get great scores as they happen to ask for feedback just after the patient has received some treatment. Not so easy to repeat if you are in the utility business.

Do

Always first establish a baseline. Plan your approach, start measuring and only establish the target once you know your current level. If you then want to exceed Apple, go for it. But at least now you know, if the difference is 5 or 50 percentage points. The target should always be derived from your own situation: aim to improve, be ambitious but also realistic. Benchmarks can help you to calibrate at this point but as said, they can also be misleading.

When justifying the usage of customer experience metric vs. other metrics

Don’t

Don’t consider the customer experience metric to be something which is inherently in conflict with your revenue or profitability targets. Don’t think it is a soft target which can or will be sacrificed when the money starts to talk.

Do

Using a customer experience metric on leadership level makes sense as a leading indicator. While the leadership mostly cares about revenue and profitability, these metrics seldom tell what is going to be your success next month or next year. They are lagging indicators. But if your NPS is great today and you work on improving it, the chances are you will make good revenue and profit also tomorrow and the day after.

When deciding on incentives

Don’t

Don’t think that customer experience targets are something that only your customer-facing functions, such as sales and customer service, can influence. Most parts of the organization have a role to play here and the ones with an indirect relationship with the customer (such as your product people) are often the ones whose incentivization is the most important thing as they do not necessarily receive direct feedback from customers. Don’t forget that aligned targets can and will help people to work across organizational silos. A common target encourages people to work together. And vice versa, conflicting targets are the fastest way to ruin the customer experience.

Do

When incentivizing people, think all the groups with significant leverage on the customer experience. In some companies, it is everyone. Some companies decide to exclude particular groups, whose direct impact is so small, that they are better incentivized via other metrics. Do what is smart for your company, but ensure wide enough support across the organizational boundaries.

And finally:

When missing the target

Don’t

Don’t freak out even if you don’t reach the target. And especially, do not panic and abandon using the customer experience target if it appears to be hard to achieve.  

Do

Analyze what went wrong and move on. If you know what influences your metric, you should be able to set the target realistically and to also achieve it. Remember that Lumoa can help you in getting a clear picture of what the negative and positive drivers of your metric are.      

While targets and incentives are not the only solutions to the problem of bad customer experience, they are often critically important for making significant changes in companies with complex organizational setups and established businesses. This applies to most big companies and to many small and mid-sized as well. Therefore they are a great tool to consider for a company of any size. 

Our way to a better world: Interview with the Lumoa Team

At Lumoa, we are big believers in sharing a common goal and helping others around us succeed. Our team is the engine driving us forward.

I am Anna and I have recently started working for Lumoa as a digital marketing assistant. What I have admired in Lumoa since the very beginning is a clear business vision and an absolute customer-oriented approach.

We talked with the current team: Carlos, Suvi, Johanna and Teppo, experienced experts in customer experience, about how Lumoa had been developing since the launch.

How was the idea of Lumoa born?

Suvi, Carlos and Johanna met at work at Nokia, before it was acquired by Microsoft. Together, Carlos, Suvi and Johanna have more than 40 years of experience in driving business impact with customer experience management and data.

Suvi mentioned that the team shared a strong passion for customer experience. They also saw a lot of new technologies that could be used more effectively in the context of customer experience management. In addition, the team had learned something unique in the big corporations like Nokia and Microsoft. They realized that what they had learned could be productized to help other companies.

Lumoa is about getting things done

Teppo, the newest team member with a background in software development, joined Lumoa in January. “I’ve always been working with small companies. When I started to look for a new job and discuss with various companies, the Lumoa team was the first one, who actually knew what they were going to do and why,” says Teppo. “Startups are always like “yeah, we have this idea…” But Lumoa was special in a way that they clearly understood what they wanted to do. From the very first interview, it was different, compared to many other early stage startups.”

“We have a great team in a way that we are very different but at the same time everybody shares the need and willingness to get things done and a strong drive to make things better and to succeed,” adds Johanna. “Although most of the time we don’t think too much alike, we even have our arguments, and different views, we still push to the same direction, which is very healthy. It also gives me confidence that this team can really achieve great results.”

The common goal is what drives Lumoa

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A dream of Lumoa is that it becomes the world reference in terms of customer experience management. How do they get there? “Our product may change, people may change but it would be great that if in 5 years you go to the US and you meet someone saying, “Oh you’re from Lumoa, that’s cool!” Carlos says. Johanna adds: “My dream for Lumoa is that we have achieved something with this company, that Lumoa has impacted the world in a positive way, and we were part of it and made a difference.” Carlos continues: “We are very open to change and to receiving feedback. We have already changed a lot. We can rethink things if needed. We don't stick to one thing.”

Apart from the common goal, all the team members have different motivators. “Typically,” Johanna says, “when you build a career in a big corporation, you end up progressing in a field where you are good at. You can learn, of course, but it’s never like in a startup, where you also must do things you’re not so good at. One of the big motivators for me is that I do something different than in the past. I learn new skills doing things I am not so skillful at and I am happy just to be building something I believe in.” It is more of a game for Carlos, focusing on a challenge together with fun. Suvi is happy, that now she actually can help fulfilling the needs and solving problems of the companies that Lumoa is working with.

Results?

“Looking at the calendar, we’re really really happy because within the last few months we have achieved a lot. However, we are never satisfied. We would like to achieve even more,” states Suvi. “That’s what unites all of us: we are super happy, but at the same time super critical. Our situation is really good but never good enough”, adds Carlos.

Suvi continues “Our greatest achievement, for now, is to have three large corporations as our customers. Second, with the feedback which we are getting from these customers, our machine will be analyzing millions of feedbacks in a year. It’s a large amount of feedback and it is great to see the customers relying on our service. We get a lot of pressure but in a positive way. Most important, our customers need and want to use our product! They also want to arrange training sessions with management teams. I believe we are on the right track.”

Customer experience, whose business is it?

Who in an organization should own the customer experience? Some people say it is the CEO, some people claim it should be the CMO. Some IT infrastructure led organizations have even given the ownership to the CIO! Some people say it must be the whole organization. And some people argue that if the ownership is shared across the organization, no-one really has the responsibility to make things right.

The truth is, large part of the organization does indeed influence customer experience. And therefore, everybody needs to step up and improve things in their own territory. Most of the functions in an organization have something to do in improving the customer experience.  In typical organization, the roles can be defined as follows.

Top leadership should set and communicate a clear customer centric vision, set targets and follow them up. The top management commitment is critical for any cultural change to happen.  

Sales needs to understand the feedback per customer or customer group and ensure that the action plans are shared with customers.

Customer service function must understand the customer feedback, make improvements and communicate the changes done back to the customers when appropriate.

Product development needs to design and redesign experiences utilizing the feedback. Depending on the industry this can mean anything from taking the feedback into account when designing a new hardware product to fixing issues in the software immediately after they have been noticed. The digitalization means that the product development cycles in many industries get shorter. In the school book publishing you can no longer wait for three years before implementing the planned changes in the new version of the book. The digital editions and support materials can and should be improved immediately when the need arises. 

Marketing must tailor the customer communications to align with customer segments. In many organizations, marketing has an overall responsibility for the customer experience improvement initiatives and customer insights. Therefore, the marketing needs to ensure that the customer feedback and insights are utilized across the whole organization.

Finance should understand and control the financial impact of the customer experience initiatives.

HR must ensure that the customer experience metrics are included in the bonus and incentive schemes and develop organizational capabilities accordingly.

IT typically runs or enables running the data gathering and analytics process. They also support integrations e.g. enabling feedback to flow back to CRM system.

What if customers have issues which are not a responsibility of a single organizational function?

When everyone knows their role, you’ll normally see things improving gradually. The most difficult cases, however, are the ones that fall between the cracks: the ones where customer service team blames the product team for the product being bad while the product team believes that the marketing function has made false promises to the customer. But the angry customer doesn’t care who made the mistake. She just wants her issues sorted out.

If the organizational silos prevent customer experience improvements, the company has a problem. The solution is straightforward on paper but requires hard work within the organization. The key steps include:

  1. Set a common customer experience metric and target for the organization. (See our previous blog post about NPS to read more about this). Give all the teams access to the same insights about what is driving the metric up or down.
  2. Help all teams to understand the key customer journeys and how their work contributes to the customer experience along the journey. When there is a shared understanding of the customer journey, people typically manage to widen their perspective outside of their own silo.
  3. Empower people to fix issues that go across the silos. The attitude of taking an extra step when needed, instead of just waiting someone else to fix the problem, is contagious: when employees see other people doing it, they get encouraged to try out as well.

In the end, the whole company needs to acknowledge that the customer experience is everyone’s business. Sales, marketing, product development, customer service – none of them can fix things alone. The front-line people have a direct impact, but the other parts of the organization have important roles as well. If things go really badly, none of the function leaders alone have the power to solve the situation. The CEO must therefore be fully committed to ensure alignment across functions happen.   

So, whose business is it? It is everyone’s business. And the CEO should own it.

Would you like to read more about setting up customer experience management process? Download our Quick guide to customer experience management:

What customer experience metric to choose? 4 reasons to select NPS

If our customer is not measuring customer experience yet in any systematic way, we practically always recommend them to start with NPS* (Net Promoter Score) as the key customer experience metric. But why is that? There are plenty of other possible metrics out there, for instance the widely adopted CSAT (customer satisfaction) and the nowadays more and more popular CES (customer effort score).

In addition to these widely-used metrics, some companies prefer to use metrics specifically built and tailored for them. Unfortunately, unique metrics easily lead to unique and expensive tools and impossibility to get any benchmark data without expensive tailored studies. Therefore, the choice of metric needs to a be a compromise: it should support your unique business but not in the expense of practicality.

Some companies also feel that they need half a dozen customer experience metrics to really measure the customer experience in detail required. The problem is that, if you have several equally important customer experience metrics, none of them is likely important enough to really drive changes in your business. Complexity is often endorsed by the customer insights function. The rest of the organization would be happier with something simple and actionable.

Finally, there is a group of companies that just chooses something that a random survey or rating tool they use happens to support. This can lead to anything and everything: five-star rating, smileys etc.

Why do we then recommend using NPS as the customer experience metric?

  1. NPS provides a single, powerful, metric for target setting. It gives that one customer experience related number your leadership needs for target setting and bonuses. Don’t waste time trying to argue for five different meaningful metrics. By adding complexity, you most probably gain very little but lose the simplicity any organization needs to be able to cooperate and really focus on making the improvements needed.
     
  2. NPS is short and simple for the customers to answer. With only two questions (recommendation score and the why-question) you should get most of the insights you need. When more and more people don’t have time or energy to answer any long questionnaires, two questions is a smart way to start.  
     
  3. NPS is an industry standard metric. It is extremely widely used especially in companies who have tied some of the employee compensation to a customer experience metric. The standard nature of NPS ensures that there are benchmarks available. (Although be always careful with benchmarks, as the culture and context of survey impact the absolute level of the metric.)
     
  4. The free text feedback is a great source for insights. If you have read any of my earlier blog posts, you have probably noticed that I consider the free text to be the most important part of NPS. When people are asked, why they gave the score they did, they typically highlight the key things on their mind. Both positive and negative. Analysing the text helps significantly in understanding the drivers for the current customer experience.    

But aren’t there other metrics that fulfill the same criteria?

If you read through my four criteria, you probably noticed that I didn’t say anything specific about the wording of the NPS question (How likely are you to recommend…). Over the years there has been a lot of arguing and controversy over whether that particular question is more powerful than some other question in predicting growth. Since Frederick Reichheld introduced the metric and claimed it to be the one number you need to grow in 2003, a lot of effort has been put to criticize the wording of the question, the complexity of the score calculation and even the eleven-point scale it uses. Many people have also tried to find a metric with a better predictive power than NPS, but their success has been questionable. (If you are interested in the topic, check for instance this list. It includes studies both for and against NPS.)

I don’t mind. And unless you are a scholar, aiming to find the perfect metric, neither should you. For any company who cares about its customer experience, the key is to just choose a metric that works and stick to it. And by “works” I mean it should fulfill the criteria above: provide a number to follow, include text feedback for insights, enable some level of benchmarking, be simple for customers to respond and simple enough for your employees to understand. The systematic follow up of the number and actions done based on the insights will bring in the value for you and your customers. The improvements you make driven by the metric are far more important than the metric itself.  

*) Net Promoter, Net Promoter System and Net Promoter Score are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

Would you like to read more about setting up customer experience management process? Download our Quick guide to customer experience management:

Customer surveys are dead

Customer surveys used to be the name of the game in understanding the level of customer satisfaction and managing customer experience.  

20 or even 10 years ago, when a company wanted to understand their customers’ satisfaction, they typically initiated a process of regular customer surveys. While the surveys were often done annually, some relatively agile companies managed to do them biannually or even quarterly. The bigger the company and its clientele, the more complex the effort was. Luckily the world was (and is!) full of market research companies specializing in running such surveys and analyzing the results. It was slow and expensive process, and the customer insight organizations had to fight for their budgets regularly, but at least in some companies this provided the leadership some confidence, that they knew what their customers were thinking.

The world has changed, making most of the surveys obsolete

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Times have changed. In today’s digital world, if your customers are not receiving the level of service they expect, they switch service providers quickly. In some industries, if you let your customer down, they can buy the service anywhere in the world. The unhappy customer can also easily spread the word about the bad service or product. And the negative word of mouth spreads at lightning speed. If your company learns what the pains of your customers are only 3 months (or 12 months) after the fact, you have no chance of influencing them. If your customer is unhappy, most probably they have already left by the time you learn about their unhappiness.

While the digital world provides tools for customers to switch providers easily, it obviously provides the businesses a platform to utilize as well: a way to collect and process feedback any time, almost immediately after any transaction. This has led to a constant flow of customer satisfaction surveys. Not once per annum, quarter or month but all the time! For customers, this can sometimes be frustrating. Especially if the surveys are long and are received too often.

Still, customer feedback matters more than ever. How do you make it work?

  1. Make the feedback matter. You can do this by focusing on action. Your analytics and decision making mechanisms should be at least as robust as the surveying part. If you don’t plan to act on feedback, don’t trouble the customer by collecting it. Asking feedback is easy. Doing something meaningful with it - no so. The more elaborate digital survey tools make surveying as a continuous process easier and cheaper than earlier. However, they do not change the fact that most companies still don’t know what to do with the data they receive. Data doesn’t turn into insights, insights do not turn into actions. And constant surveying with very little action is the worst thing you can do for customer engagement.
  2. Don’t ask too much. In many cases a simple NPS questionnaire is enough. If the customers care about the service and have something to say, they are typically happy to answer a short questionnaire with two questions only. You can identify the key pain points analyzing the NPS free text feedback. And learn anything relevant about the respondent background by linking the NPS results in the behavioral data you collect in the background. If you really need to ask more, ask only after identifying the specific customer subset who has experienced the issue you are interested in.  
  3. Don’t ask too often. Prompt the question using smart sampling so that you bother a single customer only rarely. It is still possible to provide the customers a chance to give you feedback anytime they want.  

The time of traditional customer surveys is gone. But customer voice and customer feedback matter more than ever!

If you can’t understand it, you can’t manage it

The famous quote wrongly attributed to Peter Drucker “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” has lost its relevance. In a world where 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day, making sense of the data is the big challenge. 

At Lumoa we see this challenge every day. Collecting data is simple nowadays and many companies are getting NPS* data from their customers. However, only few know how to make sense of the data to drive fact based customer centricity.

Extracting value from NPS data through text analytics

Once a company operating internationally starts collecting data, this is usually what they are faced with. A sea of unstructured data that is difficult to process and understand:

text analytics.jpg
 

When a company is faced with thousands of answers in multiple different languages, from multiple products and talking about different things… the first, easy and natural step is to calculate some KPIs and plot some trendlines. Now we feel much more confident. We know what our NPS score is and whether it is going up or down. Surprisingly, many companies stop here and, when something changes in the trend, they either try to explain the changes based on intuition or scramble to get a slow, costly traditional consumer research project done. All this often leads to wrong decisions. There is too much room for political debates as there is no single way to understand the truth. The sad end result is that the customer churn increases because of the delayed insights.

score graph.jpg
 

But lets assume that the company wants to benefit from all those insights that are hidden in the customer responses. The next step is…. the word cloud! While word clouds can be pretty, they can also be pretty misleading. They  lack context, often have a confusing colour code, longer words look more important as they take more real state, and important topics are diluted as customers use different words to express the same thing. Quoting Jacob Harris, “ Every time I see a word cloud presented as insight I die a little inside”

Word cloud by Jacob Harris

Word cloud by Jacob Harris

 

At Lumoa we believe that companies should have a solution which is:

  1. Fast: Continuously provides insights on what matters to customers
  2. Focused: Users understand at a glance which topics have the biggest positive and negative impact on customer experience eliminating room for different opinions and politics
  3. Actionable:  Enables different people in the organization to get the insights they need

For this, we have created an analytics engine that, taking advantage of latest machine learning developments, processes data in real time to assess what has the biggest impact on customer experience. Furthermore, we hide all the complexity behind a beautiful and easy to use UI so companies can focus on what matters most to customers.

Start understanding what you measure so you can manage it effectively! Contact us for a demo on how we can help you generate value from your NPS data.

 

*) Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score and NPS are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

Want to retain your customers? A true story on what not to do

I moved to a new apartment and signed up a contract with a new internet service provider. The price is reasonable, the queuing time for the customer service is short and the speed of the line easily allows uninterrupted streaming of Netflix. I should be happy.

But I am not. The line breaks every once in a while, for about 10-30 seconds. It is enough to stop the streaming. I could personally live with it (on a good day) but, I guess you know how kindergarten aged kids react when their favorite Barbie episode breaks up in the middle of their long-awaited “screen time”.

I call the customer service. In fact I call them several times. They fix something and the good news is, the connection seems to work for a while. But the problem returns. Every time. I have to call them again. And again. And I start to get annoyed.

One day the connection is particularly bad and I know I've had enough. I contact the customer service and say that I want to end my contract with them. It is time for me to change the service provider.

And wow! That is when it happens. The internet service provider starts caring for me! They apologize. They promise to increase the speed of the connection for free. They improve the fault correction for the line (I'm not certain whether it is doable but it sure sounds convincing). They do all these things hoping that I will reverse my decision.

Sorry. There is no amount of caring that would make me consider coming back anymore. I gave you feedback several times. You didn't react to that in a way I would have hoped. You failed in a critical touchpoint for too many times. It is too late now. The fact that you are willing to make improvements only when I'm already quitting, just makes me angry. It doesn't influence my decision to leave. 

What can you do to avoid ending up into a similar situation? Here are our tips for retaining customers:

  1. Use customer feedback to understand which are your critical touchpoints
  2. Manage the touchpoints properly and
  3. Ensure that you measure success in those critical touchpoints

Do you need help in analyzing customer feedback and understanding which are the critical touchpoints? Contact us and we'll help you.