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Charting Your Customer Loyalty Course

I was recently sitting in a meeting with an Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) analyst discussing the future of our industry and the comment was made that: “EFM technology was just a means to an end.”

The following story illustrates my reaction to this comment:

A pilot using his plane’s intercom gave his passengers this in-flight message: “I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we’re making gpicture13ood time. The bad news is that we’ve had an equipment failure, and we’re not sure we’re headed in the right direction.’ The direction we’re headed is critically important, especially at the beginning of our journey. I have a friend who is a pilot and used to fly long routes across the Pacific for a major airline. He told me that an error of only two degrees in the course set on the 4,500-mile, direct-line flight from Chicago to Hilo, Hawaii, would cause the plane to miss that island by more than 145 miles to the south. If it wasn’t a clear day, the pilot could not even see the island, and there would be nothing but ocean until you got to Australia. But of course, you’d never get to Australia because you wouldn’t have that much fuel. Small errors in direction can cause large tragedies in destination.”

The means we use (EFM technology, people, and processes) to get to what should be our end (better business) are essential to our success in reaching that end. If we choose the wrong technology, fail to allocate the proper resources, and ignore how the technology and people interface with our processes, we will end up horribly off course.

I also wonder if all EFM customers are seeking the same end or if there was a chance that some are seeking different end points. Perhaps some customers were seeking what they thought was an end but was in reality a waypoint in a much longer journey. I also wondered if some EFM customers were suffering with the same challenge that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) customers were—that they were ever journeying and never able to come to the end. I imagined that some wish their efforts would come to an end just to stop the pain of journeying.

Let me state what I think the end should be: Every organization should have a clear picture of the attitude of the audience toward the organization, and the satisfaction of mutual transaction points, as well as insights into where improvements could be made to positively increase that attitude and satisfaction.

And with the end firmly established, the criteria for sufficient means to reach the end are equally firm:
1) An Enterprise Feedback Management system should allow an organization to establish a clear strategy and mechanism for gathering measurement data from the entire audience that organization serves in an integrated way. 
2) The system should use those measurements to present a clear picture of the attitude of the audience toward the organization, and the satisfaction of mutual transaction points.
3) The system should allow for seamless integration such that audience data can flow freely into the system from external sources, and then flow freely back out again to consumption points throughout the enterprise.

Technology plays an important part as a mean to the end. As the relative importance of each touch point between the company and the consumer becomes more understood, technology can be applied to automate the gathering of metrics both from unseen measure (web analytics), and direct questioning of the consumer (surveying). Case management should be used to ensure the organization resolves customer dissatisfaction and communicates that resolution back to the customer. Threshold alerts should be used to warn when metrics go outside the bands of normal operation. Of course, analytic reporting tools are also important for monitoring and realizing new insights. 

With technology maximized, processes optimized, and your people apprized, there is a very good chance you will reach your destination’s end in great shape. 

John Epeneter, VP of Product Management