social media sources, although 35%
were considering doing so.
Business executives and business
analysts want to ensure that the quality
of the feedback data they incorporate
into critical decisions is comparable to
that of the internal data they’ve been
using. And IT executives need to ensure
that their staffs and systems aren’t
overwhelmed by a flood of irrelevant or
That isn’t stopping some companies
from incorporating valuable social
media data into their VOC programs.
But rather than try to “boil the ocean,”
as one analyst put it, they are limiting their range to sources
that are specific to their products and customers. Charming
Shoppes, for example, is looking to monitor its Lane Bryant
customer community site, known as Inside Curve, and its Facebook fan pages, Liss says. “Our customers tend to be vocal and
active on plus-size women’s blogs,” he adds.
During the past few years, customer intelligence profession-
als, such as marketing and brand managers, have increasingly
turned to social media intelligence services like Radian6, Scout
Labs (now Lithium Technologies) and BuzzMetrics, which
gather customer feedback from the social Web. The service
providers then analyze the data for relevance and sentiment
and present the resulting intelligence in prepackaged reports,
charts and “social dashboards.”
Such services can cast as wide or as fine a net as customers
want; they also offer some degree of quality control. Dow Jones
We’re introducing new
products all the time,
so it’s important to
have that immediate,
Insight, for example, “selects social
media based on how influential it is,
how frequently it was updated in the
last 90 days, and whether it is free from
spam and porn,” says Martin Murtland,
managing director for the service. It can
also add targeted sources at a customer’s
request, such as Twitter feeds focused
on specific subjects, he notes.
The Silos Problem
The problem is that such deployments
tend to create information silos that are
isolated from IT staff and systems. As a
result, there’s little sharing of insights
among groups. VOC programs need to
integrate all of the various feedback channels into a single in-
frastructure, Temkin points out. And that’s where IT comes in.
At iRobot, for example, customer feedback used to reside in a
variety of silos, including outsourced call centers and a growing
number of social media sources, says Maryellen Abreu, director
of global technical support at the maker of self-guided vacuum
cleaners and other robotic equipment. This meant that managers had trouble using the data to make high-level decisions
about subjects like changes to product designs, Abreu says.
“We’re introducing new products all the time, so it’s important
to have that immediate, almost-real-time feedback,” she adds.
Burlington, Mass.-based iRobot decided to use RightNow CX,
a SaaS-based customer experience management system from
RightNow Technologies that “gives a 360-degree view of the customer: when they called, emailed, chatted or posted on a forum,
and what issues they brought up,” Abreu says. It aggregates
MARYELLEN ABREU, DIREC TOR OF GLOBAL
TECHNICAL SUPPORT, iROBOT
Hotel Chain Looks for
‘Moments of Truth’
GAYLORD EN TERTAINMENT, a hotel chain, is using clarabridge enterprise to gather and analyze data from internal sources such as customer satisfaction surveys, as well as external sources such as industry- specific forums and social media sites like tripAdvisor and Yelp, according to Shawn Madden, Gaylord’s
executive director of operations analysis.
the system lets Gaylord employees analyze text in customers’
comments to determine which sentiment-scored words are most
often associated with particular product features. Such analysis
allows the company to find “moments of truth” — areas of customer experience where improvement is likely to have the most
positive impact, Madden adds.
For example, analysis revealed that guests who had a good
check-in experience were less likely to complain about other
things, while those who had a bad check-in experience tended to
look for further faults.
Gaylord employees also found that the percentage of custom-
ers satisfied with the check-in process plunged from 79% when it
took less than five minutes to 50% if it lasted five to 10 minutes,
“Our voice-of-the-customer strategy is integral to our achiev-
ing our ever-increasing guest satisfaction goals,” says David c.
Kloeppel, the hotel chain’s president.