1 The Future of Customer Experience (Twitter) November 2011
2 Introduction We're an increasingly online society. Depending on who you ask, at least 75% of this country is on the Internet in one form or another. Generation Y (ages 14-27) now outnumbers the Baby Boomers (ages 45-65), 81 million to 78 million. And 96% of all Generation Y is on a social network. They are also the demographic with the most discretionary income is using social media. (This will become important in a little bit.) But a lot of this online activity is no longer happening on laptop computers, and it certainly isn't happening on desktop towers with big CRT monitors. It's all happening on mobile phones. Smart phones. iphones and Androids. It's even happening on tablets like Apple's ipad, the Motorola Xoom, and Samsung Galaxy. We're becoming an increasingly mobile world, and we're only going to become more mobile. Smartphones began outselling PCs in early , and we don't expect it to slow down any time soon. To be fair, we don't expect smartphones to replace laptops and large production computers after all, this white paper was created on a laptop, and it would be nearly impossible to do it on a smartphone. However, we don't expect people to lug around a laptop just to give feedback on a restaurant, check in to their favorite store, or even check Twitter and Facebook when they can do it on something that fits in their pocket. What this means is that while millions of people have laptops, only a few million people have smartphones, but as they get cheaper and faster, more people will continue to buy them. So what does that mean for you? If you're reading this paper, it means you're interested in two things: customer experience management and mobile feedback. And you want to know if this is going to affect you. Short answer, hell yes. Long answer, read on. 1
3 What is Mobile Feedback Mobile feedback is very simple: someone uses a mobile phone to give you and your organization feedback about the service and/or product. They don't go to a website at home. They don't use a landline to call in to a phone survey. They don't even fill out a survey response card at the table or front desk. It all happens on their mobile phone. As of August 2011, 43% of the cell phone market owned smartphones. The rest used "feature phones," also known as flip phones. 2 The Android operating system now holds the number one spot for market share, with 43%, Apple is second with 28%, and Blackberry, Symbian (Nokia), and the Windows Mobile OS all share the remaining 29%. 3 (In other words, if you're thinking about creating a specific iphone app, think again; your audience is smaller than you think.) There are more mobile phones and tablets than there are people in this country. While not everyone has a mobile device, it does mean that most of them do. 4 One in four smartphones is 4G capable. 5 3G phones run peak anywhere from 2-6 Mbps (MB per second), while 4G phones can run upwards of 50 Mbps. How does Mobile Feedback Affect My Business? A scenario: Let's say you own a restaurant. For whatever reason these things happen a customer has a bad experience, and she wants to tell everyone about it. Ten years ago, she would have written a nasty comment on the comment card, complained to the manager, and told a couple of friends, vowing that she was going to make life difficult for you and your restaurant. But, after telling a few friends, she would lose steam and not really do anything else, short of retelling her experience whenever someone asked if your place was any good. It's not pleasant, but it's not earth-shattering either. Your restaurant goes on and continues to do well. But now it's nearly 2012, and the days of the comment card are slowly dwindling. Instead, your customer who had the bad experience is armed with a mobile phone, and she's not afraid to use it. She pulls out her phone, and fires up Twitter: "Bad experience at Sam's Bistro. Food was cold, looks unappetizing, waitress is surly." And she attaches a photo of her meal. She has 1,000 followers, most of them local, and many of them will see it. Her photo is also uploaded to Flickr, a popular photo sharing site, and it gets tagged with your restaurant's name, which means it and the note on Flickr can be found during a Google search. It's also shared on Twitter and Facebook automatically, so all her friends have a chance of seeing it a second time
4 Next, she checks in to Foursquare, a geo-location networking app, and leaves a tip for other people who might see it: "Save your time. Food isn't very good, and wait staff has a bad attitude." Not only do her 450 local Foursquare friends see it, but it's there for anyone who looks at the Foursquare entry for your restaurant, even before they set foot in your place. Afterward, she opens up Yelp (a restaurant and business review site where customers can leave comments and reviews about a particular restaurant or store), and leaves a longer review about her bad experience. Hers is the third review, but it's the longest and most recent, so it appears at the top. And since a lot of people check out Yelp when they're searching for new restaurants, you can be sure a lot of people are going to see that. And, if she's still thinking about it when she gets home, she'll gripe about it all over again to her 800 friends on Facebook. Finally, all of this stuff the tweet, the photo, and the Yelp review will all show up on Google and Bing whenever someone does a search for your restaurant's name. Again, the customer may lose steam and stop complaining to her friends after a couple of days. But the damage and her negative review will linger for months, if not years. But it could have all been prevented. A solution: But this paper isn't about how you run your business, or train your wait staff, or prepare and serve your food. It's about how you let your customers complain to you or compliment you, and making it easy for them to do it. By making it easy for them to talk to you, you may even be able to prevent any of these things "going social" in the first place. Going social: the act of any kind of message a complaint, compliment, joke, question, answer, rumination or random thought hitting social media through one of the big social networks, like Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, etc. You can keep complaints from going social by letting your customers give mobile feedback while they're still sitting in your restaurant (of course, if you read this far, you figured that out already). Not only does this let the customer get their complaint resolved in a timely manner, but it will also use up any of the angry feelings they may have had. Why? Because they will feel heard. They will feel like you listened to them, like they had a place to vent their frustration, and like they were able to get their problems resolved easily. Mobile feedback lets your customers speak to you via their mobile phone in a few different ways: They can take an online survey on a mobile-friendly website. They can take a text based survey.
5 Why Is Mobile Feedback Important? Social media has changed the way marketing and brand management works. For one thing, it has taken the brand's identity and meaning out of the hands of the marketers, and given it to the general public. In other words, whatever your public says you are, that's what you are. If enough customers say your wait staff is friendly, you're the restaurant with the friendly staff. If enough customers say your clothing prices are too expensive, you become the expensive clothing store. And if enough patients say your dental procedures are painless, you become the painless dentist. Whatever our clients, customers, and patients say about us, that is what we are. That's because people trust what their friends say about brands more than they trust what professional marketers say. That's why reviews, testimonials, and comments are so popular, and why we pay attention to them more than the marketing copy. As a result, our perceptions of companies and brands are often based on what other people have told us. And if our customers are telling their friends before they ever walk out the door of our business, then we've lost the opportunity to easily fix the problem and restore our reputation (it can be done, but it can be difficult and time consuming). Enter the Mobile Phone The mobile phone is so widely used in our society, you're safer assuming people are carrying one instead of being phone-free. And of those phone carriers, 4 out of 10 of them are smartphones. The other 6 are flip phones. So why not take advantage of that and let people give you mobile feedback while they're in your business? There are already so many touchpoints for your company and your customers, it could be difficult to get feedback on all of them during a short call or telephone survey. That, and the completion rate on these surveys are fairly low, about 1 2%. But the completion rate on mobile feedback instruments text-based surveys and mobile-friendly web-based surveys can be as high as 18 23% when it's pushed out (i.e. when you send the survey request to the customer). Mobile feedback is also 800% (yes, eight hundred percent) higher than traditional comment cards or IVR (interactive voice response; touch tone phone surveys). So if you want high response rate to customer feedback, mobile feedback is your best bet. So why not customize your information gathering by using simple surveys for different times during their visit to your business: Table tents on restaurant tables or checkout counters asking people to take a 4-question text-based survey. A QR code on a product display asking one or two questions about their reaction to the product. A geocoded push via Facebook to customers who "check in" asking them to to take a brief survey before they leave. Sending a text survey request to customers as or after they leave your store. Ask customers to submit photos, video, and even audio snippets (30 seconds of a voice recording) to accompany their text.
6 You can set these different reminders and touchpoints around your establishment so people are reminded several different times to take the survey. For example, your utility company is trying to improve customer feedback response. There are many different touchpoints where you can ask customers for response: If a potential customer calls to get information about your service, send a text survey after they re done to find out how likely they are to go with your service versus a competitor s. Find out what they have that you don t, or something they don t do that you do. (Be sure to ask permission first.) If a customer calls your customer service hotline, set up a system that will automatically push a text survey to them after they complete the call. You can learn their hold time, how helpful the representative was, whether their issue was resolved and what could be done better for next time. You could even get feedback during a service outage to get customers feedback. As customers call in to report the outage, send a survey short code to get instant feedback on how your customer service representatives and service technicians are responding to the issues. Because of the immediacy of these results and because customers are far more likely to use an text-based survey system over dialing into an 800-number and offering touchtone input this could be your opportunity to catch an unhappy customer before they "go social" and tell everyone about it.
7 Benefits of Businesses Using Mobile Feedback So what good does mobile feedback do you? You've managed to capture opinions and feedback from people, you've identified the problems, the areas that need a little work, and even the strengths you didn't even know you had. How can you put all of this information to work? You could do nothing, file all of the information away, and let your business continue to run as it has. (However, the fact that you've read this far shows that's not really an option for you.) Or you could use it to defend your brand and even manage your customers' experience immediately as well as in the future. Customer Experience Management This is the biggie. This is why mobile feedback has become so important. By using immediate mobile feedback, you can sometimes fix problems for people while they're still in your establishment. In our earlier scenario, imagine if you could intercept a complaint you were alerted to by a text message. Let's say your customer is still sitting there in the restaurant, and she responds to a text survey and says her service is slow, because they're still waiting for their drinks to show up. As the manager, you can immediately go out to the table, apologize for the problem, fix it, and do anything else you need to keep them happy. This may also help you identify problems you're having on the floor before they become an epidemic and your servers are in the weeds. This response could even have the added benefit of your customer tweeting and Facebooking that she's very happy that management at the restaurant fixed a potential problem. And, like we said earlier about trust and relationships, her friends hear about your wonderful treatment, and decide to visit your restaurant the following night. Brand Management and Defense Read the case studies of Comcast and Twitter account, and you start to get an idea of what mobile feedback can do for your business. is public, and the point of mobile feedback is to keep it from getting that far, you get an idea of what the cable giant is doing to defend their brand, and even turn complaints into word of mouth marketing opportunities. Whenever someone writes a complaint about the company on Twitter Comcast sucks! Cable has been out for 6 hours, I've been on hold for 45 minutes one of the Comcast customer support techs who staff accounts will immediately respond: How can I help? I'm sorry you're having trouble. The customer is able to describe the problem, and get it fixed within a few minutes of sending their tweet, rather than waiting for another 30 minutes on hold. Usually after getting the response, the repair, and having it all take place so quickly, the customer then tweets out their pleased response, thanking Comcast: for fixing my cable so fast. Fixed just in time for the UK game.
8 What does this have to do with mobile feedback? It means that while you can do a lot with in-store mobile feedback, it also means you need to be vigilant and pay attention to the social media world. Because there will be times that, no matter how many table tents and placards you put out, customers would rather vent their spleens publicly to a lot of people. You need to be able to defend your brand and manage their experience quickly and easily. You can't let a negative response grow and fester. You need to be prepared to respond on any platform to any complaint. Analysis and Trending One of the most important things a business can do is track their performance, both in terms of sales and customer satisfaction. Mobile feedback lets you gather the latter information, because you're asking your customers to tell you what they thought of their experience in your location. Mobile feedback gives you instant notification as well as long-term trending efforts. Add a few new items to the menu? You can find out whether people like it as soon as their visit is over. Wondering whether that new sales associate is being rude to the clientele? Your customers will tell you, sometimes while they're still in the store. Are customers unhappy with the new pricing, or have they even noticed? A look at the historical data will tell you whether they're angry or unconcerned that prices went up. Mobile feedback data can be stored and reexamined to help you understand whether new training efforts, new customer service initiatives, or even new staff are having a positive or negative effect on your customer experience management.
9 Who can use Mobile Feedback? Nearly any kind of business can benefit from a mobile feedback solution, at least in the B2C sector. These are just a few of the types of businesses, and how they can use it. Restaurants Restaurants are actually a prime candidate for a mobile feedback solution. Your customers have at least 30 minutes, and more likely an hour, when they're sitting at a table and have a few free minutes before or after their meal. This is where a text-based survey can really come in handy. These surveys don't depend on smartphones, instead being handled by any type of phone, including 6-year-old flip phones that barely take pictures. The surveys are less hassle than filling out comment cards, and nearly everyone is accustomed to sending text messages, so they're far more likely they ll take the time to send a couple of quick text answers than call a survey line and spend five minutes on the phone talking about their dining experience. The implementation is easy: Place table tents in the seating area that list your short code (a 5 or 6 digit number diners will punch in to text their answers to) and invite them to take a survey about their experience in your restaurant. Once you ve got them in the system, you can ask them about anything: the ordering experience, the server's friendliness, the quality of the food, the cleanliness of the restaurant (especially the bathroom), and whether they would tell their friends. (You can even get them to opt in to marketing pushes sending out marketing messages for long term communication) You might also consider printing the short code at the bottom of every receipt to remind people that they can offer feedback on their experiences any time, even if they don t get a chance the second they re in the restaurant. Retail Asking for feedback in any way will put you head and shoulders above most retailers, because most of them just plain don't. Consider using text surveys to gauge your customers feedback on a day-today basis. You could place them... In clothing fitting rooms: Try hanging signs on those floor-to-ceiling mirrors inviting customers to tell you about their experience with your product thus far. How are things fitting? Did they need help finding any items? Among product displays: Hang signs inviting them to take a quick survey on their shopping experience. Give them an opportunity to sound off on whether they found the sizes they needed, did they find what they wanted, whether they needed help locating a certain item, and how friendly and helpful the staff was. At checkout: Put a placard on the counter by your registers asking customers how their service experience has been. They can offer feedback on a specific person who helped them find a
10 particular product or went above and beyond in some way, or complain about a particularly negative associate without worrying about an uncomfortable confrontation with that person or with management. After leaving: If you are a store that uses a customer relationship management (CRM) system (example, wireless carrier), where customer comes in and completes a transaction (payment, purchase of new product, upgrade, replacement, repair), text message is sent immediately upon leaving with invitation to complete. Upon Delivery: Does your store deliver furniture or big ticket items to your customer? Find out if your drivers were professional and treated the customer s property with respect. Track it back to the customer and the driver. You could even, upon customer completion of the survey, offer an instant discount or after-the-sale rebate on whatever items they plan to purchase, which will get them to respond while they're still in the store, thus improving your completion results. You ll get their feedback instantly, pushed to your phone or . That gives you an opportunity to find them while they re still in the store, if necessary, and correct anything that has gone wrong as soon as it s happened. If a customer speaks especially highly of an employee, you can reward that employee instantly for their excellent survey. There s a lot to be said for quick response. This might also be a great opportunity to leverage members of your store s loyalty program or mailing list: Push a text message to them inviting them to participate in a survey, in exchange for a token discount they visit your shop or an invite to a members-only Ladies Night Out event, or a perk of your choosing. The best part: You ll get feedback instantly, as soon as customers respond. Which means you can follow up immediately if necessary to ensure that your customers stay happy instead of taking their business elsewhere. Professional Services (Doctors, Dentists, Etc.) We're often asked to mystery shop medical practices, like doctors and dentists offices. But this is where mobile feedback can come in handy. Just like the retail shops, it's possible to solicit immediate feedback from patients and find out which areas you could improve on. You can solicit mobile feedback in a number of ways: QR codes or SMS short code in the waiting room and exam rooms, a placard at the front desk, and even on the receipts (although remember, you want to solicit feedback immediately, so if you rely on the receipt to remind people about the feedback, you've waited too long and you're going to have a lower completion rate). Ask questions about areas you need to improve, in order to enhance the patient's experience. Was the procedure fast? Did they wait a long time for the doctor or dentist to show up? Was the front desk staff friendly and courteous? All of these questions which are typically not discovered just by watching patients can be found through a mobile feedback survey.
11 Housing (Senior and Multi-Family) An area you wouldn t have even considered. Your location gathers prospect information when they are on site, including their phone information. CRM integration will allow for you to reach them within minutes (or hours, your preference) of leaving your property. Because you have their name, and number, you can invite them to answer a few questions. (Bob, thanks for visiting with Mary today. We d like to know what you thought about our property.) Take it a step further. Survey your new residents and/or their family within 24 hours of move in. It's a critical time to "wow or ow" a new resident or tenant (and maybe the time they decided they made a big mistake because you didn t deliver on what you sold them). You could even survey residents or their families a couple of months after move in to make sure they are still happy with their decision. Survey tenants within 24 hours of a maintenance request to ensure that they got their problem fixed. Survey them again one month after their lease began, to see whether the tenant is going to stay. Talk to them again during move out why did they leave you? Was it something you could have prevented? You can even use it as a way to to communicate with tenants or resident s families (BBQ on Saturday; come to our Golden Jubilee celebration with the grandkids. RSVP yes by pressing 1). Or notify family members about emergencies at the facility (Power outage, broken water pipe, etc). Conclusions Mobile feedback can be a valuable tool. It can help you improve your customer service, improve their experience, and generally accomplish things with sales and marketing that you never could, even with a six-figure marketing budget. With a text-based survey or a web survey on a mobile-friendly website for smartphone users you can get immediate customer feedback and resolve customer complaints and concerns before they ever go social, to their hundreds or even thousands of friends, fans, and followers. You can resolve those problems, and give the customers a good feeling so that becomes the story they tell, not an problems they had with cold food, inattentive sales staff, or even a painful procedure. Mobile feedback, and your fast and positive response, can go a long way to helping you manage and defend your brand, and keep people thinking of your business in a positive light, rather than being defined by one mistake that an influential person told to a lot of other people. Thanks to mobile phones and an increasingly-plugged in customer base, we're going to see an increase in mobile feedback. We'll see it on geo-location networks like Yelp and Foursquare. We'll find it on the search engines. Or, if we do it right, we'll see it before it ever hits the social networks. The question is, will you be ready for it? And will you be able to respond to it? For help in devising a mobile customer experience management strategy, please call Kim Nasief- Westergren at (502)
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