Given that customers freely share their thoughts on social media, and that speech and text analytics can identify what customers are sharing in conversations, is it still necessary to perform customer satisfaction surveys?

Yes, enterprise feedback management (EFM), previously known as surveying or Voice of the Customer (VoC), is an essential activity that all organizations should perform, regardless of their function or purpose. While there are many applications, such as speech and text analytics, that can provide an understanding of customer needs and wants, the simplest way and often most effective method of determining what your customers and prospects are thinking is to ask them. Today there are innovative solutions that are dedicated to engaging customers and prospects on a continuous basis through many steps of their lifecycle. Some of these solutions are less interested in analyzing customer feedback – the primary purpose of EFM in the past – than in holding a customer or prospect’s attention as they go through an experience. The adoption of social and mobile technologies is facilitating this revolution, making it easier for organizations to interact with their target audience on a timely basis, an essential element of any effective surveying program. As importantly, asking customers for their feedback should be the first step in an iterative process that includes feedback collection, analysis, action and change. This cycle can be achieved when a VoC strategy is supported by processes and systems that convert feedback into action items on a timely basis.

The current generation of EFM solutions is re-defining the concept of customer feedback. These analytics-enabled solutions actively and passively capture and pull in direct customer feedback to discern content, context and sentiment. When data from all channels is combined and analyzed on a holistic basis, end users have a rich source of information to gain insights into what their customers (and prospects) are doing, how they feel, and what they think about the company’s products and service. This customer-centric data is finally starting to be valued as an enterprise asset instead of just information to improve contact center productivity and performance or to make customers think an organization cares about them. The new real-time EFM solutions are attracting attention because they can influence customers at pivotal moments in their journey. These emerging solutions are shifting the focus from the organization back to the customer, and, by doing so, they are empowering consumers.