Voice of Customer Lessons Learned at the 2015 Answers Summit
The thing I enjoy most about being in marketing is surrounding myself with the right tools to measure performance. For the past five years I’ve worked with a company called ForeSee. Their focus is on voice of the customer analytics. In a nutshell, they provide metrics which help answer the question – are you providing the best online experience?
I was first introduced to ForeSee while I was at Digitas working on the Whirlpool account. We had just gone through a website redesign, and ForeSee gave us some valuable information on how to optimize the site post-launch.
ForeSee helps people focus on the customer experience. It allows you to understand what your prospects and customers think about your website. The reason I enjoy this conference so much is a majority of the content is focused on clients sharing their stories about how they’ve used voice of the customer analytics to help them make decisions. You basically get an inside look of various marketing departments and how they make decisions.
Looking back, here are 8 things that I will take away:
Time on site is the most distracting/confusing metric, unless you’re in retail.
One of the most confusing online statistics I’ve seen is time on site. Most people assume the more time someone spends on your site the better. After all, they seem to be pretty engaged with your site so they should be happy with what they’re seeing right? Wrong. The opposite is actually true as it relates to satisfaction. According to aggregate ForeSee data, the longer someone spends on a website, their satisfaction goes down. The only area where this is not true is the retail industry, where the longer people spent shopping on the site the more satisfied they are. My guess is there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you want someone to watch a 5 minute video, better if they actually watch the entire thing. But if you’ve got a site focused on utility or task completion, shoot for quick and simple.
ForeSee has an amazing amount of information on usability.
I learned during the conference that ForeSee has collected 130 million surveys, which means they have access to a ton of information about what constitutes great usability. This gives them an amazing understanding of what works well in the online space. When their analysts do competitive or an heuristic evaluation, they’re doing it with all of these results in mind. This is a huge benefit to companies because they are basically getting proven usability tips and best practices. I really think ForeSee has a ton of valuable information here, and being a customer gives me a huge leg up on the competition.
Making change happen faster.
One of the keynote speakers was Chip Heath who is the author of the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. I read the book a couple years ago and it’s pretty solid advice on how to drive change within your company. Much of the advice is around framing up the conversation the right way to decision makers. In doing this, Chip makes the point that it’s important not to overload you with too much information, or focus just on the rational side of decision-making.
He also shared some really interesting examples of how small changes in language, or loyalty program structure, can have an impact on driving results.
The first example he showed was from Taco Bell and how they greeted customers at the drive through. They noticed that one of the stores who was greeting the customer with “thank you for coming to Taco Bell, please take your time” was consistently selling more at the drive-through vs. the usual greeting.
The second example he gave was a loyalty program for a car wash. Instead of giving people a punchcard with eight open slots, they tested a 10 slot card and punched the first two. It’s the same value proposition to the customer, but it was just served up any more compelling way.
Experience benchmarks are just as important as industry benchmarks.
The nice thing about ForeSee is they can share competitive insight if enough clients in your industry are using their measure (via industry benchmarks). We often get caught up in comparing ourselves to other competitors, but they suggested looking at benchmarking another way. They shared overall metrics for what they call experience benchmarking. Basically, this is dissecting the various parts of your website experience. For example, things like browsing, check out, etc. if you’re trying to make your site great with product information, then why not shoot to be the best overall company who does it vs. just a couple other companies within your industry.
Understanding the vision of your customer and where they want to go.
Just over a year ago ForeSee was acquired by Answers Corporation. The CEO of Answers, David Karandish, was at the summit and he shared some thoughts on something called the vision of the customer. Essentially what David was asking marketers to do is understand where your customer wants to go, and how can you help get them there. Or put another way, think about what your customer wants to do in the future, and build an experience around it.
The power of emotion.
Another keynote speaker was Scott Stratton. He’s the author of several books, and has a nice following on Twitter. He spent eight years starting a company that created viral videos. His one learning from all that work is… if it doesn’t have emotion in it, it won’t work. I’m not sharing this because I think people should aspire to create viral videos. But it’s a good reminder that too often our messaging is about our own brands and products. We need to make sure we can emotionally connect with our audience.
Scott also had numerous examples which reinforced the theme that companies need deliver on the basic stuff to win in today’s marketplace. Sometimes that means being genuine and apologizing. Other times, it means fixing a problem so you can restore confidence in your brand.
When working globally, culture is the first place to start.
I’ve been in a global role for just over two years now. The great part about this is I get to work with people from all over the world. The greatest challenge is everyone has different norms and styles for doing business. I sat in on a presentation from GM where they discussed rolling out ForeSee on a global level. They talked about a tool called GlobeSmart, which provides a blueprint for how countries usually do business. Using this knowledge helped GM think about the best way to socialize their plan. This is also a great reminder that there’s no such thing as a one size fits all plan when you’re rolling out something globally.
Your digital experiences will always have issues, and that’s actually a good thing.
I had the chance to talk to a lot of smart people in between and after the sessions. It was very refreshing because you quickly realize everyone is up against a unique set of challenges, and everyone isn’t making as much progress as they want to. It’s a unique thing within the industry that you’re really never done making digital experiences better. It’s something that goes on and on. ForeSee’s metrics make you realize that, because no one has ever achieved a perfect score.
So there you have it. That’s my ForeSee experience in a nutshell. I’d like to thank Krystie Lee and the ForeSee/Answers team for putting on a great event. As I told Jeff Blackman (Head of Client Success) in the elevator the last day, the summit does a great job of providing real data driven client stories, inspiration, and a sneak peek of what’s to come from their product pipeline.
If you’re interested in learning more about the voice of the customer analytics, or what it’s like to work with ForeSee, feel free to reach out to me.
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