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Episode #46: The Trouble With Customer Feedback Management

Grad Conn

December 28, 2020  •  16 min read

What’s the difference between customer experience management (CXM), and customer feedback management (CFM), and why should you care? In this special flashback episode from the Forrester CX North America Conference, we’ll explore these two concepts, and learn why one of them is clearly superior.

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PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to the CXM Experience. I’m Grad Conn, CXO at Sprinklr. And, hey, Merry Christmas! A New Year is coming. I don’t think any of us think it can come soon enough. So bye 2020. Hello 2021. Very excited.

The roaring 20s of the 20th century were an amazing time to be alive. And I got a funny feeling that the 20s of the 21st century are going to be just as exciting. A lot of new tech back in the 20th century was exploding at the time. It was the invention of cinema, railroads were going crazy, radio is coming out, there was all sorts of new tech going out in the 20s. And electricity was being spread across the country. Same thing now. Lots of new tech. It’s going to be in a real explosion of innovation and creativity. So I’m really looking forward to it.

The rest of this week, we’re actually going to talk about trends and predictions. And we’re going to take a little bit of a look at what we think is gonna happen. How that affects CXM, and how do you think about driving new experiences in a world where experience is getting become more and more compelling all the time.

So today, I’m going to do a little bit of a late Christmas gift for everybody. I did a really interesting webinar with Forrester a short while ago. It was the Forrester CX North America webinar. And in there we talked a lot about CXM, and customer feedback management (CFM). And it’s been interesting to see that the CXM mantle has been to a certain extent, taken by companies who are really in the CFM space. Companies that really spend their time doing surveys, and looking at what customers think, but don’t do anything about it. Where CXM is really about management. I need to understand the experience by listening to what people are saying. I need to learn from people. Then I need to love my customers by immediately responding to any issues or requests. If I’m in pain, solve it, if I’m happy amplify it. So CXM is not CFM. And I think we’re going to be looking to a pretty interesting year, where we’ll finally land that definition and finally get CXM on the right footing.

And of course, Sprinklr is an amazing CXM company. The best set of connections to all the major platforms so we can listen like nobody else can. We’ve got nearly a decade of AI experience now. So nobody can learn the way we can. And we have the ability to respond and interact with people directly. So no one can love the way we can. And that’s my only ad for today on Sprinklr. But it’s really is a compelling place that we’re in at Sprinklr. In that all customers have moved to new channels. And we are there able to listen, learn, love, and make sure customers are having great experiences. So listen to this webinar, from Forrester, I think you’ll get some really cool stuff out of it. And then I’ll come back at the end really quickly just to say goodbye and sign off.

Welcome everybody to our really cool webinar. Today we’re gonna talk about how to harness the power of real customer experience, life beyond customer surveys. Customer surveys have been a really important part of CX for a long time. But there’s a new source of data that’s even cooler, that can be added to survey data to create really actionable customer experiences. And today, customer experience is what it’s all about. Customer experience has become the new brand. And in a world where everything’s moving online, creating great customer experiences has become critical, strategically critical for almost all organizations. So let me get into it. And if you have any questions, feel free to ping me directly. You have my twitter address there @GradConn. I’m Grad Conn everywhere, you can hit me on Facebook or LinkedIn or wherever you want. Please connect with me. Please feel free to continue the discussion anytime.

So Forrester’s talked a little bit about something called survey fatigue. And I think Forrester is really leading the way in customer experience. And this idea of survey fatigue is real. Companies are struggling to get customers to respond to surveys. And they really need that data. But it’s just too much. And I don’t know, what do you feel like on a day-to-day basis? This is, I think, particularly egregious in the mobile context. I think a lot of these are programmed on desktops without thinking about what the mobile impact is, but it’s pretty overwhelming. And quite frankly, most of the time I’m just like, I got to get rid of this screen. I got to move on. So the quality of feedback is low. And the response rates are going down all the time.

That being said, there’s still an important and legitimate place for surveys. But the answer to lower survey response rates is not to send more surveys to people. In fact, if someone is regularly dismissing a survey without completing it, I would argue you should probably not serve a survey to that person in the future. Because clearly, you’re already negatively impacting their experience, because they’re dismissing, right? People do respond to surveys, and okay, keep giving them surveys, that’s cool. And there are people who like to fill out surveys, there’s nothing wrong with that. But there may be other ways of getting information from people.

If you think about where people have moved, and what I think is compelling over the last quarter, is that the world’s really changed radically. And it was so funny, because less than a year ago, I spent a lot of time talking to companies and saying, you know it would be really great if you could start using these modern channels. And the reason I would say that is that their customers had moved to those modern channels. It was funny, there were a lot of arguments and a lot of I don’t know, and tare they really going to be big, and I’m not sure, and we’ve got email, and there’s just this very resistance. But it’s interesting today is that people have moved past that. Clearly the modern channels are the communication wave of the future. I love not having to convince people of that anymore.

And so what you see is you see surveys as sort of one channel that people have been using to get customer experience and feedback. But now there’s all these other channels. There’s 24 different social platforms out there, there are 11 different messaging platforms, you’ve got live chat. And then don’t forget things like forums, things like Reddit, huge. The millions of blogs all with comments. And then of course, there’s review sites. And all of those billions of comments that are occurring across all those hundreds of millions of platforms are all relevant to your business. And I would say that you ignore them at your own peril.

The thing that makes it challenging is that all this data is unstructured. And it’s unsolicited. So what’s beautiful about surveys is that you structure your questions, you can make them toggled and radio buttons and multiple choice. And you can very easily process that data. And you can put that into the kind of structured databases that most people tend to have in their CRM systems. CRM systems are not well adapted, and not built for the unstructured unsolicited data coming from all the modern channels. So that’s where Sprinklr comes in. So Sprinklr from day one, was architected as a CXM database, a customer experience management database. And as a CXM database was built to take in all this unstructured unsolicited data. Built to take it in in a way that we can have appended all the different interactions that someone has had with us, and also pull in the structured relational data from the CRM database, and now you have a complete 360-degree view of the customer.

The challenge, of course, with unstructured unsolicited data is how do you make sense of it. So that necessitated that Sprinklr become one of the world’s leading AI companies. And we are now. A part of the reason for that is we have this massive database of all these conversations. And so there’s 16 petabytes of data out there, that’s in our local store that we use to train our AI models. And then we have a large customer base, because we’re the leading customer experience management platform out there. And so hundreds of thousands of people are training every day, all of the different AI responses. And so you have a very sophisticated AI system, because it’s very well educated and very well trained.

And this is a great quote that came sort of from Forrester recently. They had traditionally always talked about survey data, which is great to do. But recently, they of it to say, hey, to really understand customer experience, you’ve got to unlock multiple types of feedback, including conversations that are currently going on social media, between customers and employees. You really need to do everything you can to achieve a deep level of customer understanding. And it’s only by looking at the full extent of all their conversations that you can do that. So I was excited to see Forrester say this. Made a ton of sense to me, it’s the way I run my business every day. I look at a dashboard that has sentiment and comments, I can see exactly what people are saying about Sprinklr. But I’ve also got AI that rolls it up into categories of comments that I can respond to or take action on.

So this leads to what I’ll call the modern CXM equation. And one thing that sometimes I think is a challenge in the martech space is that vendors tend to always be like me and no one else. And I think that’s potentially not that helpful. Because if you’ve got a survey system, I wouldn’t advocate to get rid of it. I think you should keep surveys. They’re great. But you know that not everyone is responding to the survey. So you need to add in this unstructured unsolicited data that you can get from Sprinklr.

And the other thing that would be potentially critical that is often ignored too is that, like, one of the challenges of the of the survey mindset is that the survey mindset leads to a reporting function. So you do the survey, and you get the report. It’s like, this is how people felt, and then you decide to change it. What’s kind of cool about this unstructured data is much of its real time. So someone says, Hey, I’m having a bad time right now, or this company is making me sad. In many cases, you can actually respond and fix the problem while it’s current. Think of yourself as a customer. Wouldn’t it be amazing when you’re having a bad customer experience, to have it fixed in the moment, as opposed to having to get a letter, or someone apologizes two weeks later. It’s just not nearly as satisfying. And so one of the other very important parts of Sprinklr is that we allow people not only to listen to what’s going on, but also then to actually be able to respond and really love your customers in a way that shows you’re listening and understanding what they’re saying, and getting back to them. So this modern CXM equation is CFM, customer feedback management, which are the survey companies. The listening to the unstructured stuff, having actionability, and that’s CXM. and I think the M is particularly important, actionability, driving the management of it.

One great example that I love to talk about is McDonald’s. In addition to being very delicious, and a reasonable part of my diet. I also drink McCafe every morning, Keurig McCafe, excellent coffee. So McDonald’s had a bit of a problem, because they had been using surveys, and pretty traditional techniques to try to understand what their next menu item would be. And the challenge is that people often misrepresent what they think they should be eating. And that’s actually getting worse, people are more and more political about their eating habits. And so McDonalds is getting a lot of information from customers that they should be serving salads and healthy options. And they would dutifully introduce those items, and then they wouldn’t sell them. They would just sit on the shelves and go back.

And so they decided to turn to Sprinklr. And they said, What are people really asking for? What do they really want? And what they found were thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people, and they went actually back five years. Which you can do in Sprinklr. And you’ve got a full fire hose. So they saw all the comments, going back five years of people saying things like, Ah, it’s midnight, I’m super drunk. I really need an Egg McMuffin. Or it’s the afternoon and I just need pancakes. Today is the day when I needed pancakes. Or why can’t I have hashbrowns with my Big Mac? I love hashbrowns. And so they saw a number of things. Number one is people asking for breakfast items all during the day. And number two, they saw which breakfast items they were specifically asking for.

And there had been for many years, people thought wouldn’t it be great to have McDonalds breakfast all day. And it was always slightly irritating to get there at 10:31 and they wouldn’t serve it to you even though it was right there. And they still have the refrigerator. But they had never been able to go to management and say, here’s the scope of demand. And here’s specifically what people want to buy. And so they did that. And management’s response was great, go launch it, but don’t spend any money in advertising. So this was a Sprinklr, and PR launch. And what they did is they went back to the people who had said, I really wish I could have pancakes in the afternoon. And sometimes it was years later. And they would say, hey, guess what? We’ve got pancakes for you. And what happened is the retweet rate was extremely high because people were so blown away that McDonald’s was even listening to them. And listening, number one, number two, actually responding with what they had requested is amazing. And so that created all sorts of amplification that made this a top trending item on Twitter, and other platforms as well.

And so when that happens, the mainstream media picks it up. Then it becomes amplified in the mainstream media. They’re like, Hey, what’s going on? What’s the Twitter storm happening around McDonald’s? And then if you remember that all day breakfast launch, it was on all the morning shows everyone was talking about it. It was like a super big deal. And McDonald’s really had to spend almost nothing on it. And so it was like an event that caused billions of dollars to be added to McDonald’s bottom line. And it all happened by listening and learning what people want.

We actually like to call this system listen, learn, and love. I like the alliteration obviously it’s a classic sort of marketing alliteration. But I think this idea of I got to listen to what someone’s saying, I have to learn from it so I can make context around it. And then I love them by hearing what they’ve said, I respond to them a way that’s relevant. If you think about it, this is not dissimilar from a relationship you might have, right? So you might have a relationship with someone, and if you don’t listen to them, or if you listen to them without really hearing them, right, because people rarely say exactly what they mean. And if you don’t respond in a way that shows that you love them, you understand them, it’s difficult to make that relationship work, certainly long term. But the same thing applies to a brand and a brand and a customer have a relationship. And brands needs to do more relationship building like this, than they have to date.

So that’s modern CX. I think it’s got a very cool future in front of us, I actually couldn’t be more excited about the next few years. I think companies have fully embraced digital transformation, they’ve also fully embraced something called CX transformation. So customer experience transformation is a necessary part of the digital transformation journey. And in order to really transform customer experience, you need to understand what your customers experience is right now, and what they are looking for. And so the only way to do that is to listen to them, to learn from it, and to love your customers back.

Thanks for listening, I hope you enjoyed that. I do think that this difference between CXM and CFM is really important. Because I don’t think it’s just sufficient to hear what people are saying. No, in fact, I would say that the standard going forward will be that customers expect you to act on their issues immediately. And if you don’t, they’re going to switch to somebody else who will. So that’s CXM / CFM. And we’ll talk more about this over the coming months. Over the coming week. We’re going to be spending a bunch of time on predictions in the future and the exciting years ahead of us in the roaring 21st century 20s. So I’m really looking forward to that. And for today. That’s it and I will see you next time.

Unified-CXM Experience
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Article Author

Grad Conn

Chief Experience Officer, Sprinklr

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