Dave King provides tips on how to add mobile to your existing Voice of the Customer programme.
As Voice of the Customer programmes evolve and mature, businesses are looking at the range of channels through which they communicate with their customers at key touchpoints in the customer journey. Whether it’s by email, IVR, telephone or good old pen and paper, every different touchpoint – and every different customer – has a channel that will fit best. More and more, the channel that will suit customers is mobile. But how easy is it to incorporate that channel effectively?
As part of a wider Voice of the Customer programme, the mobile channel delivers instant, engaging and effective insight. However, mobile is very different to other feedback channels and businesses who simply deliver existing surveys through mobile devices will risk alienating customers who expect an engaging and enjoyable mobile experience.
Here are a few things to consider as you add mobile to your existing VoC programme:
Design for mobile – even if you’re not using it!
A real issue to consider is control. Even if you’re not actively embracing the mobile channel in your VoC programme, your customers are using it. Sending out a feedback request by email doesn’t guarantee that your customer will open that email on a PC. A recent report by Knotice found that in the second half of 2011, 27% of emails were opened on mobile devices, up 36% on the first half of the year. Perhaps more importantly, only 2% of those emails will subsequently be opened on a PC.
A beautifully-designed feedback interface, which has so much impact on a PC screen may not be what your audience sees. If they’re viewing on a mobile device, they might be subjected to buttons, check boxes and grids so tiny as to be virtually unusable, and certainly not engaging. It’s therefore critical to remember that the new breed of ‘super consumer’ expects to be engaged with in an interactive and dynamic manner. Surveys that were clearly created for another platform, and in effect, another consumer are simply not good enough.
Customers today have their mobiles with them all the time, and expect any interaction on their mobile device to be timely and relevant. Capturing customers’ opinions ‘in-the-moment’, close to the point of purchase or experience, will provide information with less bias, recall issues or influence from the brand. This leads to more accurate data, more truthful opinions, and more engaged participants.
Immediacy of communication also creates opportunities for you to validate what customers tell you. Rather than relying on 1-10 rating scales or short comments, customers can send you photos, videos and audio evidence that adds richness to the data collected, and provides ‘proof’ of the experience in question.
Immediate communication enables much more effective action. As with other event-driven feedback channels, you can use alerting to ensure that when a customer tells you they’re not happy, you react quickly to rescue the relationship. By asking the questions of customers, you’re setting up an expectation that you’re listening, and given the personal nature of mobile devices, this expectation is higher than ever through this channel.
Keep it brief
Where you are creating mobile-specific feedback channels (whether it’s through a mobile-browser enabled survey, SMS or a tailored app) you must keep it brief and engaging. Otherwise, the mobile user can simply choose not to respond, or, worse, take their business elsewhere in future. Think about the questions you will actually take action on and ask only them. Remember that you’re able to come back to customers in the future so stick with what you need from your customer right now.
Integrate with your other VoC channels
The opportunities offered by mobile with its rich data and immediacy mean it can seem like it provides all answers, but that’s not the case. Your mobile VoC activities must be governed by the same framework as your broader VoC programme. As well as acting immediately to deliver tactical benefits, you must address the longer-term strategic issues, and that means delivering mobile feedback into the same reports as the feedback gathered through traditional web, IVR, telephone and any other channels you use. It also means regularly reviewing what you’re trying to achieve and refreshing your goals when necessary.
A danger of embracing mobile is that VoC professionals treat it as merely another data collection channel. This will result in limited success and a very real risk of frustrating customers. Mobile is more than a data collection channel, it is a dynamic and evolving way of engaging with your customers, ‘in-the-moment’, on their terms. Mobile customer engagement best practices are essentially the same as those for other channels, but emphasised when compared to other feedback methods: surveys need to be really short, they need to be integrated within a comprehensive customer programme, they need to be fun and engaging for the respondent, and they need to generate actionable insights for the organisation.
Businesses that succeed in mastering the art of integrating mobile within an end-to-end feedback platform, will achieve a holistic view of their customers and derive robust business actions from their insights, no matter how they were collected.
Dave King is EVP of mobile solutions at Confirmit.