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Voice of Customer – should we believe all the Hype (Cycle)?

30th Aug 2012
Client Services Director Rant & Rave
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Gartner’s 2012 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies

The Voice of Customer challenge is a great test for technology and its effective application to solving real-world business problems. So Gartner’s latest Hype Cycle raises some interesting questions about which technologies are over promising, and are perhaps about to under-deliver.

VoC’s dependence on technology is driven by a couple of simple factors which Gartner themselves outlined over 6 years ago:

Who do we need to ask?

“All customers that are part of an interaction should be invited to provide feedback on the delivery of the service.”

When should we ask?

“The most-important aspect of feedback is timing. Gartner has determined that feedback collected immediately after an event is 40 percent more accurate than feedback collected 24 hours later. In addition, response rates increase 10 to 12 percent simply by requesting feedback straight after service delivery.”

And, for good measure – why bother asking in the first place?

“Gathering feedback from customers has a great impact on any organisation’s business model. From being able to finely tune services and products to customers’ needs, to actually increasing cross-sell and up-sell transactions by 15 percent to 20 percent”*

So if we are going to ask everyone, straight away, our technology had better be up to the job!

The bad news is that Gartner have put quite a lot of the exciting technologies that crop up in VoC programmes fairly firmly on the early stages of their Hype Cycle – moving briskly towards their “Trough of Disillusionment”.

Audio mining, speech analytics and social analytics are all on their way down into the Trough, and Crowdsourcing and Automatic Content Recognition haven’t even hit the first peak yet.

More encouragingly though, two key technologies are doing better. Speech Recognition is on the edge of the ‘Plateau of Profitability’ and most mobile communications (text, voice, mobile internet etc) are so well established that they’re not even part of the Hype any more.

Which means that VoC solutions combining the power of mobile (to ask everyone, straight away) and text analytics (to understand what customers are talking about, and how they feel about it) are not just hype, but ready to deliver Enlightenment and Productivity – driving value to the revenue and profit lines of your organisation.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Gartner’s Hype Cycle, especially if you have experience of using any of the technologies listed – are they Productive, Enlightening or firmly in a Trough?

*(All quotations from “Implement Customer Satisfaction Management Processes to Improve Revenue” – Gartner 2nd March 2006)

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