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Comparing Voice of the Customer tools available to SMEs
Traditional coverage of Voice of the Customer tools tends to omit the middle and small end of the market. To remedy this, Michelle Spaul has undertaken research into this field. Here she summarises her findings.
27th Jan 2021
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Voice of the Customer (VoC) has strengthened from a marketing tool to a fully-fledged customer experience discipline. Household names use sophisticated platforms and consultancy services to squeeze every drop of value from feedback gathered online and in app, from public reviews and social media, by customer services and through SMS and email surveys. Some platforms are better known than their clients and regularly feature in analyst reviews – think Forrester or Gartner.
However, traditional coverage leaves the middle and small end of the market in limbo. SMEs and small corporates can find the price tag and vast functionality of the big players overwhelming. What’s more, analysts rarely serve non-enterprise clients, so vendors aren’t placed in front of the smaller businesses that need their services.
While supporting an analyst in an enterprise-level review, I was disappointed we supported neither side of the SME fence. So, I set out to better understand the VoC market for SMEs and small corporates (businesses with between ten and a few hundred employees and plenty of customer feedback).
Since then, I have wondered about my wisdom and have enjoyed getting to know passionate, entrepreneurial specialists. There is no ranking, because each vendor has taken a different approach and each is a fit for the right SME or small corporate (and, indeed, enterprise-level) client.
The study compares platforms and services using the steps needed to resolve inner (individual) and outer (systemic) loop issues. It dips into implementation and post implementation support and hints at the technical capabilities of each platform today and over the next five years. It’s an RFP response without the marketing or admin.
Here’s a quick summary of the vendors reviewed to date – more are coming...
Three platforms provide all round support - strong inner and outer loop with experience in many industries. Hello Customer, sandsiv+ and XI Platform.
- Hello Customer by Insider Metrics. A robust all-rounder, Hello Customer is growing to encompass more services and functionality that deliver strong inner loop support either in platform or through integration and growing outer loop capabilities. Insider Metrics include analytic services in the price and are developing a consultancy offer.
- sandsiv+. Another strong all-rounder sandsiv+ offers clients everything they need from a VoC platform and support services that focus on proven improvement methods such as Lean and the Toyota Production System.
- XI Platform by InMoment. Despite its size and array of apps, the client base for the XI platform by InMoment is one third SME. Smaller clients can tailor the platform to suit their needs. While all platforms involve employees, I particularly like how the XI platform engages staff in issue closure.
Strong inner loop support and branded surveys help Limetropy and OPINATOR stand out.
- Limetropy. Created by customer experience consultants, Limetropy offers branded surveys, in platform case management and a focus purely on Voice of the Customer. It asks customers what they want to see to close issues. Growing outer loop capabilities will support clients in strategic business improvements.
- OPINATOR. OPINATOR rightly sees its OPIs – a fully branded, interactive survey platform – as a key strength, but I would like to add their statistical analysis, natural language interpretation of dashboards and inbuilt case management system. It asks customers whether issues are closed to their satisfaction.
The dash to online has severed traditional feedback methods and pushed businesses into an unknown world. Three vendors specialise in SaaS platforms, though they all have a growing non-SaaS audience.
- LoopVOC. Focusing on SaaS businesses, LoopVOC looks into and beyond the customer journey, creating insights into price, positioning and product roadmap. It is building data models to support retail and manufacturing. It is more highly geared towards the outer loop.
- Survicate. Rather than integrate with case management tools, Survicate gives clients the power to direct feedback to the right person using collaboration tools such as Slack. It also has analysis for the outer loop and will soon introduce AI analytics.
- Wootric. Clients of Wootric have a large, digital customer base. The platform focuses on customer lifetime value, turnkey implementation and fast time to return to make it a strong player in the B2C and B2B SaaS market. its recent acquisition by InMoment will be one to watch.
Professional services – B2B and B2C – and organisations like gyms and universities have relationships with their clients. MyCustomerLens is designed specifically for these clients.
- MyCustomerLens. In a world and after a year when everything seemed to move online, My Customer Lens reminds us that professional and consumer service businesses have one-to-one and one-to-many relationships with clients. It is unique in this study as it focusses on words in feedback during analysis and reporting. It also supports customer feedback received by employees.
When people work, shop or are entertained in a building, they want to give feedback. OMBEA offers pods so employees and customers can give feedback during a physical experience.
- OMBEA Insights. OMBEA builds feedback ‘pods’ for locations such as airports and hospitals. It also measures online experiences and presents feedback opportunities through QR codes, email links and SMS. It has a strong employee engagement offer for people who have no access to connected devices such as factory workers. OMBEA gives natural language interpretation of data and issues of priority.
I love the way each vendor has defined its niche, tailoring its approach, technology and support services to meet the existing and ongoing needs of clients. Anyone seeking a Voice of the Customer partner should consider their requirements and speak to the vendors that fit.
I will add more solutions to the review, so please visit https://customerexperienceconsultant.co.uk/voice-of-the-customer-tools-for-smes/ for additional reviews and more details. Or get in touch to find out how Delta Swan can help you maximise your return on investment.
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