In the Temkin Group report, The Evolution Of Voice Of The Customer Programs, we label a class of applications as “Customer Insight and Action (CIA) Platforms” which we define as:
A technology for automating multi-channel customer feedback, analysis, and response and the related workflow associated with closed-loop voice of the customer programs
Some people have asked why I didn’t call them Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) applications, which is a term that has some traction throughout the industry (thanks to Carl Henning). While that’s a great question, it didn’t seem appropriate for me to address it in the report. But that’s why I love to blog; I get to discuss anything.
EFM was a great name for those applications when the term was coined in 2004. Instead of having a bunch of uncoordinated surveys taking place across a company, EFM applications provided a platform for managing these important customer (and sometimes employee) contacts across an entire organization. Enterprise Feedback Management applications were focussed on, as the name aptly described, managing feedback.
So the the EFM moniker describes where these applications came from… but it misses the mark on where they are heading.
To some degree, surveying functionality is becoming a commodity. Organizations are recognizing that feedback is not valuable on its own; it only becomes valuable when it’s used as an input to insights which drive some type of action. So the focus is no longer on feedback, but on insight and action. Hence, Customer Insight and Action (CIA) Platforms.
CIA Platforms need to support closed-loop voice of the customer (VoC) programs that are going beyond structured, solicited feedback (traditional surveys). With the maturing of text analytics and the rise of social media, companies are increasingly mining insights from unstructured, unsolicited feedback like customer comments on surveys, notes and verbatims from contact center conversations, inbound emails, online chats, social media sites, customer feedback comments, etc
But new channels of feedback (also called “listening posts”) are not the only element that distinguishes CIA Platforms from their predecessors. These applications also provide actionable insights by:
- Incorporating non-feedback data like customer profiles and transactional history
- Distributing tailored, contextual insights across an organization
- Providing alerts based on specific criteria
- Supporting workflow associated with taking action based on the insights
- Integrating with other applications like CRM and workforce management
The bottom line: Feedback is cheap, actionable insights are priceless.