Stop throwing away customer feedback.
I recently got engaged. She’s fantastic. We met on an app (shout out to Hinge!) 2 years ago and things have gone pretty great. We prefer complementary chores (I cook and do the dishes - she does the laundry), we work out together, and like the same shows on Netflix.
But, for as solid as our relationship is, if I started ignoring 80+% of what she said, I’d be tossed out on my ear before the end of the week.
That might sound pretty obvious, every relationship depends on a mutual understanding, but this is the relationship most companies have with their customer experience.
Now, before everyone erupts in protest, I know surveys exist and I know usage data can be a great indicator. Those are both great additions to the CX toolbelt - for structured data.
That’s the key to this situation. According to the IDC, 80+% of customer data is unstructured and that number could grow to 95% by 2025. Unstructured data is the natural language customers use when they need support, post on social media, engage in a user community, leave a review, or email your success team. It’s not easily searchable or quantifiable. You can’t just give it a number (e.g. 7/10 NPS). It’s dark data. Historically, to understand dark data, you have to have a live person read it. Reading is expensive, and reading is slow. As a result, almost all unstructured feedback gets shelved until it’s too stale to make any use out of. Customer conversations are literally treated the same way I treat fast food leftovers. The intentions are always good, but I end up throwing it away nine out of ten times.
So, if you’re one of the 81% of businesses that are expecting to compete on CX in 2021, and (like most companies) most of that feedback is unstructured, you’ve got a problem, but you’ve also got an opportunity. You’re sitting on a mountain of untapped customer feedback. Feedback that could be used to prioritize your product roadmap, contribute to account health scores, identify emerging themes, and give a real-time look at customer sentiment and effort on every interaction across any channel. So, how do we get there?
Natural language understanding, machine learning, and AI have come a long way in the last few years. The tools are out there to solve this problem and take advantage of this opportunity. Which business stakeholder owns the process and how those insights get delivered is the subject of another blog post, but every CX team will need to have an answer for unstructured feedback in the next few years. If they don’t, their bottom lines will suffer. Customers will only wait so long to be heard before they toss businesses out on their ear.