Increase revenue using feedback whitepaper
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w w w . q u e s t b a c k . c O M
Instant feedback = immediate advantage
Authors: Claudine Petit (Head of Marketing CEUR, QuestBack)
Radu Immenroth (Group Product Director, QuestBack)
Is your company ready for real-time feedback?
1. Welcome to now:
What do your customers think
about your products and ser-
vices? What do you know about
their opinions and how do you
act on them quickly? New communication
channels have produced a real flood of cus-
tomer data, and considerably reduced the dis-
tance between customers and companies in
terms of speed of reaction and content. Many
customers now use the opportunities the In-
ternet provides to make their voices heard.
And companies have the chance to use this
feedback, often called “real-time feedback” to
improve their customer relationships.
David Edelman from Harvard Business
Manager brings the revolutionary
nature of these new channels into
sharp focus in his analysis, “The new
rules of marketing”.
But how can organizations quickly
evaluate “real-time” feedback from
these multiple touchpoints in a
structured way? For which indus-
tries is real-time feedback most valuable?
And what must companies do to transform
themselves from feedback recipients, to gen-
uine managers of real-time feedback? Pro-
jects that, for example, achieve a significant
improvement in customer loyalty, prove the
financial value of real-time feedback manage-
ment. In one case, that meant an increase in
repeat purchases of 44 % for a brand owner,
and a simultaneous reduction in the number
of customers switching to competitors. One
QuestBack customer can also provide an
impressive illustration of how real-time feed-
back management delivers ROI: The number
of customers generating annual revenue of
more than €6000 rather than €500 increased by
This white paper offers companies
the opportunity to systematically
assess their readiness for real-time
feedback in multiple dimensions,
and answers questions such as:
Real-world examples from companies like Hilti,
SWISS, and the user experience consult-
ants USECON, illustrate exactly where the
challenges and opportunities for companies
lie. After all, business success is to a large
extent dependent on successful customer
Increase revenues by up to 30 % with real-time feedback
Real-time Feedback Solutions 2
» Even if the fundamentals of the Customer Decision Journey don’t seem that revolutionary, the impact on marketing is profound. (…) Our analysis of dozens of marketing budgets shows that 70-90 % of the money is spent on ads and retail campaigns that relate to the “consider” and “purchase” phases of the sales process. However, influence on the user is significantly stronger in the “rating”, “enjoy, recommend and loyalty” phases.« *1
A. What fundamental requirements must be fulfilled?
B. Which processes must be established? C. What does it mean for personnel and
IT infrastructures? D. What are the methodological requirements
to be aware of?
3Real-time Feedback Solutions
2. What is real-time?
DIFFERENT KINDS OF REAL-TIME?
Depending on company and customer requirements,
real-time feedback varies in terms of capture and
reaction times. It can mean for example, that feedback
is captured at the point of usage or immediately
afterwards, but that the evaluation comes later, if it’s
not related to an urgent request. However, if the feed-
back indicates that a customer request needs to be
resolved immediately, it’s clear that evaluation and
reaction needs to happen more quickly.
Depending on the form, real-time feedback manage-
ment should take in relation to; feedback capture,
evaluation and reaction for a particular company, and
it’s important that businesses align their methods,
processes and technologies accordingly. This is
the only way that the respective requirements can
be mapped. The following checklist provides an
initial opportunity to assess the real-time feedback
management requirements of your business.
CHECKLIST A. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS Who uses real-time feedback?
The fact that a company receives a lot of feedback from
customers does not, on it’s own, automatically mean
there is a need for real-time feedback. The question
is rather, to what extent do feedback channels
have an effect on the success of the company?
For example, feedback clearly has an effect if a
brand wants to differentiate on customer service, or
when customer loyalty and therefore the number of
repeat buyers increases as a result. Here the quantity
of feedback or ‘Big Data’ factor comes into play. If
there are a large number of touchpoints i.e. interac-
tions between companies and customers, then it’s
likely that real-time feedback management will reveal
very valuable information. However, a single piece of
feedback can also have an enormous impact when
in comes to a major customer. In both cases then, a
systematic and personalized approach to customer
care is very valuable.
This is proven by the experience of SWISS, part of
the Lufthansa Group:
explains Samuel Rodenhausen, Market Research
Manager at SWISS, about the implementation of
their system. Through the rapid availability of survey
answers, SWISS can react to feedback immediately:
if the customer wants to be contacted, it can happen
quickly, impacting positively on customer loyalty.
» By implementing an online questionnaire using the QuestBack System, we can continuously track all our important KPIs – including the particularly significant
4Real-time Feedback Solutions
Early detection or fire fighting – what can real-time feedback achieve?
What can companies do today with the flood of
data coming in? It’s possible to fundamentally
differentiate between two functions of real-time
feedback management – alerts and reporting. The
alert function helps address customer problems or
needs as quickly as possible.
If, after using the online shop, an existing customer
completes a questionnaire about usage problems,
the right system can inform the relevant customer
adviser about it immediately via email. A call the
next day shows the customer that he is being taken
seriously and is valued. If the problem can then be
solved, you have a customer that is happier and
more loyal than before the problem occurred.
Taking a long-term view of customer value,
customer satisfaction and the depth of a customer
relationship become central economic factors
(Diag. 1*2) that can be maintained and enhanced
through feedback management.
According to a Harvard Business Review report,
increased customer loyalty has another effect that
can impact revenues: loyal customers don’t go
through the early stages of the buying decision
every time, but make repeat purchases on the
basis of their existing trust in the company.*3
Identify the trend, react rapidly
Nevertheless, repeat purchases a consistently
excellent buying experience. Used at a management
level, the reporting function can reveal interactions
that may signify wider trends via dashboards (Diag. 2)
Are complaints about delivery times increasing?
Is there a delay in reaction from support at the
moment? Where are there positive customer
experiences that can improve the situation? The
overview a dashboard provides can also trigger
another real-time alert in a second-step, and
activate the appropriate response: Are more
personnel required in support? Should customer
advisors intervene to apologize and compensate
customers for delivery delays? In this way,
real-time feedback management becomes a
management instrument for marketing, sales,
or support as well as every other business area
involved in the customer experience.
DIAG. 1: ACCoRDING To BERND STRAUSS, WoLFGANG SEIDEL, “CoMPLAINT MANAGEMENT – UNHAPPy CUSToMERS AS A
PRoFITABLE TARGET GRoUP”, 4TH EDITIoN, 2007, HANSER PUBLISHERS, PAGE 27
Industry Timeframe Customer value
Loyal café visitor 1 year 1400 €
Typical supermarket customer 10 years 50,000 €
Regular Pizzeria customer Lifetime 8000 €
Loyal credit card customer Lifetime 12000 €
Typical car buyer Lifetime 150,000 €
Loyal luxury car owner Lifetime 320,000 €
How much is a customer worth?
5Real-time Feedback Solutions
Tool or philosophy – What are the prerequisites for successful real-time feedback management?
For real-time feedback management to have an
impact, it must develop into something more valuable
than a “tool”. The prerequisite for this is a clear com-
mitment from management to integrate feedback
into corporate strategy. This means that feedback
in all its dimensions needs to be incorporated: in the
design of business processes, the implementation
of IT infrastructure, as well as in the development of
the organizational structure and personnel planning.
According to a prediction from Gartner, half the
Fortune 1000 companies will have developed a
“Voice of the customer” strategy by 2015, but only
10 % of them will actually have implemented it *4.
That leaves room for organizations to gain competi-
B. PROCESS REQUIREMENTS
Are your business processes already customer-oriented?
Real-time feedback can’t be implemented “just
like that”. It is rather the logical consequence of
making the entire organization customer focused.
only when all business units focus on ensuring
that a customer has a positive experience at every
touchpoint, can the corresponding automated and
rule-based system processes be aligned to maximize
the impact of the customer-oriented strategy.
Many companies have already taken the first step
in this direction. They are strengthening measures
to make the brand experience tangible for
customers at as many touchpoints as possible,
and fostering the dialog between customers and
the company through digital media such as apps
and onsite touchpads.
Do you know your touchpoints?
The days when examining the point of sale was
all that was needed to get a picture of interaction
with customers are long gone. Nevertheless, many
companies aren’t aware of all their touchpoints,
from comments on Facebook, to conversations with
sales people, and interactions with middlemen such
as delivery services or sales partners. That’s why,
when starting out with real-time feedback manage-
ment, all touchpoints must first be identified and the
most relevant selected. Relevance is a question of
definition which, in this case, is described by using
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
A simple example from the cosmetics industry
illustrates the innovation potential that is often left
untapped here. A McKinsey study found that more
than 60 % of face cream users only gather infor-
mation about the product after they have already
bought it – a touchpoint that was completely over-
looked until then*5, but which is obviously of cen-
tral importance to satisfaction during the customer
journey, and therefore provides a good opportunity
to collect real-time feedback.
DIAG 2. ExAMPLE oF TRENDS ACRoSS DIFFERENT ToUCHPoINTS AT A
SUPERMARKET CHAIN IN THE USECoN DASHBoARD.
(Customer Project QuestBack Central Europe)
6Real-time Feedback Solutions
When is interaction and intervention required?
Information is worthless until it results in action.
Effective feedback management must therefore
have a certain level of intelligence in order to
decide when intervention is necessary and when
not. Threshold levels need to be set for the touch-
point KPIs that trigger an action. This also helps
avoid overreaction. Ideally, real-time feedback
works like a personal conversation, in that sub-
sequent questions and reactions should emerge
naturally during the course of the discussion.
These must flow into the relevant processes that,
for example, determine escalation levels when a
customer needs to be contacted, highlight where
existing customer history enhances the current
feedback, or ensure that the relevant employee
actually has access to this information. To en-
sure that happens, the supporting processes and
responsibilities must be clearly defined.
Are the responsibilities defined?
Even with the highest level of automation, there
must be people available that can make decisions
at any point along the real-time feedback loop. It’s
important that there is a a project manager outside
of IT, that is accountable for the issue and ensures
that, for example, feedback content is delivered
to the right place, whether that means marketing,
management or the relevant support person.
What role does privacy play?
A real-time feedback management system
initially asks questions anonymously and must
give the customer a choice over whether people
can be surveyed individually if required. This can
happen via a relevant question during the survey
process that allows the customer to agree to be
approached. It also means however, that from this
moment on an expectation exists. The customer
wants to be taken seriously, and that means he
expects an appropriate and immediate reaction.
The customer will only give up his privacy if he gets
an appropriate service in return.
7Real-time Feedback Solutions
C. IT INFRASTRUCTURE AND SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
Which channels are available?
While touchpoint tracking identifies the relevant
channels, the IT infrastructure must ensure that as
many channels as possible feed into a consistent,
comprehensive view of feedback data. But the flow
of feedback in the other direction is also critical: Can
feedback be collected from everywhere, wherever it
originates? Real-time feedback also has to account
for the fact that respondents are on the move. That’s
why questionnaires must work as well on mobile
devices as they do on desktop computers.
How fast is your customer journey?
The more touchpoints that interaction with your
customers involves, the more relevant incidents
accumulate. The right system must be able to define
the level of detail that measured via feedback
monitoring. For example, QuestBack currently delivers
half-hourly reporting on the relevant KPIs according
to need. But it’s important to differentiate between
the speed of feedback provision and the reaction
to it. Does someone have to be contacted imme-
diately in order to ensure customer satisfaction?
This is known as a “transactional survey”. or is
it sufficient to ask a customer twice a year about
his satisfaction within the context of a regular
other time-critical aspects can also play a role
however. It’s especially important
during the test and development
phases of products, to measure
the user experience and make
improvements in order to avoid
costly development mistakes.
This is how USECoN, a user experience
consultancy, with the help of the EFS panel (EFS
= Enterprise Feedback Suite) from QuestBack
developed an efficient survey platform that among
other things, enables a repeat survey among panel
participants. This can be used to survey users at
different times and in different situations, whether
that means the early development phases of a
new product, or across the entire product cycle.
For its part, QuestBack customer SWISS is
using its newly deployed feedback system to allow
customers to provide feedback on every element
of the service they receive. This enables teething
problems to be localized immediately when new
products are introduced. Time-related consid-
erations are therefore always oriented towards a
system’s real-world use cases.
Which visualizations are required?
It makes sense that a relevant visualization of
target KPIs and drill down dimensions is defined for
management reports. That’s how dashboards
earn their name and simplify the navigation of a
company’s KPI landscape. (See DIAG. 3)
DIAG: 3, ExAMPLE oF A QUESTBACK DASHBoARD
FoR AN NPS EVALUATIoN
8Real-time Feedback Solutions
Is integration into existing systems like SAP possible?
The full potential of real-time feedback can only
be realized in combination with other systems.
(DIAG.4.). The combination of customer feedback
and operational data enables prioritization: Where
is there a danger that a major customer will switch?
Was a regular or very good customer affected by
a system crash? Who is least affected by delivery
DIAG. 4: QUESTBACK WoRKFLoW FoR IMPLEMENTATIoN oF REAL-TIME FEEDBACK MANAGEMENT
Customer Contacts Touchpoints Customer Workflow Questback Workflow
Questback Exchange Server
Dashbord ReportingEngagement / Action
Case Data Segmentation
9Real-time Feedback Solutions
DIAG.5 SAMPLE CUSToMER joURNEy FRoM SWISS AIRLINES
Is the deployed system intelligent enough?
There are numerous systems available to evaluate
data. The main differences lie in their scalability
and controllability. The system you select needs a
memory and appropriate rules for exceptions,
priorities and escalation levels. The longer the
company journey, the more significant these
properties are. (DIAG. 5).
10Real-time Feedback Solutions
DIAG 6: EVERy ToUCHPoINT HAS A DIFFERENT EFFECT oN THE
D. METHODOLOGY REQUIREMENTS
Which is the right survey concept?
During the planning of a real-time feedback
management system, it’s especially important that
all parameters are aligned with one another. The
KPIs identified through touchpoint tracking must
be fed into a survey concept that is actually used.
otherwise the result is false results and ineffective
interaction and control maneuvers.
Which are the relevant KPIs?
Within the context of so-called touchpoint tracking,
the requirements for an effective real-time feed-
back management system need to be established.
Touchpoint tracking takes place along the entire
customer journey, in other words the path that a
customer takes with a company, including the first
contact via an Internet ad, through to visiting the
website and the purchase of a product, all the way
up to a call to a support hotline, and participation
in an annual customer survey via a smartphone.
The combination of all touchpoints is the basis
of the customer experience. Through analysis of
the interaction at each touchpoint, it’s possible to
define what influence each has on the customer
experience or, even better, on revenue. QuestBack
can currently measure and evaluate around
50 touchpoints. A study from McKinsey revealed
that a differentiated experience at touchpoints
is especially important. It showed that to a large
extent, the influence of different touchpoints is
dependent on whether a customer is still in the
consideration phase, or already in an evaluation or
buying decision phase. In the consideration phase,
he is mainly influenced by consumer-led marketing
such as test reviews or recommendations, and
rarely by interaction with sales people. *5
How do you get reliable results?
When it comes to alerts, it’s about asking the
right questions and helping customers at the right
moment (see survey concept). For reporting, tried
and trusted market research criteria are more impor-
tant. For segmentation and validation in particular,
the results must be selective and reliable. That’s
because the conclusions and resulting decisions
made on information extracted from the dashboard
can have a direct effect on revenue. Reliability is
therefore critical at this level of evaluation.
11Real-time Feedback Solutions
3. Customer case study HILTI – the exception is the rule
The following project analysis demonstrates
an example from HILTI, that demonstrates
what the actual implementation of a
real-time feedback management system
looks like, what the requirements were, and how the
three dimensions of process, IT and methodology
each played a role in the success of the project.
HILTI AG provides leading technology products,
systems and services to the construction industry.
Because two-thirds of its 22,000 strong workforce
are in sales and technology roles and have direct
contact with customers, there are around 200,000
touchpoints per day. Customer satisfaction is
therefore extremely important for HILTI.
• Customer focus: As a premium provider, customer
service and feedback is particularly important.
As a result, Hilti has been measuring customer
satisfaction since 1994, making the company a
pioneer within the construction industry.
explains Steffen Müller, Head of Corporate Market
research at HILTI AG.
• Goal setting and touchpoint inventory: In
addition to regular telephone surveys on satisfaction
and loyalty, Hilti wanted to collect feedback
directly after each of the 200,000 daily contacts
with the company, such as a meeting with an
account manager, a sales conversation in a Hilti
center, an online order, a complaint to the hotline,
or the repair of a drill by an engineer. To measure
customer satisfaction at the “moment of truth”,
i.e. directly after an individual transaction, Hilti
decided in 2010 to extend the telephone survey
with an online survey.
200,000 daily touchpoints – customer satisfaction has the highest priority at HILTI
» The data on overall customer satisfaction and loyalty are a benchmark of success for us. They also influence the compensation of many employees, right up to management
12Real-time Feedback Solutions
DIAG. 8: ExAMPLE oF A REAL-TIME FEEDBACK QUESTIoNNAIRE
The technical implementation
• Technical solution: The online questionnaire
based on the enterprise feedback suite (EFS)
from QuestBack is connected through a direct
interface to Hilti’s SAP system. This makes the
buying history of each customer available for
analysis. The software is web-based, and can be
used within any standard browser. Completion
of the questionnaire is easy from a wide range of
• Survey triggers and process: Hilti uses the
online questionnaire in 15 market organizations
with more than 80 % share of sales. Each customer
who has had some contact with an account
manager, a Hilti Center, an online order, the
hotline or a repair service is invited to partici-
pate via email. The online survey takes just two
minutes to complete, and is focused on the
current customer situation (DIAG.8). This ensures
valid data about a real customer case is produced.
DIAG. 7: RTF WoRKFLoW PRoCESS AT HILTI
How satisfied are you with the recent visit from your Account Manager Please give a rating using a scale from 1 to 10 where 1 means »very dissatisfied« and 10 means »very satisfied«
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Don‘t know
10 - Very satisfied
1 - Very dissatisfied
Use of your time
Understands what you need
Quality of advice givenFLE
13Real-time Feedback Solutions
• Alerts and reporting: If a customer complains
in the online survey, the relevant team contacts
him within two working days to solve the problem.
says Steffen Müller. Through the evaluation of the
online survey, Hilti can strengthen relationships
between the customer and the company. The
evolution of customer satisfaction is illustrated
by weekly cockpit charts for every interaction
• Overall benefit of the system: The values
for overall customer satisfaction and loyalty
have increased significantly since the introduc-
tion of real-time feedback in comparison with
the company’s closest competitors. In addi-
tion, a great deal of insight about process im-
provements has been generated, and Hilti has
received feedback from more than 18,000
customers, representing a significantly better
response rate of up to 20 %.
DIAG. 9: REAL-TIME FEEDBACK INFLUENCES THE FUNDAMENTAL STRUCTURE AND QUALITy CoNTRoL oF THE oRGANIzATIoN.
» Most customers are impressed with a call within 2 days of taking part in the online survey«,
14Real-time Feedback Solutions
4. Conclusion and Outlook
Real-time feedback management requires
a sophisticated and highly integrated
technical solution. However, the technical
concept and implementation are just two
of the building blocks for the entire concept. only
when all the requirements in terms of processes,
infrastructure, data and methodologies are fulfilled, is
it time to consider the technical integration. The effort
of fulfilling these requirements will be rewarded with
a measureable return on investment. Implementing
a real-time feedback management system lays the
foundations for a rapid, technology-driven enhance-
ment of the business, and the opportunities to use
feedback management as a strategic tool will only
grow in the future. It can be safely assumed that
within the next few years, new channels and new
global touchpoints will evolve that also need to be
integrated into the feedback system from a technical
and process perspective. The feedback loop is
becoming increasingly closed, as every touchpoint
can be covered within a survey, improvements are
made following every survey, interactions following
those improvements can themselves be evaluated,
and so on. This opens the way to the evolution of a
feedback economy that treats customer orientation
as the foundation of the business model. Studies show
that most companies have recognized the need for
action in this area. In a survey from DMA and neolane,
77% of the companies asked named personalization
in real-time, i.e. the individual and feedback-related
alignment of offers and content, as the most important
challenge facing their organizations. *6. The exciting
question is, to what extent these companies will ad-
dress this challenge, and develop and implement an
appropriate feedback strategy.
15Real-time Feedback Solutions
5. Real-time feedback management
A company’s willingness to drive a
measureable dialog with customers
along the entire length of the customer
journey usually indicates that the
organization has already taken the first step
along this path by orienting the entire structure
of the company towards customers.
In order for real-time feedback to have maximum
impact, the company must identify and analyze
the relevant touchpoints, and the challenges and
opportunities in interactions with customers. This
analysis can be used as the starting point for the col-
lection and evaluation of customer feedback, and
defining appropriate reactions to it. These preliminary
tasks determine how a company must organize
its processes, methodologies and IT landscape.
Particularly important here, is whether a customer
uses customer feedback to identify trends, or as
the basis for long-term management decisions.
All implementation scenarios have one thing in
common: To collect, analyze and react to customer
feedback as quickly as possible. Initial experiences
with real-time feedback show that fast reactions can
significantly affect customer loyalty, which in turn
has a direct impact on revenues. With its 200,000
touchpoints, Hilti has impressively demonstrated how
a flood of data can be transformed into increased
customer satisfaction and more repeat purchases.
This required a comprehensive integration with
existing IT systems like SAP, through which feedback
data is further enhanced and systematically utilized.
Because of the wide-ranging impact of real-time
feedback, its implementation is a key management
task and requires appropriate personnel and organi-
zational structures. As soon as these structures are
in place, future channels can be easily integrated into
the IT and process landscape and monetized.
The essentials at a glance
*1 SoURCE: “CoMMUNICATIoN. THE NEW RULES oF MARKETING“, DAVID C. EDELMANN, HARVARD BUSNIESS MANAGER, 2. AUGUST 2011
*2 SoURCE: BERND STAUSS, WoLFGANG SEIDEL, „CoMPLAINT MANAGEMENT UNHAPPy CUSToMERS AS PRoFITABLE TARGET GRoUP- “ , 4. EDITIoN
2007, HANSER PUBLISHERS, S. 27
*3 SoURCE: “BRANDING IN THE DIGITAL AGE” FRoM DAVID C. EDELMANN, QUoTED FRoM THE HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW
*4 SoURCE: “RESEARCH RoUNDUP FoR VoICE oF THE CUSToMER”, jIM DAVIES, GARTNER RESEARCH, 4. FEBRUARy 2013
*5 SoURCE: “THE CoNSUMER DECISIoN joURNEy”, MCKINSEy QUARTERLy 2009 NR. 3
*6 SoURCE: “REAL-TIME MARKETING INSIGHTS STUDy“, NEoLANE AND DMA, jULy 2013
w w w . q u e s t b a c k . c O M
questback is a glObal leader in enterprise feedback ManageMent, Market research sOlutiOns, sOcial crM, custOMer experience ManageMent, and hr ManageMent.
the cOMpany‘s sOftware sOlutiOns enable OrganizatiOns tO gain actiOnable insights and build strOnger relatiOnships with custOMers and eMplOyees. fOunded in 2000, questback is head-quartered in OslO, nOrway and privately held with 17 Offices wOrldwide. MOre than 4,000 glObal custOMers rely On questback – including vOlvO, ernst & yOung, cOca-cOla and general Mills.