The Value of the Consumer’s Voice

It’s not often uncommon when clients tell us that customers are increasingly not filling-up application/enrollment and feedback forms completely, data about their customers & their profiles are not updated and also information about their behaviour is increasingly becoming scarce & difficult to get, how do companies handle an market environment like this?

We think organizations have to change way they capture or mine data. They need to look at where else can they ‘dialog’ with these customers – Twitter, Facebook, Google Chat etc.? How often have you seen companies even capture  such” Dialog Points” for a possible “information opportunity”?

There is an interesting point of view on the same on this issue. Take a look:

To stay on top of purchase trends or address dissatisfactions, marketing teams often administer surveys and comb through hundreds of thousands of responses to find needles of profundity in the customer service haystack. In reality, if today’s consumer has a gripe or suggestion, he or she no longer fills out a comment card or a survey. Instead, the customer takes it to the keyboard and posts comments online for the whole world to read. Given the influence of word of mouth (or more appropriately, word of “blog”), your business will feel the direct effects of online reviews – positively or negatively.

According to a 2007 Deloitte & Touche study, more than eight in 10 (82 percent) of consumers said their purchasing decisions have been directly influenced by online reviews.1 With the advent of the blogosphere and social-media tools such as Twitter and Facebook, there are more opportunities for customers to voice their opinions, and the circle of influence has grown much wider. Monitoring for these comments must be a core part of your business.

Organizations have a unique opportunity to connect with their customers just by letting them know they are being heard. JetBlue Airways created a Twitter account after learning customers were using this platform to voice their frustrations. Now, Twitter has become a key customer service portal where the airline offers discounts and responds to flyers in real time. Using Twitter, JetBlue has turned around its negative public perception, even in a struggling aviation market.

The Web’s reach is boundless and social-media text is quite unstructured making it impossible for a typical search to uncover everything of relevance. So, how can marketers and executives sift through all of the social-media noise – the ruminations, misfindings and the insignificant rants – to find the true opinions and reviews about their brands?

The answer is semantic search and analysis. Semantic search provides early identification of consumer concerns, suggestions, likes and dislikes and purchasing trends. It uncovers this information from the most unstructured corners of the Web. The retrieval of such information is not limited to recognizing key words as typical Web searches do. Instead, it uncovers the meaning the words express in their proper context and accepted meaning no matter the number (singular or plural), gender (masculine or feminine), verb tense (past, present or future) or mode (indicative or imperative).


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At Cequity, we believe customer intelligence will be the biggest competitive advantage enterprises will have in the next decade or two. Successful enterprises of tomorrow will be the ones who can organize and leverage this information at speed to optimize their marketing performance, increase accountability, improve profit and deliver growth. Cequity insights will bring to you trends and insights in this area and it’s our way of sharing best practices so as to help you accelerate this culture and thinking in your organization.
July 2008
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