Magazine article CRM Magazine

Innovation Picks Up Static: In the Pursuit of Consumer Sentiment, Has the Industry Skipped over Speech Analytics and Jumped on the Social Media Bandwagon?

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Innovation Picks Up Static: In the Pursuit of Consumer Sentiment, Has the Industry Skipped over Speech Analytics and Jumped on the Social Media Bandwagon?

Article excerpt

Recent Harris Interactive research on online consumer behavior finds people increasingly utilizing social media to share experiences--good and bad--when it comes to their interactions with companies.

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Twelve percent of respondents in the study, which was commissioned by customer experience management vendor Tealeaf, shared experiences via blogs and social networking sites in 2009, twice as many as a year earlier. Furthermore, 26 percent of those surveyed posted a complaint on the company's Web site, down from 32 percent in 2008.

The results also show consumers moving away from directly contacting organizations on product- and service-related issues, opting to talk about them instead. On the surface, this may seem to make obsolete any prior voice-of-the-customer (VoC) programs utilizing enterprise feedback management and speech analytics. In a VoC session at Forrester Research's recent Customer Experience Forum, for example, almost every question involved the use of social media in the enterprise. Only one lonely question was about speech analytics.

"Look at 10 years of VoC programs," says Esteban Kolsky, a CRM consultant and industry expert. "We've tried enterprise feedback management, surveys, speech, service--and nothing has worked. Now here's a shiny new object called social media, and people think that we're going to get it right. Unfortunately, they don't realize the social media part is 10 times more complicated than other attempts, because of the move from structured to unstructured [data]."

Kolsky says the industry is rushing into social media without readying itself first. The issue, he warns, isn't in obtaining data, but in how that data is utilized. "You can buy the latest and greatest tool, but you haven't solved the issue because you didn't go deeper into what the problem is," he says. "It's business-centric, not technology-centric."

According to Natalie Petouhoff, a Forrester senior analyst, there are two basic reasons for speech analytics' plight: The first, she says, is the all-too-common burden of high expectations. "Speech was supposed to be the thing that saved the day, but there was over-marketing and products were sold that just couldn't deliver," she says. "People used it, were disappointed, and now are wary of buying it and having it end up on the shelf again." The second obstacle, though, is specific to speech analytics, which produces results that are largely internal, which then require a significant effort to communicate. …

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