At the Gartner CRM conference in
Scott Nelson of Gartner said in his keynote that companies were still woefully inept at harvesting and using feedback from customers to improve their marketing. I believe the words on his slide were something to the effect that “Organizations continue to fail to understand the value of customer feedback, discarding most information collected from customers.” (Actually, I’m sure those were his words, because I have see his slides on the CD that was provided to conference attendees.)
Later, in his talk on customer experience, Gartner’s Ed Thompson, one of my very favorite commentators on things CRM, quoted a 2005 study by Respond that proved Scott’s point. This study said that while 95% of surveyed firms collect customer information, just 45% alert their staff, and only 35% use the insight in any way. Only 10% actually “deploy” a change or policy based on customer feedback, and only 5% of firms tell customers that they used their feedback.
Sorry, folks, I don’t think life is ever going to get simpler than it is today for businesses using customer data. As time goes on, there will be more and more customer feedback either to discard or to use, and more and more customer insight either to ignore or to act on.
Thompson’s message was that what we should be doing, to get hold of this monster now, is inventorying all the possible sources of customer feedback at our firm. He said that a Fortune 500 company might have as many as 200 different sources of customer feedback, ranging from different types of actual market research to inbound emails, over-the-transom comments and complaints, and sales meetings. We’d suggest adding a feature to that inventory. For every form of customer feedback or input, try applying a rating for (a) the cost-efficiency with which it is accurately captured, and (b) the effectiveness with which your company actually uses that feedback.