Real-time feedback aggregation is the process of automatically collecting and summarising client-related feedback so that firms can make faster and more informed decisions.
Professional services firms are part of the experience economy. Their clients pay attention to how firms make them feel, not just what they do.
As a result, firms are facing a growing volume of client-related feedback. Clients, and employees, are sharing their views in countless surveys, interviews, feedback forms, emails, online reviews and research reports.
With traditional feedback processes, this feedback gets stuck in silos and scattered across the business. Making sense of it all has traditionally been a slow, subjective and expensive process.
Real-time feedback aggregation is a game-changer for client listening.
It automatically gathers up all client-related feedback, regardless of where and how it is shared, to create a single source of truth. With this automation comes speed. Feedback is aggregated the moment it is shared by clients, prospects, employees or 3rd party researchers.
Why do we need real-time feedback aggregation?
Manually making sense of client-related feedback is hard. Unstructured feedback like verbatim comments, reviews and emails don’t fit neatly into traditional structured databases. CRM’s can store feedback data, but they can’t analyse it.
So many firms stick to collecting feedback data that’s easy to analyse, like multiple-choice survey questions. The problem with this data, aside from the low response rates that most surveys achieve, is that it lacks a ‘so what’. Numbers move up and down, but no-one knows why.
Gartner research has quantified this problem: “Although 95% of companies have collected feedback from their customers for years, only about 10% use these suggestions to change their processes and improve customer experience.”
Gartner’s proposed solution is “consolidating direct, indirect and inferred customer feedback received through numerous channels so customer issues are resolved in real time.”
Real-time feedback aggregation is no longer optional. As digital transformation sweeps through professional services firms and their clients, the ability to identify and respond to changing needs quickly is a competitive advantage.
Don’t firms do this already?
With no system to aggregate their unstructured feedback, firms create spreadsheets of verbatim comments. Then employees manually review the lines of text, using some form of ‘5-bar gate’ system of finding common themes.
It’s a subjective and inefficient process, but it does eventually deliver insights. Alternatively, in a bid to speed up the reporting process, firms ignore the text comments altogether. Instead, decision-makers make assumptions about why NPS or satisfaction has changed.
This problem with traditional feedback processes has been highlighted in a recent Harvard Business Review article. In it, the authors point out that open-ended comment boxes are a goldmine of potential insights if you know where to look and how to analyse them. These unstructured comments offer “a much more reliable predictor of a customer’s behavior. Yet, these are often ignored, and if used at all, are typically used after the scores are computed”.
Firms looking to maintain a stand-out brand experience, need to find a better way of keeping up with client needs and expectations. That better way, is real-time feedback aggregation.
How does it work?
Feedback aggregation starts with a shift in mindset. The goal is not to collect feedback, it’s to create simple actionable insights. Insights that help firms create a stand-out brand experience that protects and grows revenues.
When you begin with the end in mind, you see that the required insights can come from many different places. Surveys, interviews, reviews, emails, research, verbal comments and the observations and ideas of individual team members.
These feedback sources collectively give you the full picture of client experiences and future needs. To get from raw data to actionable insight, this feedback then needs to be analysed in a consistent way and then shared so that the right people get the right insights at the right time.
What are the benefits of real-time feedback aggregation?
- Reduce the costs and delays of manual feedback analysis
Eliminate the pain of manually gathering, analysing and reporting on client feedback. This frees up valuable employee time to focus on getting answers and taking action.
- Eliminate assumptions about current client priorities
Discover what’s important to your clients now, and avoid having to rely on outdated assumptions.
- Keep your finger on the pulse
No more waiting for surveys to close or research to be reported. Fresh insights arrive every day.
- Show your clients you are listening
Strengthen client relationships by collecting and responding to feedback quickly.
- Future-proof your firm to compete on experience
Client and market needs and expectations keep evolving, driven by the best experiences they get from any supplier. Being able to respond quickly is a competitive advantage.
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