Michelle de Haaff

The last three years or so have flown by when you consider how quickly consumers are embracing new digital platforms. Companies like Instagram, Rovio, and GitHub went from having almost no real market presence to achieving documented success in new users and growth. Consumers, from 70-year-olds to young students, regularly achieved “expert” status by deploying new applications on their iPhone and Android devices that can do almost anything. Organizations have changed as well. The way they market to and service their customers has rapidly evolved, with social media becoming a viable place to both deliver service support and make marketing offers.
In the Customer Experience Management (CEM) space, things have been moving just as fast. Not long ago, CEM focused largely on gathering information and pulling insights from customer data, with limited users in marketing, service, or market research. Now, CEM is a comprehensive set of technologies and methods. It enables thousands of users inside companies to employ customer insights to make real connections to real actions that are triggered, managed, and tracked using CEM software.
In 2013, change will continue to accelerate. We see our customers achieving even more measurable change from using our platform across multiple different measures, from customer satisfaction and NPS™ scores to increases more directly related to revenue, share of wallet, and customer retention and growth. These benefits are central to the customer value Medallia provides.
Our 2013 predictions for CEM emphasize areas driven directly by fast-changing consumer technology:
1. Solicited and Social Feedback Merge: Response rates are decreasing. Consumers can give their feedback through multiple channels—Facebook, Twitter, review sites, and blogs—and many have chosen to use social media outlets rather than responding to solicited surveys. CEM must harness these new channels alongside traditional feedback vehicles. With Medallia Promote , organizations can drive feedback across both solicited and unsolicited channels by enabling survey respondents to automatically push their feedback from a survey to a review site. Enterprises need access to all of this feedback, and CEM software must provide a view into all communication about the customer experience. Over the last few years, organizations have bought point solutions for social media analytics and engagement, text analytics, solicited feedback, and even tools to track action. If our customers’ views are any sign, in 2013 enterprises will require a single platform for CEM. This year, enterprises will look to purchase a single platform for cross-channel feedback analysis and action. Point solutions no longer get the job done.
2. Mobile Feedback and Action Adoption Soar: Just after you purchase a service or product is typically when you have the most detailed view of your experience. In 2012, social media grew exponentially in the areas of product reviews and social feedback. This trend will certainly continue in 2013, with the added dimension of “in the moment” feedback expanding to mobile. Many consumers are less likely to complete solicited feedback from traditional surveys and requested reviews sent hours, days, or even weeks after a purchase or service transaction. The moment is missed, the experience possibly even forgotten—unless it was bad. As you walk out of a store, leave a hotel property, complete a financial transaction with your broker, or interact with your cable or telecom provider, would you answer a few simple questions that came to your mobile device? We think so, and the data supports us. In 2012, many of our customers started to use mobile for feedback, and their response rates jumped more than 100 percent! This year, they plan to roll out mobile feedback more extensively. In addition, our customers have rolled out mobile action. What is mobile action? Frontline users leverage mobile devices (think iPads, smartphones, Android tablets) to engage directly with customers about their experience by either contacting them to understand why an experience went wrong, or providing them with post-purchase information that can help them get more value from the product. Which brings me to the next prediction …
3. Action at the Frontline Will Become Standard: While first-generation CEM software focused on capturing feedback, today’s CEM solutions go beyond understanding the customer experience. Now enterprises want CEM platforms that allow the frontline to connect feedback to action. In 2013, organizations will measure their CEM programs not just on response rates, but also on the closed loop and the business impact of closing the loop. The CEM solution of 2013 will directly (and not through complicated integration and years of IT projects) trigger, capture, and manage the action associated with feedback all the way to the frontline. CEOs need to make it their company’s mission to focus on the customer and even create a culture and the appropriate business measures and incentives to make it happen. But the people who directly impact the customer’s experience, each and every day, are frontline employees. In 2013, the actions and influence of the frontline will grow, and consumers will feel the benefits.
Get ready—2013 is going to be a great year for CEM solution providers and for consumers!

Photo credit: kudumomo