With a whopping 16 billion marketing dollars devoted to customer surveys, the thought of answering more questions exhausts customers. Take a minute to open your inbox right now. A guess? There is at least one survey request from a brand with which you have recently interacted. It can feel never-ending and exhausting. And it’s not just consumers who are fatigued — leaders are, too, according to McKinsey. 

Moving past the surveys

In an effort to provide convenience and ease of use, surveys arose as a digital solution to drive a method of collecting feedback. However, problems continue to emerge in how feedback is gathered, with surveys commonly designed based on what the brand wants to learn in order to drive positive outcomes and meet internal KPIs. For example, consider NPS which asks the customer, “what will you do for me?” On top of that, despite the data gathered, leaders grow frustrated when their desired outcomes remain unmet. 

This exhaustion is not about the request to give feedback. There are countless studies that highlight that today’s consumers expect brands to listen and engage with them. Hubspot reported that 90% of CX leaders say customer expectations have increased to an all-time high. While 2/3 of US adults online believe valuing their time is the most important thing a brand can do to provide them with a good customer experience, according to Khoros. A brand’s willingness to listen to and engage with product or service feedback is key to establish consumer trust. That means one thing: the problem is the perception that this feedback is not being seen, valued, or acted upon.  

There is a need to evolve how customer feedback is received and reviewed. Our customers interact with us every day — and they expect us to listen in on these moments. With advancements in AI and natural language processing, CX leaders can realise the importance and value of the unsolicited customer voice and prioritise this method of listening over the conventional survey-based approach. 

Preventing survey fatigue  

HubSpot reported the top reasons consumers don’t complete surveys are attributed to:

  • Surveys having too many questions
  • Consumers lacking motivation to answer survey topics
  • Uncertainty of the impact their answers will have
  • Questions requiring them to think too deeply.

Combined with the volume of survey requests being sent, there’s a lot to feel exhausted about. Investing in tools to listen to unsolicited feedback already being shared can alleviate the burden felt from filling out ‘yet another survey’, and instead, contribute to enhanced data insights that are not reliant on survey responses. 

Every day, conversation data flows into contact centres. This data is filled with unsolicited feedback directly from the voices of customers. Unsolicited feedback is an unbiased, renewable source of customer insights. Survey data is skewed based on the responding population and is limited due to the inherent bias of the questions being asked. Whereas, unsolicited feedback surfaces what’s truly top of mind for the customer in their own words. 

This is a great source of data to enhance customer experience because:  

  • Most companies already have a space where customers share. For example – contact centres, recorded conversations in virtual meetings, notes that get recorded in CRM systems during or after the conversation. This collected data is growing at a rate magnitudes higher than survey data. This is because companies continually seek to create a record of information.  
  • The technology exists to start harnessing this data and listen at scale. In the past, it had been an unstructured and messy source of insights. 
  • Organisations are quickly realising the benefits of tapping into these existing data streams and harnessing the authentic customer voice. The benefits are seen in improved customer relations and business success.  
  • If you can’t fully abandon your survey metric, harnessing the unsolicited voice is a far more effective way to drive actions that will improve survey scores. 

Listen at scale with conversational intelligence  

With survey fatigue aside, there are undeniable limitations to the insights surveys can provide organisations. Rather than asking customers to answer another survey or interact with a chatbot, conversational intelligence tools can listen to existing conversations. By doing this in the moment, customer problems can easily be identified. Then, we can analyse the emotions behind customer interactions (whether it’s relief, frustration, happiness, anger, etc.).  

For example, across healthcare, conversations occur daily with patients calling to schedule appointments, inquire about medication, send an email or chat inside a digital portal, or discuss billing concerns. When space is created to listen to these recorded conversations, organisations gain access to what customers want you to know so tangible solutions can be made.  

AI provides an opportunity to address the limitations of CSAT and NPS surveys and bring more actionable and authentic customer feedback to business leaders.  

3 ways conversational intelligence is evolving customer feedback  

Listening at scale without the need for surveys can provide valuable ways to facilitate change and improve customer experience without contributing to survey fatigue:  

  1. Increase speed to impact. Quickly identify opportunities to make prompt fixes and support strategy.  
  1. Utilise existing digital investments. Analyse the conversations already happening inside your digital ecosystem to drive positive metric outcomes. 
  1. Leverage feedback to give feedback. Listening to conversations can help improve messaging for agents responding to calls. Then, they can identify barriers to communicating on digital channels, such as a portal or website. 

Our customers interact with us every day, and they expect us to listen in on these moments. With advancements in AI and natural language processing, CX leaders can realise the importance and value of the unsolicited customer voice. They can prioritise this method of listening over the conventional survey-based approach. Using real, authentic customer interactions, organisations can proactively listen to what customers are communicating. From here, they can derive actionable insights without contributing to survey fatigue. 

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