For the better part of two decades, VoC and surveys had been synonymous. The recent explosion of cloud-based technology has yielded a dizzying array of tangential software solutions, expanding the scope of VoC, and thoroughly confusing CX and marketing professionals. The blurred lines have created a challenge for buyers who are trying, often for the first time, to build Customer Experience teams and processes. The sheer amount of overlapping information and sales pitches can cause procurement paralysis.
These same buyers have looked to industry analysts to be beacons in the fog, but even world-class research and advisory firms can take a while to sort through the dynamics. Just this week, Forrester released its Now Tech Voice of the Customer Vendors report for Q1 in which it defines three functional segments of VoC: Customer Feedback Management (CFM), VoC Specialists, and Unified Data Analytics. The report goes on to define each segment and to categorize vendors within. The segregation of vendors a) gives buyers some clarity as to differentiation of vendor offerings, and b) formalizes a segment for “agnostic aggregators” of customer interactions for cross-channel analysis (like Topbox) as “Unified Data Analytics”.
The value of UNsolicited feedback has been increasingly written about in the last year or so. The concept is relatively simple; customers are giving companies explicit, detailed feedback every single day in the form of phone calls, chats, emails, SMS, social media posts, third party reviews and more – and the companies didn’t even have to ask. Those conversations are a treasure trove of deep, actionable insights that can steer product management decisions, marketing plans, sales strategies, back-office processes, contact center improvements and more. But while the concept of using unsolicited customer feedback is simple, the process of aggregating and normalizing unstructured conversational data across many disparate customer communication platforms is hardly easy.
Ah, but here is where Forrester’s new Unified Data Analytics for VoC segment comes into play! SaaS providers like Topbox have created solutions that handle the heavy lifting of aggregation and normalization with cloud-native efficiency. While I can’t speak for other vendors, our Topbox platform goes on to apply a proprietary classification model across every conversation, regardless of channel, for a unified view of the “true” voice of the customer. The result is a vastly superior data set for customer experience analysis.
While the VoC arena may still lack total clarity, we’re grateful that Forrester has taken steps to provide a better map for buyers of VoC/CX tools and solutions. Newer technologies like Topbox are taking a different tack to solve age-old problems. In our case, the naming of Unified Data Analytics as a segment of VoC is a solid step toward building awareness of the differentiators.