Based on the work of Anita Toth in her article: Ultimate Guide To Customer Feedback
In this second article in our mini-series Guide to Customer Feedback and Data Types, we consider what Anita Toth calls medium and deep data. Unlike the general data collected through feedback tools such as the NPS, CES and CSAT, this data provides greater insight into the thoughts and opinions of customers.
The advantage of medium data collection techniques is the use of open-ended questions, where clients are able to answer in their own words, rather than pick from pre-defined options.
As Toth explains: “The more opportunities for someone to respond in their own words, the deeper the insights”.
The analysis of medium data can be more challenging if the correct tools, such as text analytic software, is not utilized. However, when managed and monitored correctly it can identify trackable themes over time.
Changing themes and fluctuating patterns in responses are a good indicator of how customer needs, desires and wants shift and move. And can assist in making strategic decisions.
One of the most popular ways to collect medium data is through a customer survey on areas such as:
- Feedback on products and services;
- Providing clarity on a specific issue; and
- Learning more through a cancellation survey.
Medium data provides a great balance between the broad-brush approach of general data collection and deep data. Collection techniques are cost-effective to create and deploy, generate quantities of useful information and can help to shape the Voice of the Customer or Ideal Customer Profile.
What is the Voice of the Customer (VoC)?
Voice of the Customer is a term that describes your customer’s feedback about their experiences with your products or services and their preferences and aversions. VoC focuses on customer wants, needs, expectations, understandings, and product improvement.
Into the Deep
The final data type that can be collected through customer feedback techniques identified by Toth is Deep Data.
This type s the most beneficial and useful provider of customer information to companies. It identifies their thoughts, feelings, goals and desires – profound and insightful emotions that are not collected by medium and general techniques.
Toth adds: “In many ways, Deep Data is the true Voice of the Customer.
Deep data can be expensive and time-consuming to collect and difficult to interpret without the right supporting customer feedback platform. But the results are much more valuable.
One example of this collection technique identified by Toth is the focus group. Businesses rarely use focus groups to gather information about their customers citing:
- Financial cost
- Lack of knowledge
- Not seeing the business value
- Geographically dispersed customers
However, with the development of video conferencing, there is now no need for customers to be physically gathered together. And it’s more cost-effective than ever. Virtual focus groups provide an open environment where key questions can be raised, answered and discussed.
An example of the successful use of focus groups, identified by Toth, is Netflix. They used focus groups to discover and uncover key information that helped them become industry leaders. Utilizing focus groups, surveys (medium data) and the NPS (general data), Netflix was able to make strategic decisions based on the information gathered.
Indeed, some of the most useful data collected is from focus groups of a company’s top 20 per cent of customers. A focus group will identify what makes them different from your other customers, yielding valuable insights that interviews and surveys are not able to provide.
One reason for this is when people congregate together, both physically or virtually, ideas and discussions emerge. One person mentions an experience, point of view or idea and others join in. A focus group allows for freedom of thought and discussion and provides valuable and personal data.
Another deep data collection technique is a customer feedback interview. Undertaken in person, on the phone, or via video call, these one-on-one interviews allows for deeper data collection when customers can expand on their answers.
Unlike other collection methods, customer feedback interviews allow for the two-way flow of information between company and customer. By asking probing questions, the interviewer can build trust and is able to get to the real data without the interviewee holding back their real thoughts.
Toth explains: “The responses from a well-conducted interview yields those incredibly powerful positive and negative answers businesses need to make strong and strategic decisions”.
It’s critical to understand that not all data is created equally and that some data is more valuable to your company than other data. Data gathered from surveys, focus groups and interviews are far more powerful than any data from NPS, CES or CSAT because they are the true Voice of the Customer.
In the final article of our mini-series, we look at what software is available to companies looking to gain knowledge to retain customers, increase revenue and profit and make confident strategic decisions.
About Anita Toth
You can read Anita Toth’s full article here: https://anitatoth.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/The-Ultimate-Guide-to-Customer-Feedback.pdf
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