Since the advent of the internet, Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) systems have helped companies centralize customer feedback. EFM programs are conduits that direct market research results—they manage deployment of surveys while directing results to appropriate agents within an organization. Before the advent of EFM systems, research results were scattered among different departments, with no overarching method to review, cross-reference, and distribute those results. Ultimately, EFM systems are tools for measuring customer satisfaction and distributing survey results. The question is, which EFM system should your firm choose?
Try poking around online for an EFM program, and you’ll appreciate the difficulty of finding the right research partner. Google returns over nine million results for “Enterprise Feedback Management;” many of those results link to EFM businesses. The EFM market has seen a boom in the last decade—in fact, it grew 60-70% between 2004 and 2006 alone. What characteristics separate truly exceptional, cutting-edge EFM programs from the rest of the pack? How can you tell that your customer research investment will provide satisfying returns? This article will answer these questions by highlighting five characteristics of high-quality EFM systems.
What to look for in your Enterprise Feedback Management solution:
1) A solution with a proven track record of helping companies grow customer engagement.
EFM is one of those buzz terms that attracts dozens of entrepreneurs; as is often the case in burgeoning industries, many of them do not have long-term experience to back up their claims. Your EFM partner should have a proven history of helping companies understand their customers, and thereby increase profits. High-quality EFM solutions will be able to provide positive testimonials, decades of experience, and high-profile, satisfied clients.
2) Tools to help managers distribute survey results to the correct employees.
EFM tools are all about distribution. If you can’t send certain results to the relevant employees, what’s the point? More sophisticated EFM systems allow leadership to decide which sections of results should be assigned to which employees. Think of the concentric rings of management within your company. There is no reason to send all survey results to all employees; it’s more effective to send just those portions that impact each employee’s performance. Effective EFM solutions allow company decision makers to authorize different permission levels.
3) Immediate feedback distribution.
Before web 2.0 technology, EFM solutions couldn’t “close the feedback loop.” In other words, the individual customers who provided feedback were unlikely to see any change in service. An AT&T customer might gripe about inconsistent phone service, but the technology didn’t allow service managers to take action on that specific customer’s complaint. The incredible technological advances made in the last few years have removed that problem. Look for an EFM solution that immediately delivers survey results, so that you can quickly resolve complaints and pursue opportunities for growth. As you review EFM options, ask how each company alerts managers and C-level leadership of time-sensitive customer feedback.
4) A quick questionnaire that is tied to business outcomes.
No one likes to complete long surveys. The longer you hold your customer on the phone, or the more time it takes to fill out your online questionnaire, the less likely that customer is to give you feedback in the future. A pool of customer respondents is a sort of ecosystem; if you overburden customers with feedback, they will refuse to take surveys in the future. In extreme cases, customers may become so annoyed with incessant, lengthy surveys that they may decide to stop doing business with a company altogether. For this reason, your EFM solution should offer a quick, painless survey that will not turn off respondents.
The tricky balance here is between survey length and reliability. More questions results in more data, which may help your company better understand customer motives. Fewer questions will help protect your survey pool. Strong EFM solutions strike an appropriate balance by tying questions to proven business results. When choosing an Enterprise Feedback Management system, look for a core set of survey questions that lead to higher profits and higher ROI. This is indeed a rare finding in EFM, since most players simply aren’t big enough to research how their research methods correlate business success.
5) A solution that reveals top drivers of Customer Engagement.
Every dollar counts in this rough economy. Highly developed EFM solutions help you prioritize by determining which drivers will have the greatest impact on overall Customer Engagement. An exceptional EFM organization will act as a partner-consultant, analyzing which customer service tactics will provide the highest ROI on your market research investment.
Finally, consider how your own infrastructure will mesh with potential EFM solutions. To optimize customer feedback research, ensure that the EFM system may be integrated with your current Customer Research Management (CRM) programs, such as Salesforce.
At first glance, choosing the right EFM solution may seem akin to finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. Fortunately, by focusing on the traits outlined above, you can distinguish exceptional EFM programs and achieve excellent customer experience management.