At PeopleMetrics we help clients derive value from customer feedback in three ways: helping design and guide their customer experience strategy, analyzing customer data, and providing them with powerful Voice of Customer software to take action in real-time. This series highlights individuals from PeopleMetrics representing these three disciplines.
Director, Application Engineering
Explain your role and how you help clients operationalize customer feedback.
The Application Engineering team works to streamline the technical side of the client feedback loop. We use our knowledge of the PeopleMetrics Application, databases, and Excel to remove as many technological pain points as possible for our clients.
We work behind the scenes tailoring the PeopleMetrics Voice of the Customer software, and we also work closely with the client-facing teams to ensure accuracy throughout the entire process – from the customer information file to the real-time reporting.
What part of your work presents the most engaging challenge?
For me, finding new and compelling ways to convey customers’ responses is by far and away the most rewarding challenge to overcome. Right now we’re working on integrating Text Analytics functionality into our Online Reporting Hub. This gives us access to a new dimension of raw customer data. My team helps figure out how to transform this raw data into something managers can immediately understand and act on.
Tell me about an interesting client problem and how you solved it.
The foundation of quality results is quality data. Ensuring data accuracy starts at the source: the customer information file. Often this is a pain point for clients because the person responsible for managing the survey isn’t familiar with databases. So we work with them to get the information we need to make the project successful.
For example, one client was having difficulty reconciling their historical information with new information. Changes to their organizational structure made it impossible to trend most of their departments’ metrics. We built a tool that allowed them to evaluate what departments existed then and not now and vice versa. This allowed our client to update thousands of historical records by simply updating a few dozen cells in an Excel file. We were able to offer detailed, comparative reporting via a process that was relatively painless for them.
Tell me about something cool, clever, or creative that you developed.
The Application Engineering team is comprised of Microsoft Excel experts. We love using Excel’s functionality to efficiently and accurately create reports based on customer data.
One of the things I’m most proud of was developing a scalable solution to the problem I mentioned before: updating historical data for trending purposes.
Clients with volatile hierarchies need a way to maintain comparative reporting even when an employee leaves or a department is re-organized. The solution mentioned earlier works well for a wave-over-wave comparison, but would quickly become onerous if updates were required on a weekly basis. We developed a solution that compresses hours of analysis by clients and PeopleMetrics alike into a few moments of Excel work. The results are used to update old data into the current hierarchy. It was an elegant solution to a complex problem many of our clients face.
What feature in PeopleMetrics Voice of the Customer technology do you find particularly delightful? Why?
Our Hub is designed to make it easy for employees or managers to take immediate action on customer feedback. We have been building out our functionality over time to report not just how many Alerts are closed, but how these Action Alerts are being closed. What makes this reporting so great is that it can mean different things for different people:
For reps taking action on these Alerts, the tool provides them quick access to the Alerts that need attention the most.
For managers, this same report with just a few tweaks can be used to evaluate action-taking by regions and/or teams to see how well those in their hierarchy are closing alerts.
What information sources (blogs, writers, books, etc.) do you go to for inspiration in your work?
By far and away, most of my inspiration comes from the internal team here at PeopleMetrics. Our technology is guided by our Chief Technology Officer, Syd Weinstein, who is an amazing resource. He has been in the tech industry for over 30 years, and also has an impressive academic background. Murali, our Director of Software Engineering, has been around since the very beginning of the PeopleMetrics Voice of the Customer software, and his deep knowledge of the application is invaluable in my work.
Outside of PeopleMetrics, one of my favorites is Reginald Braithwaite. He was one of the first programming bloggers I followed, and offers insight on meta-programming (writing code which itself writes code) and always on the philosophy of design. His writing on meta-programming heavily influences my day-to-day work. While what we do isn’t as complicated as his work, the way we use Excel to output code is inspired by him and increases accuracy while reducing checking time.