How Enterprise Feedback Management Improves the Customer Experience

A New Technology for an Old Business Problem

If you have a CRM system in place, you're getting all of the customer feedback you need, right?

Not everybody thinks so. There are more effective ways to gather and measure customer interactions, and when it comes to feedback, there is no such thing as too much. That is as long as you have methods in place to understand it, manage it in the CRM system, and ultimately use it to your advantage.

That's where Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) comes in. The term isn't well-known and was in fact coined by the enterprise feedback software vendor community, but what it describes is legitimately important to companies that strive to better serve customers.

EFM systems centralize the collection, management, and use of customer feedback throughout your organization. EFM programs create simple or complex surveys, with features such as progressive profiling, question and page rotation, branching and advanced skip patterns, approval processing and advanced reporting.

Customer feedback is the single greatest source for continuous process improvement initiatives.

At its simplest (and least useful) level, EFM is an expansion of the survey platforms often sold to companies by best of breed software survey vendors. But they go a step further and support the interception of customer transactions in an effort to find out what went wrong and fix it.

When used comprehensively—often with tools such as chatbots or avatars, and in combination with a customer relationship management (CRM) system — EFM software solutions help systematically collect and analyze customer feedback from multiple channels in real time, with the goal of using that information to create changes that improve response time, service, and ultimately, profitability. That feedback can come from many sources, including conversations, Web site actions, social media networks and online chat.

So as opposed to a survey platform, which might sample 1,000 people to understand what they collectively think about a specific issue, EFM may be used to find out if a specific customer has a problem, with the goal of immediately resolving it. EFM software implementations are often a prelude to a customer experience management program.

Let’s say, for example, that a customer starts a web-based transaction, but ultimately aborts it. An EFM system would issue an alert, which is routed to the right person on the team. That person would immediately reach out to the customer and rectify the problem. Along the way, the company collects a central repository of customer insights, which can be mined in any of dozens of productive ways, and used to reengineer business processes.

You might ask why you need an EFM system if you’ve got a CRM software system. Brad Bortner, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, says that simply put, CRM software has never been very good at the survey part of the equation. He believes that over time, major CRM vendors may buy EFM vendors to create more full-featured offerings. But for the time being, it's about finding hooks between the two.

However you want to slice and dice it, one thing is clear: The concept of listening to your customers at every connection point, and working to fix their problems, is a powerful one. If EFM does the job, go for it. Finding a way to satisfy customers is what it's all about.