Jun 7, 2023


Min Read


Amitayu Basu

The Evolution of Customer Feedback: Pioneering an AI-Driven Approach

customer feedback

customer experience

Generative AI

The sphere of customer feedback has had quite an evolution. From the fringe, occasional, periodic surveys conducted by market research companies in the 1950s, such as Nielsen, Ipsos, TNS, and Burke, we’ve moved to automated, fine-tuned processes led by industry behemoths like Medallia and Qualtrics. Despite advancements, the approach essentially stayed the same – question, identify, resolve.

But with the advent of Customer Experience (CX) Management, the process is undergoing a significant transformation. CX management revolves around the concept of passive observation – understanding customer behavior and identifying their pain points without necessitating active feedback. However, the disconnect between traditional feedback collection and CX management still persists. So, what does the future of customer feedback hold, and how can we leverage it to enhance customer experience?

The Power of Emotion in Decision Making

Yes, we do need the customer's voice, but not just for their words. We need to hear their emotions. Daniel Kahneman, an Israeli-American psychologist and Nobel laureate, argued in his book "Thinking, Fast and Slow" that our decisions are heavily influenced by our emotions. Our rational brain mostly justifies the decisions already made by our emotional brain.

These findings are supported by numerous studies showing that emotion significantly impacts customer behavior. Therefore, effective customer feedback should tap into the customer's emotions, not just their rational thoughts.

Transforming the Future of Customer Feedback

Here are three areas we must focus on to unlock the true potential of customer feedback:

1. Reimagining the Survey Experience:

Let's face it, the term 'survey' often induces an immediate sense of fatigue among customers. The standard survey process can feel tedious and impersonal, leading many customers to engage only when their experience has been extremely good or bad. Consequently, businesses end up missing out on feedback from a vast majority of customers who have had 'average' experiences. These are the customers whose voices often go unheard, simply because they lack the time or inclination to engage with a traditional survey.

This is where the concept of conversational feedback becomes a game-changer. Moving away from the idea of 'surveying' to 'conversing' with customers can fundamentally alter their perception of the feedback process. Instead of being a time-consuming chore that's disconnected from their experience, feedback becomes a natural, integral part of their interaction with the company.

Envision a scenario where customers, after making a purchase or engaging with customer support, effortlessly glide into a conversation about their experience. This conversation doesn't feel like an obligation, but a natural continuation of their interaction. It's a conclusion that wraps up their transaction neatly, giving them a platform to voice their thoughts, feelings, and suggestions.  

This shift from surveys to conversations effectively addresses survey fatigue. It rekindles customers' engagement in the feedback process and provides businesses with a more holistic understanding of their customer experiences. More importantly, it ensures that every voice is heard, every story is acknowledged, and every customer feels valued. This is the essence of a customer-centric approach, and it's the future we're passionately working towards at Numr

2. Unleashing the Potential of Qualitative Data:

Imagine this: thousands of qualitative interviewers engaging in deep, personal conversations with customers. Instead of merely responding to a set of predefined questions, these customers are freely expressing what's truly important to them, sharing experiences that make them feel connected to a company. They are delving into the emotional aspect of their interactions, providing rich narratives that offer a glimpse into their 'fast' thinking, the instinctual and emotional thought process that drives their decision-making.

This vast, sprawling network of conversations forms a gold mine of qualitative data. Within this sea of stories and feelings lie hidden insights that no number-rating or multiple-choice question can ever capture. It’s akin to unearthing hidden treasures, unveiling the 'why' behind the 'what' of customer behaviors.

Herein lies the transformative power of qualitative data. Its depth and richness help businesses decode the complex emotional matrix that underpins customer decisions. This understanding can lead to more empathetic and customer-centric business practices, directly contributing to enhancing the customer experience.

But the beauty of this approach goes beyond the richness of data it provides. It empowers customers, giving them a platform to express their feelings, share their stories, and play an active role in shaping their relationship with the company. It’s a shift from a company-driven feedback process to a customer-driven conversation, ushering in a new era of customer empowerment.

With the advent of advanced AI, it’s now possible to conduct these in-depth, personal conversations at scale, unlocking the tremendous potential of qualitative data. This represents a profound shift in how businesses understand and interact with their customers, marking a major milestone in the evolution of customer feedback.

3. Creating Frictionless Interactions:

Creating a frictionless experience goes beyond just the timing of the survey. It's about seamlessly integrating the feedback conversation into the customer's lived experience. Imagine the customer just purchased a product, contacted support, or browsed your website. The feedback conversation should feel like a natural extension of that activity, not an afterthought or interruption. It should come across as the logical conclusion, a wrap-up that makes their interaction feel complete.  

This approach ensures the customer remains in the 'present' during the feedback conversation, making their responses more authentic and emotionally charged. It's a shift from detached, time-delayed surveys to immediate, contextually relevant conversations. By integrating the feedback process in this way, we make it an integral part of the customer's journey rather than a disjointed element. Thus, we're not just collecting feedback, but enhancing the customer's overall experience. This is the essence of creating a truly frictionless experience.

At NUMR, we are leveraging generative AI to facilitate this evolution. Our approach involves understanding the emotions of customers who provide feedback and extrapolating this data to predict the potential responses and behavior of similar customer groups.

The Future of Customer Feedback with Generative AI

This revolutionary method of gathering data allows us to predict customers' future actions with remarkable accuracy based on their emotional responses. And that's not just an assumption; research shows that emotions play a key role in predicting future customer behavior.

Just as our methods of communication have evolved over the decades, so must our approach to customer feedback. The future is about intuitive and engaging conversations, not monotonous surveys.

Our mission at Numr is to transform the customer feedback process into a conversation that feels natural and engaging. This approach not only garners more accurate feedback but also fosters a deeper connection between companies and their customers.

Furthermore, we aim to extract as much qualitative data as possible from these conversations. Qualitative data, often undervalued due to difficulties in collection and analysis, can provide profound insights into customers' minds. With the help of advanced AI, we're now able to gather and analyze this data at scale. Recent research supports the idea that qualitative data is crucial for understanding customer behavior.

Lastly, we're focused on making the feedback collection process as frictionless as possible. Studies have shown that reducing friction in customer interactions leads to higher customer satisfaction. By engaging customers in a conversation immediately after their interaction, we're able to capture their raw, emotional responses, leading to more accurate predictions of their future behavior.

This fusion of technology and emotion in the feedback process is poised to revolutionize the customer experience landscape in the next 5 to 10 years. By enabling businesses to understand not just what their customers are doing, but also how they're feeling, we can pave the way for a more empathetic, customer-centric business environment. It's not just about solving problems anymore; it's about building relationships. And at Numr, we're excited to be leading the charge in this exciting new era of customer feedback.

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