Inside the Feedback Economy with Usabilla’s Robin Meijer

In September 2019, leading global Voice of the Customer technology provider Usabilla will hold its Global Exchange event, one of the largest CX events held in Amsterdam. The theme of this year’s event is ‘Finding your way through the Feedback Economy’. To find out more about the Feedback Economy and how Usabilla helps companies navigate it, Fifth Quadrant spoke with Usabilla’s Customer Success Team Lead Asia-Pacific, Robin Meijer.

UsabillaFQ: What is the Feedback Economy and why is it important?

RM: These days feedback is everywhere and it very much influences customer behaviour. Traditionally, feedback was seen as something only companies had access to but these days it's very public and very powerful. Transparency has risen in importance and we see feedback as a global currency that, if leveraged well, can be a huge comparative advantage for companies.

FQ: Which channels do you focus on?

RM:  Usabilla primarily focuses on collecting feedback throughout the digital customer journey. Traditionally companies use digital analytics software, and user testing to see how customers interact with that company's digital products. Through Usabilla, they encourage their customers to leave feedback while they are using a website or app, or are receiving an email. 

Imagine that an airline wants to make it easier for its customer to book a flight from their mobile app. Who better to ask for input than their customers? 

They could call a handful of customers that have booked a flight in the past month, or send a survey to them via email. But with Usabilla, they can collect feedback from their customers inside the app right after a customer has booked their flight. 

For example, KLM is using Usabilla for apps to get real-time feedback on how customers are using the app, in order to better understand how their user experience can be enhanced to increase the use and adoption of the app.

That ability to ask for feedback in the moment gives companies amazing insights into how their customers interact with their digital products, and it allows them to focus their resources on improvements that matter most to their customers. A great example of this is the NRL who is using Usabilla to gather real-time fan feedback to their website updates in order to understand what fans liked, disliked and needed. Fans also leave feedback on things like bad referee calls during live streams. 

FQ: How does the Feedback Economy relate to Customer Experience and Employee Experience?

RM: You can't create a great customer experience without listening to your customers. Usabilla helps by empowering companies to listen to their customers in the moment, rather than through traditional research which is often outdated by the time the results are in. Especially when it comes to digital customer needs, where change is constant.

The customer experience you offer is intimately related to the employee experience. At the end of the day, your employees are the ones delivering the best possible customer experience. 

Understanding this fundamental concept, Transavia recently implemented Usabilla on iPads at their various office and airport locations enabling employees to leave their feedback. At the same time, they use Usabilla on their website and app, maintaining a consistent channel of feedback for their employees and customers. The ability to deploy Usabilla both on and offline is a great example of bridging the gap between various channels of feedback. 

You can have all the tools in place to collect customer feedback, but if your employees are not empowered to act on that feedback nothing is going to change. Moreover, it actually becomes detrimental to both your CX and your EX. 

As a Software company, Usabilla provides a great self-service platform from which our customers can easily collect the customer feedback they need to build better experiences. However, implementing a Voice of Customer solution isn't suddenly going to make your company customer-centric, in the same way as buying an analytics platform automatically makes you data-driven. A big part of the job of Usabilla's Customer Success team is to ensure that the companies we work with have the right strategy and processes in place to act upon the feedback they receive.

When an organisation has the technology in place, and the right culture to act on their customer feedback, that's when great customer experiences are born.

FQ: Reviews have certainly become an important part of the customer journey.

RM: That is definitely the case and people now make a lot of buying decisions based on recommendations. Another aspect of this is that people don't only want to read what people think, but they also expect to be heard. Let's say you have a bad experience and post about it on social media. It's not just venting - you expect something to happen and if the company doesn't follow up, that experience is only going to get worse.

We are seeing a number of customers including Transilien (a large French Railroad provider) do a great job of closing the feedback loop with their customers by orchestrating marketing campaigns designed to thank their users for providing feedback that has been used to improve (amongst other things) their website. 

FQ: In the last 10 years I think we've seen big improvements across the board there – companies are listening more than ever.

RM: On the one hand that's true, but a recent PWC report noted an interesting statistic highlighting that while 80% of executives say they're listening to their customers, only 8% of their customers agree. A big problem for organisations is that they generally have a lot of customer data, but a lack of actionable insights.

A large driver of this issue is that the data is often only telling a part of the story, and it remains difficult to know which decisions to make. For example, knowing how many people viewed a particular page, for how long or on which CTA they clicked still does not provide the necessary insight to understand WHY they chose to engage with one CTA over another or why they didn’t engage at all. Quantitative data only tells half of the story while qualitative data provided by user feedback tells the other half, delivering insights into the WHY behind the data.

We do see that many companies in this region are now looking to improve the way they listen to their customers. Which is exactly the reason why we opened our Australia office here.

FQ: AI is a hot topic in CX right now. How are you using it or planning to use it?

RM: Customer Feedback is very much an enabler, and actually a prerequisite, for the use of artificial intelligence in CX. To leverage AI properly you need a single view of your customer, and at the customer feedback that is collected through Usabilla feeds into that. The great thing is that the feedback that you collect doesn't exist in a vacuum. Usabilla integrates directly with other key tools in your tech stack like Chattermill, so you can use your customers' feedback and feed it into other solutions in real-time to optimise and personalise the customer experience.

Deploying AI behind text analysis makes it infinitely easier to extract insights from user feedback because it highlights the most important comments or recurring compliments.

FQ: Usabilla opened a Sydney HQ in late 2017. Has that helped you gain traction in the Australian market and which verticals are you seeing most demand in here?

RM: When we opened the office, I think we only had five Australia-based customers. We’ve been doing very well since we got here and have almost 50 enterprise clients in the region now. We’re working with a lot of big brands across many verticals. Unlike other regions where we have seen quicker adoption in certain verticals, it’s been across-the-board here and we have telco, e-commerce, auto, travel, education and insurance clients. I think it has a little bit to do with the Australian market as well since companies here not only look at their direct competitors but also “best in class” examples in other verticals which is really cool. 

FQ: And how would you position Australian companies globally?

RM: If we put it on a maturity scale, I think companies are a little less mature here than in Europe and the US which is also the reason we set up an office here in 2017 and not five years earlier. However, we do see that adoption is gathering pace here. Companies are very receptive to the idea of CX as a key business driver. We see quick adoption of our solution across all verticals in the region, which indicates that this desire to focus on CX is not industry-specific, but a priority for every type of organisation.

FQ: I see Flight Centre is a client – how have you helped them? 

RM: Flight Centre was one of the clients with us already before we had a physical location here. It is important that they stay ahead of the curve because there's a lot of competition out there and CX is a key driver for them. FlightCentre uses Usabilla across its website and app to allow their digital team to continuously gather feedback and improve their online experiences.

They launched their app a couple of months ago and we have allowed them to do that in a very lean way. Instead of building a fully-fledged app, they started with a bare-bones app with our feedback solution inside. Flight Centre asked initial users questions such as why they were using the app. if there was anything they were missing and why they might choose the app over the mobile website. It enabled Flight Centre to map out why customers were using different features and then to optimise the app accordingly. 

FQ: Usabilla was acquired by SurveyMonkey this year. How has that changed things?

RM: It's a very exciting time for both companies. SurveyMonkey's a huge organisation listed on the stock exchange and we were a team of about 150 with a startup vibe. There is a lot of synergy in our products. SurveyMonkey is the biggest provider of online surveys globally with 20 million answers collected every single day. Usabilla brings in a strong customer base with over 450 enterprise customers like Philips, KLM and T-Mobile. In terms of product fit, we complement each other well. Usabilla focuses on feedback prior to transaction, so, for example, unknown website visitors that are looking to buy a product, while SurveyMonkey focuses on known customers through an email database after purchase. We both serve in the Feedback Economy, just at different moments in the customer journey. There is a lot of synergy in terms of culture too so if we go back to the EX it was great to see how quickly we could merge the Sydney SurveyMonkey and Usabilla offices.  

FQ: What can we expect to see from Usabilla for the remainder of 2019?

RM: A big thing on our road map is to make it easier for our customers to spread feedback throughout their organisations. The reason comes back to that culture we talked about earlier. If you want to make your company customer-centric, you must listen to your customers and get actionable results based on their feedback. We’re about to launch a new analytics platform called Workspaces which makes it very easy for different teams in an organisation to see and share exactly what's going on in their digital customer journeys. We’ve already released Workspace to a select number of clients and we plan to roll it out to the whole customer base later this year.

We often give hints on our next move through social, so stay tuned!

About Usabilla

Usabilla empowers brands like KLM, Tommy Hilfiger, and Toyota to become truly customer-centric by improving digital experiences on websites, apps and emails. Enterprises acquire the ultimate solution to capture the voice of their customers, collect quantitative along with qualitative data, and turn insights into actions that drive success. With Usabilla, start asking Why.


Stefan Kostarelis

Written by Stefan Kostarelis

Stefan is the Content Manager at a Sydney-based investor relations firm, and a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Techly, Paste Magazine, Lost at E Minor and Tech Invest.

Topics: Customer experience CX CX Articles & Insights

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