Friday, April 04, 2008

Passive and Active Participation For Customer Experience

Some good points today from Beagle Research today on the difference between Active and Passive customer experiences, and how to think about customer experience itself. Nic over at The Equtiy Kicker is zeroing in on why social networks will be important, even if they aren't making that much money now. Its been fun following Nic and his journey down the rabbit hole of social networking. Nic also has a post today on why SaaS (software as service) offerings like VoiceSage, may see an uptake during a recession. What have these posts got in common? Its the bridge between them. Social Networks can be passive or active, and the experience of being on a social network can be passive or active. Their benefits from and for both of these. Sometimes you just want to know when someone else "is going to attend that concert", because it tells you something about what they are interested in (which may be a false picture none the less); other times you value knowing this information because you too would like to go if this person is going, and you want to take action. Thus, Active. We have been using some of these principles internally for a while in explaining to people that SMS is Passive, and Voice is Active. When combined, you can achieve a cycle of interaction that has active and passive elements. You can also throw synchronous and asychronous communications and need for active and passive into the mix. Either way, their are many new ways into which companies can communicate online and offline, and the key will be having a joined up strategy for them all, but keeping "customer experience" dead centre.

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Khyle said...

Very nice insight. Social networks are obviously already huge, but I'm not sure everyone truly understands their true power yet.

I also think that as the market starts to mature, companies will get smarter on a total communications strategy. Today, I see companies that maybe have an email program, an outbound program, and maybe a direct mail program. The true power (and ROI) will come only when a company can see how to combine all types of communications into a single plan.

mariobilotas said...

Hi Paul -

I think you bring up an interesting point, and the challenge that passive/active social communication brings. Because we are discussing human interaction, I often like to simplify the thought process to understand how reality may view technology integration.

In my opinion measuring social networks may be compared to something like this:
Say you are hosting a party and would like to invite various people to attend. Instead of you going through your list of contact to invite, you stand in the street and hand a flier to anyone passing by. The randomness of this event will either generate interest, or it may not...but that also depends on the type of party you are hosting. If you party is a "Technical Gathering of Ambidextrous Professionals" - the audience you invited is an absolute shot in the dark. If you are passing invitations to something where the average audience can quickly relate to: "5th Annual Gathering with the Rolling Stones" - you're likely to have a larger acceptance of passive strangers turning to be active.

My point is that the complexity behind capturing audience opinion via social networks is not a simple task if not well planned with topic:audience ratio.

Once your party is over, and you have gathered an audience which participated in the event, you have narrowed the scope of interest to a relevant point. Audience participation to provide feedback on the event is more relevant, measurable, and can determine KPI's.

The next level is the ($) with implementation. Pay to ask and promote, pay to listen, pay to discuss, pay to record the answers, pay to evaluate the answers, pay to act upon the responses. From marketing to customer service, to research: (salaries+resources+time)=$

Not to product push but I work with and what raised my level of interest to join OL is the ability to gather real-time feedback and qualitative metrics via technological touch points without having to spend money on support to answer the questions, but collecting information on a methodology that is user-invoked.

Simple terms: You are hosting a "Party" with a topic of their interest, and then give people the option to take an invitation and make comments without having post interaction with the audience. The Feedback is fed into a dashboard that collects and separates the feedback by category (web page) and asks specific questions geared toward each page - fully customizable. No 800 calls, no IM chats, just collection with the perception of a listener. Yes - cost with setting KPI's, and cost with implementation of change, but the information is topic relevant, by choice of the information provider, and actionable.

What do you think?

Paul Sweeney said...

Khyle, I agree with your point. When companies see all their interactions under one dash do they begin to see the next level of benefits. It's also surprising that the basics are not done well the whole time as well. Maybe this has to do with the level of "professionalism" in the basics, i.e. copywriting.

Mariobilotas, I think any solution that can gather feedback "intelligently" across social networks will be valuable. I like the term "user invoked", and potentially the fact that every page has its own question. I hate turning up on sites and being asked something that has no value add. I think your "break out" potential comes from being able to aggregate across disparate "contexts", to give a site "more than its own internal data" capability when answering questions.

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