How Would Your Customers SWOT You?
A Real-World Scenario
A leading global telecom provider recently put this concept to the test. I was fortunate enough to visit its offices and meet with the team to learn more. As a first step, the organization collected "voice of the customer" (VOC) inputs from internal and external sources. Such internal sources included recorded customer calls, free-form CRM agent notes on email, chat, SMS and voice interactions. The external sources spanned across various social media sites including Twitter and dedicated regional telecom related web sites.
The company mined through the data with a voice of the customer analytics platform -- including speech analytics for mining the unstructured voice calls and text analytics for mining the unstructured text interactions. At first glance, the telecom provider discovered the top issues that were being discussed by customers. These revealed such themes as iPhone, international usage, coverage and other issues. Taking this a step further, it took each of these topics and conducted a sentiment analysis leveraging natural language processing (NLP). Natural language processing is an important technology that allows the breakdown of text comments from customers, and understands the positive and negative sentiments noted within. The customer may post a note such as, "Love the intuitive large touch-screen of my new phone, but the battery life is not great." NLP automatically extracts the positive sentiment regarding the screen and the negative sentiment regarding the battery.
This same telecom provider compared the volume and associated sentiment of comments when its brand was mentioned and compared with competitors. The results were used to create a SWOT analysis based on the voice of the customer. The discovery was quite eye-opening! What you may consider as key strengths may not always be what customers are even talking about or discussing about in the market. The viral effect of social media can significantly increase or decrease the impact of your existing strengths and weaknesses across the industry. With this VOC customer SWOT approach, the company's marketing team can incorporate valuable changes into planned outreach campaigns and programs. It is usually easier to emphasize strengths that are already being recognized by current customers publicly, or take advantage of perceived weaknesses of your competitors.
The organization also analyzed the many customer suggestions posted online via public and social websites, as well as interactions conducted directly with the company's contact center. Many of these had significant opportunities that could translate into considerable cost savings, all while increasing customer satisfaction. Customers are not always aware of certain elements of the product and services, and their suggestions can help focus where more awareness is needed. Threats are also a key monitoring point -- especially the ones conducted online, as they tend to have more viral appeal. Examples include when a customer threatens to contact his or her lawyer or the Better Business Bureau with a complaint. These instances can be monitored via daily alerts, tracking what the industry is saying about the organization and allowing it to take action immediately and before such topics hit the social domain.
A Challenge to all Marketing Teams!
Think about taking your unbiased "voice of the customer" into account when you conduct your next SWOT analysis. Adding customer perspective may incorporate that special touch to turn an average marketing campaign into a raging success. To get started, reach out to external sources such as social media channels, but make sure you also partner with your contact center. These frontline professionals hear complaints, praises, questions and more each day from your customer base. And, if the capability to mine the data from a technology standpoint is available -- that will catapult your research even further. Your SWOT analysis and campaign programs will only benefit from these few extra steps to close the loop and cater to the wants needs and perceptions of your customer.