Are You Embracing the Potential of Unstructured VoC Data?

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Quick Overview

Capturing and utilizing unstructured Voice of the Customer (VoC) data in the contact centre can result in huge improvements to the overall customer experience, but it needs to be driven by clear thinking and initiatives, including:

  1. Stop Missing Out on 80% of Available Customer Insight
  2. Be Where Your Customers Are Talking!
  3. Divide Up the Work

In this article, Nate Brown explains how contact centre leaders can harness unstructured Voice of the Customer (VoC) data to better understand their customers’ needs.

Getting Started With Unstructured Data

Are you relying on ‘structured’ Voice of the Customer (VoC) data alone, or are you tapping into ‘unstructured’ data too?

Here, Nate Brown, Co-Founder of CX Accelerator, explains the key differences between ‘structured’ and ‘unstructured’ VoC data, where to find unstructured data, and how to use it to drive real change across your contact centre and wider business.

What’s the Difference Between Structured and Unstructured Data?

Structured Data

This refers to the process of capturing data that you specifically asked your customers for, where you control the questions and flow of resulting information. For example, a customer feedback survey via text or email.

Unstructured Data

It helps to think of this as being “just out there in the wild”, as this is data and insight that comes from feedback channels you did not create and cannot manage. For example, it could be on a review site or happen during a conversation on an aeroplane.

In the video below, Nate Brown explains how to get started with unstructured VoC data:


How to Make the Most of Your Unstructured Data

Here are four ways to embrace the potential of unstructured VoC data:

1. Stop Missing Out on 80% of Available Customer Insight

Capturing unstructured data will give you higher-quality information. Why? If you’re dependent upon only a structured path, you’re missing out on a lot of insight!

Did you Know?

Upwards of around 80% of insight for most contact centres is in this ‘unstructured’ data area. That’s why it’s so important to know the difference between ‘structured’ and ‘unstructured’ data, and to be acquiring both into your overall VoC engine.

Look at the traditional ‘structured’ example of customer surveys… For most industries, the survey response rate is somewhere around 1% to 3% – especially if you’re looking at email-based surveys.

Even if you run a perfectly mobile-optimized survey with a great user interface (UI) and timings, you only stand to push this up to a 5%–7% response rate.

Beyond that, some really passionate tribes of customers of certain brands might deliver 20%–25%, but even this is going to leave gaps in insight across your customer base.

Don’t forget, with a structured path, you must always have a trigger point too. This means you have to choose a point in the customer journey to ask the question “what do you think about us?”, so inevitably there are going to be moments in that journey where you’re not asking!

But, just because you haven’t built in or thought of that relevant trigger point doesn’t mean you don’t want to know, right? So, this is where you need to bring in the 80% of unstructured data that’s out there and start listening to it.

To discover best-practice principles for a successful VoC survey, read our article: 11 Best Practices for a Voice of the Customer Survey

2. Be Where Your Customers Are Talking!

Where can you find unstructured data? The key is to find out where your customers are talking and show up and be present in these conversations.

For example, this fantastic, real-life example about GoPro showing up in Slickdeals:

Slickdeals is a third-party community (full of ‘unstructured’ data) where people are hyper-aggressive to find great value, and brands are picked apart – often without any representation from the brands themselves.

What did GoPro do differently? They showed up there and became a hero brand within the Slickdeals community.

How? Just by listening, by being present, being transparent, and validating that community. That’s them being where their customers are and listening really well!

Why try this? It’s quite simply really… You get so much loyalty and credibility through the process. It also enhances your VoC)listening capability and helps you learn more about your customers’ challenges.

Do you know where your customers hang out and talk about your brand? It’s time to find out!

3. Divide Up the Work

Nate Brown, Senior Director of CX at Arise and Co-Founder of CX Accelerator
Nate Brown

How you collect unstructured data will all depend on the size and complexity of the brand. If you’ve got a huge group of customers talking in lots of different places, putting that burden and responsibility on one individual would be unfair and taxing.

So instead, think about how you can divide up the work, so individuals aren’t just showing up for 5 minutes here and there, but have the time to actively engage in these environments. You’ve got to have enough people resource in place to close the feedback loop.

Top Tip – if you’re collecting so much unstructured VoC information that you don’t have the ability to do anything meaningful with it and you can’t ‘close the loop’, you’re in a big grey zone of danger. It’s a game of quality – not quantity!

It’s all about striking the right balance to be able to do meaningful things with the data you collect.

After all, your customers are giving you feedback and there’s nothing more frustrating as a customer than when you invest time in giving feedback only to be ignored – or worse again, to hit a technical glitch on the ability to give feedback in the first place. It just leaves customers wondering “why did you ask?!”

Top Tip – Keep a close eye on any digital feedback forms you’re offering out to customers to make sure they’re working as intended.

4. Get Your Frontline Agents Involved in Capturing Unstructured Data

Lots of great conversations happen across your contact centre every day containing praise as well as useful insight on what’s not working and why, but these conversations often fall outside the ‘structured’ survey feedback process.

If this sounds familiar, and you know you’re getting valuable insights on the frontline that are just disappearing into the ether.

Here’s an idea that could help:

When I was faced with such a challenge, I created a mini feedback form inside of our CRM and gave everyone a USB web key button.

It was just a little clicker, but whenever one of our agents got meaningful customer feedback as part of a customer service interaction, they could just hit the button, which would take them to a simple feedback form – including:

  • What’s happening in this call?
  • What type of feedback did they give you?
  • How are they feeling right now?

Then we would use that insight to close the loop on the feedback.

You’d be amazed at how much loyalty we garnered from that – and not just with the customer! The agents were getting to be a part of that loop-closure process and it felt so right to them to be able to service the customer in that way.

Why a clicker? There’s power when we connect our body to our mental intention. It’s a little psychological trick that can make all the difference in changing the mentality around ‘feedback is valuable’.

Top Tip – Think about what that could look like in your contact centre. It might not be a button, but some way that you can dive deep into that rich, secondary layer of the customer service interaction to capture more ‘unstructured’ VoC data.

Are you missing a trick with unstructured data? Why not get started today!

Thanks to Nate Brown, Senior Director of CX at Arise and Co-Founder of CX Accelerator, for this great article.

If you are looking for some great advice on your Voice of the Customer programme, read these articles next:

Author: Nate Brown
Reviewed by: Megan Jones

Published On: 31st May 2023 - Last modified: 20th Feb 2024
Read more about - Customer Service Strategy, , , , ,

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