Making an Emotional Connection

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We are on the cusp of a new era in customer intelligence. Organizations are able to do a decent enough job of collecting two of the three main types of customer data—demographic and behavioral data—but they’ve been struggling to get valuable attitudinal data. Customer surveys help, but many companies either fail to administer them at critical points that matter most to customers, or, for various reasons, they simply ignore the results. 

With social media technologies, customers will no longer be ignored. They’ll complain to anyone who will listen. What’s important to Speech Technology readers is the impact this technology is having on customer expectations of companies. Customers want to be heard, and it’s up to companies to listen. 

During his Monday morning keynote at the SpeechTEK 2009 conference in New York (August 24–26), Paul Greenberg, president of CRM consultancy The 56 Group, underscored the impact of social media technologies on customer expectations. Editorial Assistant Adam Boretz covered the keynote presentation in his article “Customers Are Now Social Customers” (speechtechmag.com, August 24). “According to Greenberg, social customers want accelerated and enhanced interactions and expect institutions to respond to them via the communication channel of their choice,” the article states.

Despite the Internet’s popularity, when it comes to contacting a company, the telephone is still the preferred method of communication. “In fact, according to a study by DMG Consulting, 77 percent of consumers still consider the phone the best way to interact with the enterprise. Moreover, Forrester Research finds that, when it comes to customer service, even the most highly digital constituents—Gen Y—prefer phone calls (41 percent) over store visits (35 percent) and email (6 percent),” according to CRM magazine Associate Editor Jessica Tsai’s article “Calling All Social Customers” (destinationCRM.com, August 25), which also covered Greenberg’s keynote presentation. 

These stats are particularly relevant to the speech tech community because a telephone call can be analyzed for its “context, keywords, phrases, emotion, and tempo,” Jessica’s article states. 

All of these discoveries can help organizations uncover vast amounts of attitudinal data so they can make an emotional connection with customers. This is exactly what organizations should focus on next, according to Jeffrey Rayport, founder and chairman of CRM consultancy Marketspace, who delivered the Tuesday morning keynote. 

The article “The Power of Voice” (destinationCRM.com, August 29) by CRM magazine Assistant Editor Christopher Musico covered Rayport’s take on what awaits  companies. “Combined with an increase in the competitiveness of brands and offerings underlying them, companies are no longer in a position to not care about customer experience,” Rayport said. 

“Speech is ready for prime time...it actually manages to touch a barrier technology never reached before—the threshold of emotional connection,” Rayport said, adding that the key part and daunting task of putting in touchpoints to create seamless customer experiences “is the challenge of our time.”

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