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Yearly Archives: 2012

opinionlab rockstars: meet Sarah

2012 is winding down. Today in fact. Which means that all in all we’ve highlighted quite a few of our rockstars this year. We’ll be highlighting even more come 2013 as our team expands and grows to meet marketplace (and VoC program) needs everywhere! So for our last employee post in 2012, we chose someone very special. Meet Sarah, one of our Client Experience Managers. Sarah has been on our team since July 2011 and we’ve welcomed the impact she’s had on Client Experience.  Pull up a chair and get comfy, you’re going to get to know Sarah a little better.

What are you currently reading?
Started a book during Labor Day vacation called The Art of Racing in the Rain (Really great book by the way).

You decide your book isn’t as interesting as teenage drama. You have two choices– Harry Potter or Twilight. Which book are you taking home?
Love me some blood sucking vampires. Twilight.

Speaking of puppies (because of course we were), puppies or kittens?

Your daily news source is…

You’re fifteen again. Who were on the posters on your wall?
Back Street Boys.

Wanna join the OpinionLab team? We’re hiring! Check out our open positions over on the Careers Page.


using the 5 w’s when planning out your VoC experience

Who. What. When. Where. Why. You don’t have to be a journalism major to recognize these elements as the fundamental tenets of a news story. Heck, the closest I come to formal training in reporting is my extensive collection of Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen comic books, and that list has been ingrained in my consciousness via osmosis.

But those five Ws aren’t just for carrot-topped cub reporters; they’re also the core fundamentals when planning out your Voice of Customer experience. They provide a perfect framework for focusing your thinking as you prepare your comment card and your plans for what you’ll do with the data you’re going to be receiving.

The Who bit might seem fairly obvious, and many times it will be: you want to leave the VoC welcome mat out for all of your users. But you need to think about the demographics of your visitors and how different segments use your site. Your front page is going to be visited by a different base than is a technical document or specialized product offering. So it makes sense to differentiate the VoC comment card that you serve to each of them.

What are you trying to learn? If you’ve got a problem pipeline on your site that you’re trying to diagnose, you need to make sure that the card you’re serving is facilitating that goal. The questions should be succinct but pointed, and you might want to use an invitation or event-driven comment card to get opinions from users who might not know that you’re actively soliciting them. On the other hand, if you’re just keeping your ear to the ground, make sure that your card is simple, direct, and omnipresent.

The When element is another that seems fairly obvious: when do you want to open up VoC channels? NOW! But you also want to think down the road, to new product rollouts, site additions, or other special events. These are great opportunities to collect feedback from your users; when you stir the pot, you want to be there to see what’s bubbling up! Don’t just “fit it and forget it”, allowing your feedback link to become the equivalent of that dusty old wooden “comments” box screwed into the wall. Look ahead for opportunities to keep things fresh and proactive!

Where are your users on your site when you ask for their feedback? Someone trying to pay a bill or buy something from a store is in a “getting stuff done” mode and might not be willing to answer a bunch of questions, but may be happy to leave a comment or give a general assessment of their experience. Someone perusing your information pages may be in a more contemplative mood, and more amenable to having their brain picked in a little more depth.

Lastly, of course, Why are you doing this? How are you going to use the data that you collect? Think about who needs to get the data you’re receiving and how they’ll get it. Will you send alerts to them as comments roll in, or will there be a gatekeeper who collates and distributes the information manually? Each approach has its benefits, and you should talk to your Client Experience manager to make sure that once you’ve collected all that great data that you’re best able to use it.

So go on out there and gather your requirements. And just like Jimmy Olsen, know that if you ever get in over your head, OpinionLab is here to duck into a phone booth and save the day!


opinionlab rockstars: meet suzy

Meet Suzy, a Customer Experience Manager since 2007. You’ll notice we have a sizable Customer Experience team here at OpinionLab because we are big believers in (shockingly enough) customer experiences! Suzy is no exception as she’s constantly helping our clients and her fellow co-workers have better experiences every single day. Especially in office around Halloween, Suzy’s costumes are a sure hit. Take a moment and get to know Suzy a little bit better.

What’s your favorite blogs to read?
OpinionLab’s (told you she’s great) and Young and Entertaining by our very own Kippy (an OpinionLab rockstar in her own right).

What book can’t you put down right now?
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks. The story takes place in Southport, NC and the movie was filmed here over the summer. I had a chance to be an extra, but my scene was not filmed (that’s ok, we’ll still claim we know a movie star anyways).

What’s your favorite kind of cookie?
Every cookie is my favorite.

How do you take your coffee or tea?
Coffee with vanilla creamer. Tea, sweet!

Do you buy most of your purchases online or in-store?
My clothes, in-store for sure. Just about everything else online.

If you could have dinner with any one celebrity, author or famous person (alive or dead) who would it be?
I would skip dinner and paint with Claude Monet or Jackson Pollock, depending on my mood. Or take photos with Ansel Adams.

Wanna join the OpinionLab team? We’re hiring! Check out our open positions over on the Careers Page.


OpinionLab Holiday 2012 eCommerce Site Experience Findings

2012 has been a breakthrough year for omnichannel retail, as eCommerce has surged forward, while mobile commerce has finally achieved its mainstream breakthrough. Online retail sales are $29.3 billion this year, with mobile commerce growing by as much as 96% year over year in the holiday shopping period thus far.


But in the enormous volume of published data speaking to the phenomenal rise of mobile and eCommerce, one factor has been conspicuously absent: the Voice of the Customer. OpinionLab’s Holiday 2012 Site Opinion Findings analyze real-time shopper feedback across leading North American retail and eCommerce websites. The findings tell the story of an industry in transition and spotlight the increasing importance of mobile in guiding and structuring shopper behavior.

The Holiday 2012 Site Opinion Findings highlight the emerging impact of mobile commerce and shed some dramatic light on usage of smartphones and tablets in the online buying process. Prior to 2012, mobile devices were largely used for informational “snacking”—the consumption of short bits of information, such as product ratings, pricing comparisons, or user-generated reviews, often in conjunction with showrooming activity.

OpinionLab’s findings suggest, however, that Holiday 2012 shoppers eagerly embraced mobile devices as standalone purchasing platforms. When visiting an e-tailer’s mobile website, 42% of smartphone users indicated that their intent was to buy a product. Among tablet users, a still impressive 34% of shoppers expressed intent to buy a product during the course of their visit.  Conversely, researching, browsing, pricing comparisons, and other pre-buying activities were largely confined to desktop and notebook sessions.

This is compelling evidence that shoppers are searching for frictionless mobile and eCommerce experiences, which will allow them to convert at the touch of a button or the swipe of a screen. But omnichannel retailers have a long way to go to fully realize the potential of the mobile channel. Despite the surge in mobile commerce activity this holiday season, shopper satisfaction on mobile devices was still significantly lower than on the desktop or notebook. Shoppers who bought on their smartphones posted a Site Opinion Rating of only 2.49, while shoppers who made purchases on their tablets posted an even less impressive Rating of 2.39. Much was made of the role of iPad in driving mobile sales this holiday season, but the Site Opinion Rating for tablet-using buyers was a stunning 32% lower than the overall Site Opinion Rating for all online shoppers (3.51).

In their rush to deploy mobile commerce strategies, omnichannel retailers need to increase their focus on the shopper experience. Mobile sites that require tablet users to excessively pinch, squeeze, zoom, and swipe to make a purchase are unlikely to drive higher satisfaction, loyalty, or basket value. Conversely, retailers that offer in-app purchasing on their iOS or Android apps must ensure that product selection and pricing match up with what the shopper sees in store, or they risk alienating their customers and drive them into the waiting arms of Amazon or another competitor.

Yet omnichannel retailers can draw comfort from the fact that channel performance evolves quickly, and this will certainly be the case with mobile. The Holiday 2012 Site Opinion Findings demonstrate just how far eCommerce in general has come in the past few years. Across all eCommerce sites, Site Experience Ratings surged dramatically on the biggest online shopping days. To cite two especially impressive examples, Site Opinion Rating rose to a peak of 3.88 on Cyber Monday and almost matched that high with a 3.86 rating on Green Monday. Both of these ratings were more than 10% higher than the average Site Opinion Rating during the holiday shopping period.

This speaks volumes about the increasing effectiveness and responsiveness of eCommerce sites. For many years, Cyber Monday was a day of horror stories, filled with heart-wrenching accounts of crashing websites, technical glitches, unfulfilled orders, and out-of-stock products. E-tailers have clearly made significant strides in executing on their technical, merchandising, and promotional promises. As shoppers make the historic transition to mobile, tuning into the Voice of the Customer will help omnichannel retailers avoid the eCommerce learning curve and deploy strategies to deliver remarkable mobile buying experiences in the months and years to come.

Research Note:
OpinionLab analyzed Voice of Customer feedback from over 43,000 real online shoppers from November 1 through December 11. Responses were gathered using OpinionLab’s patented opt-in research methodology, while satisfaction and experience scores were computed using OpinionLab’s proprietary Site Opinion Rating system, which is weighted to reflect the key drivers of satisfaction, loyalty, and repurchase intent in the eCommerce and retail industries.



opinionlab rockstars: meet brandon

We value feedback here at OpinionLab. Which is a good thing because it’s what drew this Friday’s spotlight to our North Carolina office in the first place. Brandon is a rockstar in his own right, namely because he creates amazing customer experiences for our clients, but we also have to recognize his office mate Jackson at the same time (pictured here). Celebrate Brandon with us in this week’s employee spotlight.

Batman and Superman are dueling at your street block party. Who holds the winning trophy at the end of the day?
Is that a serious question? Superman of course.

You’ve got a 3pm craving. Does peanut butter or chocolate win out?
Reese’s Cups. (Jackson doesn’t get any though)

After you’ve stuffed yourself on Reese’s Cups at 3pm, where do you go for dinner if it is takeout?
Whole Foods hot bar.

You know the drill, you’re the only one on deserted island. A genie grants you the ability to eat one and only one kind of food for the next week. What is it?

If you were a movie quoting person, what movie would be your favorite quotable movie?
If you were counting TV Shows, Arrested Development would win hands down! If I were forced to pick a movie (yes, you’re definitely forced to pick one) it would be The Big Lebowski…although Spinal Tap is right up there with it.

Wanna join the OpinionLab team? We’re hiring! Check out our open positions over on the Careers Page.


thanksgiving 2012: the coming out party for the omnichannel retail customer

I spent Black Friday from the safety of my car, providing the official drop off and pick up duties for my family. Mind you, there is a whole list of stress factors that accompany that role, but from my vantage point, I was able to view the crowds that packed our local mall. What I was not able to view, however, were the even bigger hordes that stayed away from the stores on Black Friday, and instead saved their holiday shopping dollars for Cyber Monday. And lurking somewhere in these masses of shoppers were the folks who did both: the ones who waited in line on Black Friday and then saved some extra to splurge online on Cyber Monday.

Retailers are staring into their Magic 8 balls and seeing an entire industry in transition, as web and mobile arise, while brick-and-mortar stagnates. In-store retail sales on Black Friday actually decreased by 1.8%, while online sales on Cyber Monday surged ahead by 30.3%. In fact, 58% of Cyber Monday shoppers indicated that they planned to spend more money on Cyber Monday than Black Friday. Smartphones are playing a key role in disrupting traditional holiday shopping patterns. Deloitte estimates that by 2016, mobile could influence as many as 34% of in-store retail sales. Already, this Cyber Monday saw sales on mobile devices accounting for about 13% of all online sales (check out this amazing IBM Benchmark on Cyber Monday which literally made my day).

Retailers, meet the new omnichannel shopper. 2012 was the year when omnichannel became a de facto part of the retail lexicon. It doesn’t matter whether they are buying online, researching online for an in-store purchase, or showrooming in-store for an online purchase, shoppers expect the entire customer journey to be seamless or they will spend their money elsewhere. Store, site, mobile, social—these are all fusing into the omnichannel battleground of 21st century retail. Single-channel giants will fall into irrelevance and die out, while new multi-channel titans will assume their places in the hearts and minds of customers.

Unfortunately, omnichannel has not been so quick to permeate retail Voice of Customer programs. Too many retail operators are taking a very ’90s approach to customer feedback (sans the flannel wear and Nirvana tapes, mind you). They are leaning on antiquated methodologies, silo’ed databases, and single-channel programs to measure the experiences of shoppers who are far more nimble, far more fickle, and far more vocal than they were 10 years ago.

Hopefully, Thanksgiving 2012 will be a wake-up call for retailers. Omnichannel shoppers deserve omnichannel Voice of Customer programs that can capture their voices anytime, anywhere and mesh the insights together to paint a truly comprehensive portrait of this new breed of shopper. Retailers who clue into this will have very jolly Christmases indeed. Those who don’t will find a whole lot more Grinches in their company when the new year begins.



opinionlab rockstars: meet eric

Meet Eric. He’s one of our Product Development gurus in our Chicago office since February 2012. We love having Eric around the office because he’s a great conversationalist, his stories add a lot to office lunchtime. He’s added a lot to our Product Development team as well, but today we won’t ask him about all those accomplishments, crossed off to-do lists and projects finished. Pull up your comfiest chair and get to know Eric, we’re confident you’ll like him as much as we do.

You’re on a jet plane and don’t know when you’ll be back again. Where are you going?
Provence or Martha’s Vineyard. Coin flip…ask me when the plane is fueled up and ready to go.

You’re in a pet store. Are you buying puppies or kittens?
Kittens. Definitely kittens. (we won’t hold that against you!)

What are you currently reading?
Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil.

When you’re going to look at world news, where do you find it?
The Economist and WSJ (Wall Street Journal), actually. But the Onion is more entertaining than any of them….

You’re fifteen again. Who were in the posters on young Eric’s wall?
Carlton Fisk, team picture of the 81′ White Sox and a gigantic picture of the Milky Way. Oh, you wanted band/ musician pictures? Those were on the record sleeves in my album box. Anybody remember records? (We do! We do!)

Wanna join the OpinionLab team? We’re hiring! Check out our open positions over on the Careers Page.


customer feedback with customer experience visibility

In a series of guest bloggers, this week we feature a piece from Ronit Belson, VP Marketing and Business Development for Cloudmeter. Ronit, a highly accomplished senior executive with over 15 years of experience, joined Cloudmeter in May of 2012 and drives Cloudmeter’s customer-focused approach that leverages the company’s highly accomplished technologists for customers’ benefits and company growth. With a background in end-user testing and monitoring, corporate and business development, Ronit is responsible for all facets of marketing, BD and sales for Cloudmeter. 

Cloudmeter and OpinionLab have partnered together to reveal a complete picture of the user experience–seamlessly integrated real-time VoC data within analytics reporting systems that reveals an actionable and deeper understanding of consumer opinions.

In the last few weeks, the retail industry was gearing up heavily for Black Friday and Cyber Monday– but were they prepared? In today’s world of multi-channel options (websites, mobile apps, and in-store just to name a few), round-the-clock customer service expectations and fierce competition for every single holiday season dollar spent, today’s retailers need to do more. A single bad user experience can cause irreparable damage to a company’s brand image, not to mention the negative impact on revenue.

At Cloudmeter, we’re excited to join forces with OpinionLab to take valuable customer insights one step further with Pion Replay. Our integration with OpinionLab’s feedback anytime, anywhere solutions let you capture customer feedback collected through surveys and take action to avoid potential disasters by quickly seeing and understanding customer experience problems through the eyes of your customer.

Do you know if your customers had a positive user experience? What other products did they look at before selecting this one? Was a coupon used? Did the coupon code work? Was the order completed? And if not, what happened during the session to cause the customer to send negative feedback?

Pion Replay enables you to visualize your users’ sessions as they experienced it, and replay their step-by-step interactions with your website, mobile device or even your product. When users fill out web site experience surveys with exceedingly positive or negative feedback, you can rewind the tape of their visit to experience their session through their eyes.

This powerful combination allows you to add context and dimension to the quantitative feedback you receive instantly from OpinionLab comment cards. Instead of blindly guessing what happened to cause the negative user experience, Pion Replay gives customer service a view into the buying process, as the user experienced it, in a non-intrusive way. Customer support can then accurately pinpoint performance issues and efficiently solve them before any damage is done. And that leads to diagnosed site problems with the qualitative view of the experience.

Whether you’re a retailer going into your busiest season of the year or simply striving for excellent customer service, supporting your customers requires a complete view into your customers’ experiences. With Cloudmeter and OpinionLab, you can reap the benefits of both Voice of Customer feedback and Customer Experience Replay for a full picture of what’s happening to better understand your customers they interact with your brand.

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