Empathica Highlights Top CEM Trends for 2013

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As the demand for customer insights increases, 2013 will be a pivotal year for improving the customer experience

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Empathica Inc., a leading global provider of Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions to the world’s most respected multi-unit enterprises in retail, food services, banking, petro and hospitality sectors, announces the top trends in CEM for 2013, highlighting an increased focus on the customer across all touch points of the experience.

“Businesses realize that a customer’s experience with a brand is essential in the business-consumer relationship,” said Dr. Gary Edwards, chief customer officer, Empathica. “The challenge in 2013 is the ability to collect feedback through various channels ranging from comment cards and social media, and to successfully use that data to achieve the age-old customer experience goal of personalization.”

The company’s fastest growing product, Empathica Local™, helps businesses at the local level by putting customer feedback into action and creating a consistent, yet still personalized, experience across business locations. The growing adoption of this solution highlights an increased focus on CEM strategies among businesses. Empathica also reports that its advocate volume in 2012 increased significantly, with client impressions and recommendations increasing by 90 percent and 86 percent, respectively. This increase is reflective of the growing importance of advocacy.

“Our clients are doing a terrific job serving their customers, with over 80% indicating that they are satisfied or highly satisfied with their most recent experience with the brand” said Bruce Warren, vice president of marketing, Empathica. “GoRecommend allows our clients to get credit for their efforts on social media and generate advocacy from their most credible source of the recommendations – their customers.”

Customer Experience Management Trends for 2013

Based on the company’s expertise with clients dedicated to delivering great customer experiences, Empathica has identified four CEM trends brands will see in 2013.

1. Omnichannel Customer Feedback. Brands today understand the importance of connecting with and surveying consumers through mediums including QR code scans, text alerts and emails. Most businesses, however, are unable to effectively leverage the information collected because this omnichannel feedback is often treated separately. This makes for a disjointed customer experience, and an overwhelming amount of disconnected feedback for businesses. In 2013, businesses need to implement technology that has the capabilities to track the customer through the entire purchasing experience and engage on an omnichannel level.

2. Importance of unsolicited feedback alongside survey data. Customer feedback is beneficial to both brands and customers. For customers, reviews on websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor help them make an informed decision about restaurants or travel destinations. For businesses, online surveys and call center data provide valuable insights into what areas of the business are working and what areas need improvement. However, these customer satisfaction ratings from various mediums are often kept separate. Businesses in 2013 will see these disparate sources brought together to help their employees listen to customers – regardless of how the information is collected.

3. A new experience focus. The shape of CEM is changing as consumers demand service quality as much as product quality. Brands have to rediscover that selling products often requires attentive staff in a great atmosphere that inherently makes the customer feel more attractive, healthy or happy – these have become “table stakes”. For example, consumers are reinforced in their choice of Starbucks by the way the Barista and atmosphere makes them feel. The challenge for all enterprises this year is to figure out how to measure those feelings and improve the customer experience on a local level. Once a brand better understands what branded behaviors are enforcing this social currency, it can either build on those behaviors through reinforcement and validation, or change those behaviors to create a more desirable experience.

4. Big Data Personalization. Insights collected from big data (large and complex data sets) does not initially appear to be helpful to managers at individual locations of multi-unit brands. However, these insights do often offer interesting and reliable information or advice. The key for local brand managers is to understand how to use general customer insights and then personalize it at the local level. Brands can provide both reliable research-based advice and local coaching to unit operators on their issues in order to address or correct them. In turn, the customer increasingly wants a degree of personalization as well.

“Ultimately, brands need to understand that technology has changed the expectation of the customer. They are in constant contact with brands and peers through social media, so transparency is important when creating a base of loyal customers. A continuous open dialogue between brands and consumers is key in 2013,” said Dr. Edwards.

About Empathica:

Empathica is the leading provider of social Customer Experience Management (CEM) programs to the world’s most respected multi-unit brands in the retail, food services, banking, petro and hospitality sectors. Its rich analysis of survey data using state-of-the-art surveying and dashboard reporting software allows for performance-improvement solutions, evidence-based marketing insights, and customer experience management consulting.

Annually, Empathica’s 30 million customer surveys in 25 languages reach more than 80,000 locations in over 50 countries. A privately-held organization, Empathica is headquartered in Toronto, Canada with executive consultant offices throughout the United States and a European office in Birmingham, England. For more information about deriving actionable insights that enhance a brand’s operational excellence, visit Empathica at http://www.empathica.com.

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