Video - the future of customer feedback?

How can companies use video feedback from customers in an effective way? And what are the benefits, and the challenges, of video feedback? These were a couple of the key questions discussed in a round table discussion at the CXEdge conference in London.

Video - the future of customer feedback?

It was hosted by VoxPopMe, a company which has developed a platform to connect brands with their customers via video feedback.

Unlike shoppers at the company’s physical stores, online shoppers don’t have the opportunity to make their feelings known in person

"This is about adding a video element to a company’s existing programmes and customer satisfaction research," said VoxPopMe founder and CEO Dave Carruthers.

He added that showing video feedback from customers to a board of stakeholders can have a much more powerful impact than the usual graphics and statistics on customer satisfaction.

Oliver Wilson, customer insight manager at Asda, said: "It’s not Hollywood, these are people’s raw feelings that you see, but video feedback has been particularly useful for us in finding out what our online customers think."

He said that, unlike shoppers at the company’s physical stores, online shoppers don’t have the opportunity to make their feelings known in person.

‘Video – the future of customer feedback?’ roundtable discussion, hosted by VoxPopMe at CXEdge

The ‘selfie’ generation

VoxPopMe was set up two years ago, to take advantage of the ‘selfie’ generation’s growing confidence with technology, and the desire of brands to get closer to their customer base.

Debbie Britton, a consultant and former executive at energy firm Npower, agreed that video feedback from customers was powerful, on an emotional level.

"I saw how powerful it can be at board level, but video feedback needs to be put into context when shown to a board because it may just represent an isolated incident," she added.

Another challenge in using video feedback is that it can be difficult to analyse because it is an unstructured medium.

In response to Britton’s point, Carruthers stressed the importance of video feedback being contextualised: "At Asda, for example, we contextualise the video so that the company knows which store the feedback relates to and it can also be linked to the company’s CRM programme."

On the criticism that video can be hard to analyse, Carruthers pointed out that VoxPopMe’s videos are relatively short, between 15 and 60 seconds, and that they are transcribed so that key themes can be highlighted and a sentiment score attached.

Businesses can also drill down into the data to find out, for example, what people under 40 are saying in their video feedback.

Claire Nuttall, Customer Experience Manager at Canon Europe

To enhance, not replace

One of the advantages of video feedback is that it can help backroom staff understand the customer experience

Video is a complement to a company’s existing customer research programmes, he said, not a replacement: "It offers colour and depth and can be used to replace open ended responses in customer satisfaction surveys because in video you get six times more characters on average than in open ended responses, and double the number of topics."

Claire Nuttall, customer experience manager at Canon Europe, asked how video feedback could be used by companies dealing with consumers in different countries with different languages. Because all the videos are transcribed, said Carruthers, the information can be communicated to executives even if there are language issues.

Another potential challenge, voiced by Ed Lecky-Thompson of Aberdeen Asset Management, was compliance issues around data storage, particularly in highly regulated sectors such as financial services.

"We have had to go through extremely rigorous compliance processes when working with our public sector and banking clients, so we are experienced in data storage and protection," said Dave Carruthers.

One of the advantages of video feedback is that it can help backroom staff understand the customer experience, said Debbie Britton.

In her time at Npower video feedback had been very useful in helping staff who did not have customer-facing roles to understand what many customers were feeling about the service. "It can bring the customer experience to life. You can get feedback on the phone, or online, but video feedback provides a more three-dimensional experience," she said.

According to Tom Williams, account director at VoxPopMe: "A lot of companies do research and find out that, say, 40% of their customers don’t like a particular product or service, but the company doesn’t know why. Video feedback can really help them understand the reasons behind it."

Roundtable participants discuss how brands can use video feedback in an effective way