How to Capitalize on EFM

Remember the “Travel Agent?” How about the “Personal Tax Accountant”? These professionals were once necessary to book a flight or get the most out of your tax return. Now online tools have replaced both. My dad hired a lawyer to draft his will. I’ll go to Best Buy when I’m ready to do the same.  Do-it-yourself is the hallmark of today’s post-post-modern culture. We book our own vacations, file our own taxes, and draft our own wills. It’s easier, cheaper, and faster.

Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) is the BookingBuddy, TurboTax, or WillMaker of loyalty research. You do it yourself, get results fast, and at a fraction of the cost. You can draft, program, test, and revise a survey all in the same process. You can view the data in real time, which means you can formulate strategy and begin taking action before fielding even closes – if it ever closes. With EFM, you can engage with customers and clients through a steady stream of data that you see as soon as respondents hit “Next” on their survey screen. Whereas traditional loyalty research gives you history (by telling you what happened last quarter), EFM gives you the present, which makes planning for the future potentially less murky.

Report writing is also do-it-yourself. EFM tools create charts, graphs, and tables instantaneously, compiling them and spitting them out into full presentations at the click of a button. EFM platforms also offer more sophisticated analytics tools, making driver analysis, content analysis, and data mining about as challenging as pointing and clicking. Business is fast-paced these days. Money is harder to part with. And hands-on is simply what we’re into. Why not use EFM?

EFM tools may have the horsepower of a Formula-1 race car. They make it easy for anyone to gather and chart data. But loyalty research is driven by a need to solve problems, and problem solving requires a special sort of expertise. A trained loyalty expert can drive EFM like a skilled race car driver – writing surveys with foresight into analytics relevant to your specific business. A trained research team can manage operational problems if they arise (too little sample? unequal sample across quota groups?). And trained loyalty experts can domesticate data to see nuggets of insight. They can identify compelling strategies hidden in analysis results. They can tell the story of how to solve your company’s customer loyalty and indeed business problems. And ultimately, this is really the point of using customer feedback.

I generally use an online tool to file my taxes. Last year, I asked an accountant friend to file my taxes using the same tool. What the online tool couldn’t do by itself was see into my life, my plans, my hopes and dreams, and suggest ways I could think ahead to align my goals with strategies to increase my yearly refunds. I’ll continue to use that online filing tool, but I’d be remiss not to seek my friend’s advice every year.

EFM may be the future of customer feedback. Getting the most out of it requires good old-fashioned loyalty experts. You may want to drive that Ferrari. But if you wanted to win a big race, wouldn’t it be better to ride shotgun with a Formula-1 driver behind the wheel?