CRM Idol 2013 Review: UserVoice

With consumers wanting vendors to pay attention to more than just their wallets, it’s more important than ever to provide great customer support, and more opportunities for them to contribute their feedback on how you can better service them. UserVoice looks to enable companies to provide better service and feedback capabilities at scale in order to improve customer retention efforts.  Through a mix of tools – including helpdesk support, satisfaction surveys, self-service, product feedback and analytics – UserVoice looks to capitalize on having a central location for all of those channels providing an easier path for their customers to build better relationships with their users.  This they feel will help them towards their goal of gathering at least some level of feedback information from 100% of people who use their system. 
UserVoice’s two-pronged approach to improve customer retention starts with helping their clients improve their capabilities to respond to customer requests.    They do this by focusing on improving the agent desktop experience, and the end user self-service experience. 
The agent interface includes a sidebar section they call the Inspector.  The Inspector includes additional information about the customer to add context to the call, including social profile information, latest support activity, link to contact record in CRM (if using the integration) and latest tweets from Twitter.  By providing all this information in the sidebar, UserVoice says it says agents about a minute and twenty seconds if they were to get this information manually.  Also customers can customize to include other information they feel would help agents more efficiently respond to customers.
  Figure 1 - UserVoice main screen  
They also have a gamified approach added with their Leaderboard, a way for agents to see how many replies they’ve given, how many “quick” replies, and how many kudos they’ve received from customers.  Customers give agents kudos by clicking a link in an email.   This is meant to let give agents a little incentive to keep up the great work.
From and end user self-service perspective, UserVoice is focusing on providing a better in-app experience with their Instant Answer functionality.  As an end user starts typing their question into the help box UV starts suggesting relevant knowledgebase articles and feedback posts.  This can be from a web page of a mobile app.  And they provide analytics to see which KB articles and feedback posts are successfully driving resolutions. 
With all the data they’re collecting UserVoice also offers predictive capabilities to suggest to customers when it would help to add agent support to manage higher loads that happen based on historical data.  The idea behind this is that response times seem to drive more positive feedback and more kudos from end users.  So by optimizing agent resources around response times it provides more chances to increase customer retention.
When it comes to obtaining feedback from end users, UserVoice is putting more emphasis on in-app engagement over customer feedback portals.  They continue to provide portals support, but using an in-app experience to ask users for their quick feedback improves the likelihood of getting users to respond.  UserVoice says its SmartVote functionality gets as many as ten times more customers to provide feedback, and also each of those customers tend to provide twice the amount of feedback as those coming through feedback portals.
What also makes the SmartVote approach interesting is that companies can segment the feedback in a number of ways to understand which kinds of customers are voting, and which way they vote, for a much deeper understanding of just how good (or bad) the idea is.  They can segment answers to look at customers providing $100/mo of revenue, or look at answers from those responding on iOS devices for example.  All valuable ways to really dig in and understand how customer segments are providing feedback, and how that may play into decision making going forward.
All in all UserVoice presents a compelling platform for providing companies with tools for responding to customers, and gathering valuable feedback on product development ideas.  They integrate with and SugarCRM (and soon will integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM) to allow sales and marketing teams using CRM with valuable interaction data coming from the UV platform.
They currently have 140,000 UserVoice sites online, and 35,000 agents actively logging into their consoles on a monthly basis.  They also say they are closing in on having one billion monthly impressions of UserVoice widgets spread across websites and mobile devices.
UserVoice has raised roughly $3 million in funding in its five years, and currently employee five people.
With their eyes on scaling support and feedback capabilities to reach 100% of end users to capture at least some portion of their end user voice, the company is focused.  Is that goal really attainable?  Probably not, but it doesn’t hurt to shoot for it, because the more you aim for it the higher the percentage you’ll actually reach will be.  They already have put together and impressive platform, and are planning to improve it to offer even more analytical capabilities to show how this drive for better support and more feedback adds to the bottom line.  They’ll probably have to go for more funding to keep things moving along, but we’re very impressed with what they ‘ve accomplished to date.

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Frank Falcone

12/16/2013 - 23:06

Brilliant use of customer testimonials to tell the UserVoice story. I liked how they incorporated both SMB and Enterprise customers.

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