How has the brand-customer relationship transformed over the years?

By: Susan Ganeshan

October 15, 2014

Brand-Customer relationship

recently had the opportunity to speak with Scott Robbin, Director at Argyle Executive Forum, about the unique characteristics of today’s customer and how CMOs can engage with the modern consumer to deliver an excellent customer experience.

Below is a snippet of the conversation I had with Scott. The full interview can be viewed here.

Scott Robbin, Argyle Executive Forum: Let’s discuss the modern customer and what they expect from the brands they interact with. How has the brand-customer relationship transformed in recent years?

Susan Ganeshan, Clarabridge: Customers expect to talk in any channel, directly to you, on social media, on review sites, to your partners – and they expect to be heard. And now, they expect complete follow up with a closed-loop experience. The past three years has led us to the advent of “social customer care” where someone uses Twitter, Facebook or other review sites to either praise or complain about your brand. They expect follow up. When you give them that follow up, great things happen. You can make happy customers happier – “Hey United Airlines tweeted back at me, how cool?!” and you can turn unhappy customers into advocates – “Well they refunded my credit card, that was a classy thing to do.”

What are some of the top challenges that marketers are encountering with regards to tracking and understanding their customers’ feedback?

There are four primary challenges to understanding the feedback.

First, you have to find it, because it sits all over your organization (in the call center, in email, in live chat, just to name a few) and it sits all over the web (on Twitter, Facebook, Trip Advisor, Yelp, and even on sites like

Once you find it, you have to understand it. The fact is 95 percent of customer feedback is unstructured text- or voice-based. Even surveys that compile structured data only account for a small percentage of all the feedback. To understand the written or spoken word, you have to break it down to its smaller parts and then put it into the right categories and buckets to understand it alongside all the other data.

When you can build it back up into trends for a complete picture, the next challenge is to prioritize it. Should you make a change to your pricing on one product right away or should you overhaul the whole program? These are hard choices. You have to marry what you learn about the customer experience with your overall corporate KPIs to determine the next best course of action.

Finally, you have to continually evolve. Tomorrow the next Twitter will pop up or customers will start talking in a new way. In the “Age of the Customer,” you have to follow them as they traverse an ever-changing customer journey.

The full interview, including key takeaways for CMOs, can be found on the Argyle Journal here.