Voice of the Customer (VoC) technology provider Mindshare Technologies has acquired Empathica, a social customer experience management (CEM) solutions provider. The union makes Mindshare the largest VoC provider in the food service and retail industries.
There were a lot of similarities between the companies according to Lonnie Mayne, president of Mindshare, and Mindshare also bring its presence in the contact center space to the table. The combined organization will have a large global market position, as it expects to collect VoC surveys in 125 countries and 32 languages, mainly in the European and North American regions.
The companies are part of an industry that is enjoying healthy gains. According to Mayne, the global market for VoC in combination with CEM in 2012 was $2.6 billion in sales, and is projected to hit $6.6 billion in 2017. Approximately 47 percent of that growth will come from North America, Mayne says.
“There’s a real hunger for customer feedback, and what customers are saying today is ‘If all things are equal for supply and product, how can we differentiate ourselves from the competition?’ Service is a way to do that,” Mayne says. The platform has been set up to listen to customers and respond to them in a simple and elegant way.”
Mindshare works in several environments, such as with social media. The company also has products that invite feedback. One example would be in the food service world, where a customer might be invited to provide insights on a point-of-sale receipt and directed to a Web site or to take a phone survey. Mindshare also has a large presence in the contact center, with outbound dialing capabilities to follow up on customers’ calling experiences.
“At the end of 2013, we will have collected over three million surveys, or what we call reviews,” Mayne says. “People want to give feedback; they have a voice.”
Mayne also sees a departure from simply collecting feedback in a traditional manner, such as asking specific questions. “Customers are saying that there is more that [they] want to tell you,” he says. “We’ve designed products that allow customers to tell more than they would in a structured environment.”
To do this, some Mindshare products include text analytics, allowing a customer to provide open-ended comments, either through the Web or a voice comment. “We run [the comments] through very sophisticated text analytics products that we’ve created, and customers are giving much more back than they’re actually being asked in a survey. This is completely changing the landscape of VoC.”