Customer Experience Software is a Rapidly Growing Niche

By Gregg Spivack

Director of Client Services, NPI

January 12, 2018

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As a consumer, you’ve probably noticed that companies today are trying to get feedback on customer experiences any way they can, on any device and at any time. Just think about the last time you ordered a meal from a food delivery service, rented a car or booked a hotel room. There’s a good chance you completed a survey or rated your service – whether it was an in-app rating as soon as your experience was complete, via text or an online survey. And it’s not just a B2C thing. Many B2B companies are leveraging the same tactics (and the solutions that support them) to gather the same data from their customers.

Fifteen years ago, providing feedback was a new phenomenon. Since that time, the customer experience software/solution provider space has exploded. What used to be a small group of vendors that dominated the space is now a highly fragmented segment with lots of niche players. It’s a reflection of how diverse the needs are of companies wishing to collect and analyze customer feedback.

Choosing a best-fit solution provider can be a complex endeavor. The partner a company chooses depends on several key factors, including the level of servicing and/or consulting needed, platform capabilities and enhancement roadmap, the sample needed, integration with existing programs, text analytics, price, and the analytical insights that are provided on the data collected. These are all decision criteria that need to be considered.

Some software/solution providers take a DIY approach to collecting customer feedback while others offer higher levels of service and support.  Customer experience vendors like SurveyMonkey, Confirmit, Qualtrics and hundreds more provide the technology for companies to gather feedback on their own with little to no servicing needed. For a more hands-on, consultative approach a vendor like inMoment, Service Management Group, Medallia, Market Force or Clarabridge might be considered.

Once a company has done the due diligence of looking for the right customer experience partner, it’s wise to run a pilot or soft launch to ensure that the solution and supplier can meet the expectations established during the sales cycle, and to limit exposure to a sample set until the solution is proven to work the way you expect.  The pilot focus can be on a business line, a region or a group.

Pricing strategy for customer experience software/solution providers is all over the map. Some charge per response, others charge per location and there are some that charge per user. In order to get an “apples to apples” comparison, ask that all companies price the same way. Most companies do have the flexibility to change their pricing structure for the right deal.

A best practice is to assure that all potential stakeholders have bought into a particular customer experience vendor before deployment – this software and the data it collects typically permeates across different departments and lines of business.