Throughout the years, I’ve helped clients work through data integrations of many forms. The common goal in all situations is to help clients enhance the way they use their data and make it not only more efficient to collect and analyze but more actionable to drive important business decisions. Today, I’d like to take this opportunity to talk specifically to integrations I have been working on in the Voice of Customer (VOC) space.
Stratigent has performed several integrations with leading VOC vendors including OpinionLab and ForeSee Results. OpinionLab is the"[+]"icon that you see on many sites today, which provides page-level, visitor feedback. ForeSee Results is the survey vendor that takes a different approach by leveraging the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) to provide valuable data about the user experience. I am going to focus this month’s newsletter on integrating OpinionLab into your analytics (behavioral) data. Soon to follow, we’ll take a similar look at ForeSee Results.
The vendors in the analytics space have made quite an investment of time and money to provide you with options for getting data into and out of their systems. While it’s not always logical to integrate every piece of data with your analytics data, we’ve found that integrating VOC data is a ‘no-brainer’. Whether you are leveraging your analytics data to discover problem areas on your site, reporting on marketing statistics, or driving a testing and optimization program, combining feedback from your visitors will add immense value and efficiency to your results and marketing goals. If you notice that people aren’t getting to a key process on your site, wouldn’t it be great to see feedback on your landing pages to help put things in perspective? In a world of increasing demands and a lack of resources, marketers need to empower themselves with a more complete dataset for faster and better decision making.
The beauty of integrating your OpinionLab data with your analytics solution is that the process takes days, not months. While some vendors provide plug-ins for VOC integration, we’ve found that the best and most flexible approach in this case is to tag the comment card. At a high level, when a visitor opens a comment card to provide feedback and clicks submit, he or she is presented with a custom ‘Thank You’ page. That ‘Thank You’ page contains the page tag for the vendor of your choosing, which sends the responses into your analytics solution. When this happens, the comment card in essence becomes an extension of your site. From a development standpoint, the entire integration happens on the OpinionLab side, which keeps you free from internal development processes and allows you to make changes quickly as your requirements and comment cards change over time.
The longest part of the integration process is the design phase rather than the development side of the project. There are a few key questions that need to be addressed during the integration process:
What questions and/or comments do we want to integrate into our analytics data?
This question is designed to assist business stakeholders in thinking about what data is valuable to them. The last thing you want to do is throw a bunch of additional data into your analytics platform without any rhyme or reason. Decide what data is actionable, and only bring that in. As I mentioned, making changes to your VOC data collection down the road as your requirements change is not a complicated process because of OpinionLab’s external integration.
How would we like to be able to report on those responses?
This question is the most important to address from a design perspective. The views you’d like to have available and the segmentation and slicing of the data that you’d like to do, determines what variables or types of variables you need to use to store the visitor’s responses within your analytics platform. As an example, your answer to this question could determine if you should use an s.prop or an s.eVar in Omniture SiteCatalyst.
Who is going to own the analysis of this data?
This final question is the most important from a business perspective. You are going to have an incredibly valuable dataset at your fingertips and you need to ensure that you have an action plan to follow to analyze the data. Use it to drive the optimization of your site, and to provide more color around your marketing activities. To put it simply: do something with the data!
There is an incredible amount of ‘low-hanging fruit’ on your site that you might not even be aware of. Once you determine the data you want to collect, how you want to report on that data, and who is going to analyze the data you can bring data together and create the views necessary to shine the spotlight on potential areas of improvement. There is nothing more powerful than direct feedback from your visitors – listen to what your visitors have to say! Combining that with your behavioral data simply adds the ‘Why?’ to your ‘What?’
As an educational reference, I was involved in the VOC integration for Salesforce. Adam Greco, Director of Web Analytics at Salesforce, wrote a great blog post highlighting the reports created and the analysis Salesforce is able to do as a result of this integration. I welcome any and all comments or feedback you may have on this topic and look forward to hearing from you.
Bill Bruno is the CEO - North America, Ebiquity.