Another week, another wave. This week it’s enterprise feedback management (EFM) software, as evaluated by Forrester. Gathering feedback isn’t always easy, whether it be from customers or employees. Ultimately, however, feedback serves to drive customer-centric decisions, so it’s particularly essential that an effective system be in place.
Evaluating Enterprise Feedback Management
Currently, the EFM marketplace isn’t as comprehensive as others because technologies are still evolving and mostly smaller vendors populate it. In their evaluation, Forrester found more than 26 vendors offering software and services to support clients’ Voice of Customer (VOC) programs. Of them, all but two generated US$ 30 million or less in revenue from EFM technologies and services in 2010, and none demonstrated clear market leadership.
Within those vendors, Forrester grouped them into three major segments
- satisfaction and loyalty solution providers
- market insight platform providers
- self-service tool providers
While these categories may have helped Forrester evaluate vendors’ areas of focus, whether in operational improvement, market research, or do-it-yourself data collection, they have no definitive boundaries, and vendors commonly compete outside their segments.
EFM + Customer Experience
Because of this, or maybe in spite of this, Forrester decided to focus on vendors that serve the needs of customer experience professionals, who, after all, work to support VoC processes in an effort to improve satisfaction and loyalty. The top six vendors of this category (Allegiance, Empathica, MarketTools, Medallia, Mindshare Technologies and Satmetrix) were evaluated and ranked accordingly based on 75 criteria, which were grouped into three high-level buckets: Current offering, strategy and market presence.
In the end, Forrester highlighted Medallia and MarketTools as leaders of the EFM pack because of their comprehensive solutions for managing complex VoC programs. The remaining four vendors -- Satmetrix, Allegiance, Mindshare Technologies and Empathica -- were deemed as Strong Performers but displayed more varied strengths.
EFM + Market Insights
For market insights professionals, these vendors also serve to provide customer satisfaction and loyalty research, but only in a much broader sense as compared to their customer experience professionals, who are employing solutions focused on driving continuous operational improvements.
Based on a 76-point criteria, which were grouped into three high-level buckets -- current offering, strategy, and market presence -- Forrester evaluated five EFM market insights platform providers: Confirmit; Globalpark, a QuestBack company; IBM SPSS; Vision Critical and Vovici, a Verint Systems company.
In this instance, IBM SPSS, Globalpark, and Confirmit lead the pack, noted especially for the different ways in which they collect feedback, integrate data and survey programming. For the remaining vendors, Vovici and Vision Critical were noted for their evaluation processes, but lacked in key areas like data integration and analytics.
The Future of EFM
But Forrester’s report isn’t so much about who’s leading the EFM charge, but rather that there’s an EFM charge to lead. While we’ve been talking about the many ways companies can begin to collect feedback from their customers in an effort to improve site usability and bottom lines, we’ve not called it by its new name: Enterprise feedback management. The fact that it’s now worth tracking not only the tools available, but those providing the tools, speaks to the importance of customer experience management.