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About this Author
Britton Manasco specializes in customer-focused initiatives that build business credibility and strengthen sales growth. His articles have appeared in Harvard Business Review; The New York Times; Sales and Marketing Management; CIO Magazine; 1to1 Magazine; and many other media outlets.
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This boundary spanning Industry Insider is designed to explore and assess how enterprises are capitalizing on customer insight to build powerful, profitable and enduring relationships. Customer Intelligence reveals the compelling strategies and practices behind today’s success stories – and provides a dynamic forum where thought leaders, business innovators and customer-focused executives can identify valuable opportunities. Drawing on the perspectives and experiences of leading lights in the customer intelligence community, we demonstrate how intelligent analysis and action is setting the stage for the next economy. Also, see our launch statement.
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

Customer Intelligence

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March 27, 2006

The Voice of Truth

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Posted by Britton

Marketers have learned one very important thing in recent years. What's that? Well, that buyers are liars. More to the point, buyers can't tell you the truth because the truth eludes even them. With this insight, Procter and Gamble turned the Swiffer into a phenomenally popular cleaning item. They didn't ask their customers want they wanted in a cleaning tool; they observed their behavior. right

Well, you don't just have to observe anymore. Now, you can listen. The human voice is more revealing than we ever knew.

That's what wireless services company Nextel has discovered. "A customer can say they’re satisfied with a product," says John Tidwell, director of primary market research for Nextel. "But until now, we’ve had no real way of knowing the truth."

Nextel is using Layered Voice Analysis (LVA) to analyze customerr conversations and derive key marketing insights. LVA leverages mathematical algorithms to assess voice frequencies and identify levels of stress, deception and enthusiasm. The technology, which was developed by the Israeli firm Nemesysco for security uses, promises to make important contributions to the field of customer intelligence.

What Nextel found is that the technology can be used to analyze customer responses to brand extensions and gauge levels of overall product satisfaction. One focus group recently revealed their dissatisfaction with a product through their narratives. "They could not articulate what was making them upset, so they created scenarios to help quantify their feelings," Tidwell says.

Such insights are helping Nextel refine its offerings to strengthen customer relationships. "It’s amazing marketers haven’t gotten into this in a deeper way yet," he says. "But when they do, a lot about marketing and its capacity is going to change."

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COMMENTS

1. Eduardo Bernal on April 20, 2006 12:39 PM writes...

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2. Mary Hunt on May 16, 2006 12:42 PM writes...

Britton - Thanks for pointing out (again) how important it is to listen to the customer. A BIG flag went up for me when I heard woman after woman tell me that when it came to professional services, they would rather work with another woman than a man. (95% of them told me that) Why? Because they trusted women more. They were shifting to brand XX and away from brand XY long before they saw a brochure. I hope someone is listening to that message.

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