The Voice of the Customer × 650 Million/Year at Sony Mobile

We understand that customer feedback can make or break a consumer-facing business. That feedback — whether unsolicited, social-posted opinions, or gained during support interactions, or collected via surveys — captures valuable information about product and service quality issues. Automated analysis is essential. Given data volume and velocity, and the diversity of feedback sources and languages that a global enterprise must deal with, there is no other way to effectively produce insights.

Olle Hagelin, Sony Mobile
Olle Hagelin, Sony Mobile

Consumer and market analytics — and supporting social, text, speech, and sentiment analysis techniques — are subject matter for the LT-Accelerate conference, taking place December 4-5, 2014 in Brussels. We’re very happy that we were able to recruit Olle Hagelin from Sony Mobile as a speaker.

Olle started in the mobile phone business 1993 as a production engineer. He has held many roles as a project and quality manager. He was responsible for the Ericsson Mobile development process and for quality at a company level. Olle is currently quality manager in the Quality & Customer Service organization at Sony Mobile Corporation. Olle is responsible for handling feedback from the field.

Our interview with Olle Hagelin —

Q1: The topic of this Q&A is consumer and market insight. What’s your personal background and your current work role, as they relate to these domains?

Olle Hagelin: My responsibility is to look into all customer interactions to determine Sony Mobile’s biggest issues from the customer’s point of view. We handle around 650 million interactions per year.

Q2: What roles do you see for text and social analyses, as part of comprehensive insight analytics, in understanding and aggregating market voices?

Olle Hagelin: I think text and social analyses can replace most of what is done today.

Everyone’s customer will sooner or later express what they want on the Net. And opinions won’t be colored by your questions. You just put your ear to the ground and listen. You probably want to ask questions too but that will be to get details, to fine tune — not to understand the picture, only to understand what particular shade of green the customer is seeing out of 3,500 shades of green.

Q3: Are there particular tools or methods you favor? How do you ensure business-outcome alignment?

Olle Hagelin: You will always prefer the tool you use/can. For our purposes what we get from Confirmit and the tool Genius is perfect. But again it is to find issues, to mine text to find issues and understand sentiment of issues. If you are a marketing person it may be that other tools that are better.

Business-outcome alignment is a big statement and I don’t try to achieve that. If it comes, nice, but my aim is only to understand customer issues and to ensure that they are fixed as soon as possible. And I suppose the in-the-end result is business-outcome alignment?

Q4: A number of industry analysts and solution providers talk about omni-channel analytics and unified customer experience. Do you have any thoughts to share on working across the variety of interaction channels?

Olle Hagelin: Yes. Do it. I do. Sorry. Politically correct: Sony Mobile does and has since 2010. All repairs, all contact center interactions, and as much social as possible. As said above, we handle around 650 million interactions per year.

Q5: To what extent does your work involve sentiment and subjective information?

Olle Hagelin: A lot although it could be more. Especially to determine which issues hurt the customer most. Identifying the biggest, most costly issues etc. is easy, but to add on pain-point discovery would be good.

Sentiment/subjective analyses are used frequently to look into specific areas but not as part of the standard daily deliverable. Hopefully everyday will be in place in a year or two.

Q6: How do you recommend dealing with high-volume, high-velocity, diverse data — to ensure that analyses draw on the most complete and relevant data available and deliver the most accurate results possible?

Olle Hagelin: This can be discussed for days. But in short: Look at what you have and start from that. Build up piece-by-piece. Don’t attempt a big do-it-all system because it will never work and always be outdated. If you know only one part well — say handling either structured data or unstructured data — don’t try yourself to take a big bite of the other part, the part you don’t know well. Instead, buy help and learn slowly.

Sony Mobile works to split the data up into structured and unstructured parts. We work with them separately to identify issues first and then compare. We know structured data well and got very good support and help with the unstructured part. After four years we can do a lot ourselves, but without support from Confirmit with the hard unchewed mass of unstructured data — Confirmit handles text in the language it is written in (no translations) — we wouldn’t be able manage.

The end result is to make it quick and easy to get to the point.

After working with this data many years, we now have a good understanding of what issues that will be seen in all systems and which will not.

Q7: Could you provide an example (or two) that illustrates really well what your organization and clients have been able to accomplish via analytics, that demonstrate strong ROI?

Olle Hagelin: Two cases that we fixed quickly recently —

First is an issue when answering a call. The call always went to speaker mood. We identified the problem and it was fixed by Google within two weeks — it was an issue in Chrome.

Another one was several years ago: A discussion about a small and in-principle invisible crack in the front of a phone stopped sales in Germany. After we issued a statement that the problem is covered by warranty and will be fixed within warranty coverage, sales started again. It turned out almost no one wanted a fix! As I said, you had to look for the crack to see it.

I have many more examples, but I think for daily work, the possibility of quick-checking social to see whether an issue has spread or not has been the most valuable contributor. And that ability keeps head count down.

Q8: You’ll be presenting at LT-Accelerate. What will you be covering?

Olle Hagelin: I’ll show how Sony Mobile uses social and also text mining of CRM data to quickly identify issues, and how we get an understanding of how big they are with complementing structured data.

Added to this, the verbatim from customers can be used as feedback to engineers so they can reproduce issues in order to fix them.

My thanks to Olle. Please consider joining us at LT-Accelerate in Brussels to hear more!

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