CASE STUDY

Belron®  Leverages Sentiment Analysis to Improve the User Experience, Maintain a Sky-High NPS Score

Improving the Customer Experience is Crucial for Belron

Among the world’s top-ranked companies in the automobile windshield repair business, Belron values what their users have to say. This company looks to Qualaroo to help collect and analyze the user feedback that’s crucial to improving their customer experience. 

Residents of the United States recognize Belron’s Safelite®  brand, while those in the UK know them as Autoglass®  and this in Europe as Carglass® . No matter where you are, that familiar jingle, “Safelite repair, Safelite replace” is the same throughout the world, adapted for the local context and language. It’s a tune that quickly comes to mind when a person ends up with a cracked windshield and a wrecked day.

“Every customer that comes to us must have the best, easiest experience that they can possibly have. The only way that we can continually provide that experience is by understanding and internalizing what previous customers have told us.” -Jamie Carter, Voice of the Customer Manager

“The products that Belron sells are what I call ‘grudge’ purchases. Nobody wakes up and says, ‘I just wonder how much it would cost to get my windshield replaced,’” Stephen Payne, Customer Journey Improvement Manager at Belron, said. “You only come to one of our companies if you have damage and need it fixed immediately.”

In other industries, companies have to pique the interest of web visitors and ‘follow them’ around with retargeting ads in the hopes of encouraging an eventual sale from qualified buyers. But visitors to Belron’s sites have already qualified themselves—odds are they need their windshield (or “windscreen” if you’re in the UK) fixed.

This presents an interesting opportunity for user researchers at Belron: how can their website demonstrate their world-class service and be optimized to convert customers who need to make a purchase right away?

The answer is gathering, processing and acting on customer feedback. 

“Fortunately, you don’t break your windshield often—it’s a once-in-a-blue-moon experience. But as a customer, you come to us frustrated with the need to speak and be understood,” said Jamie Carter, Voice of the Customer Manager at Belron. “Every customer that comes to us must have the best, easiest experience that they can possibly have. The only way that we can continually provide that experience is by understanding and internalizing what previous customers have told us.” 

We sat down with Payne and Carter to discuss the importance of user feedback and the kind of feedback they focus on at Belron. Among the topics we covered: 

  • The importance of analyzing customer’s verbatim responses
  • Why NPS is a valuable number but just a piece of the pie 
  • The importance of learning from shoppers who never become customers

Analyzing Open-Ended Responses with Qualaroo’s Sentiment Analysis with IBM Watson Integration

While survey data can be helpful, Carter believes that open-ended responses from users hold richer insights. But just as we’ve heard from other user experience researchers, the Belron team found combing through the responses cumbersome. If you’re trying to manually analyze open-ended responses, extracting insights in a scalable way is pretty time-consuming.

“The only way that we can continually provide [the easiest possible] experience is by understanding and internalizing what previous customers have told us.” -Jamie Carter, Voice of the Customer Manager

“Prior to Qualaroo, I didn’t have an easy way to look at qualitative feedback from our customers,” recalled Carter. “I literally had to read each [user’s response] case-by-case.”

That was until he took advantage of Qualaroo’s Sentiment Analysis integration powered by IBM Watson. 

Using the integration, the team was able to rapidly sift through customers’ free-form responses and identify which ones warranted further investigation. Additionally, the team used Qualaroo’s reporting features to quickly identify keywords in responses from both detractors and promoters alike.

“Using sentiment analysis with Qualaroo,” Carter said, “it took no time to view themes and patterns from customer responses. Fantastic!” 

And for Carter, the best part of the Qualaroo’s Sentiment Analysis integration was how simple it was to implement—see for yourself in this guide to getting started with the integration.

NPS Data Is Valuable, But You Have to Dig Deeper

Sentiment Analysis isn’t the only reason Belron uses Qualaroo. The team leverages Qualaroo to maintain their stellar score of over 80. That score is important of course, but to Payne, it doesn’t tell the entire story.

“Belron is blessed with some incredible frontline troops. Our technicians, the people in our stores, are consummate professionals,” offered Payne. “And when our customers interact with them and experience their kindness, that last touch point for the consumer is invariably great. That amazing experience is what the customer remembers and I believe what impacts the NPS the most.”

Payne went on to say that while having such a high NPS is fantastic, it does present challenges when trying to determine if there were issues along the way. By the time Belron has solved a customer’s problem and a new windshield is in place, they tend to have forgotten whatever problems they may have encountered earlier. 

Psychologists have termed this phenomenon the “recency effect,” because people tend to recall the last thing they experienced the best and this can influence their overall impression of an event. As Payne put it, “The customer still ultimately reaches the end of the journey, but they’re not going to remember to tell us about any issues [earlier on in their journey] because they’re happy with the end result.”

“Qualaroo allows us to look at where the red flags are at the beginning and middle of the process, where we may get a lot of bounces. Surveying customers allows us to understand why they may be experiencing an issue, which in turn allows us to be more surgical in our approach to improve the process.” -Stephen Payne, Customer Journey Team Manager

To overcome the recency effect, Payne and his team ask customers questions throughout the process of booking a technician. These surveys can yield valuable customer insights in the moment, things that may be forgotten or overlooked by the time they drive off.

“Qualaroo allows us to look at where the red flags are at the beginning and middle of the process, where we may get a lot of bounces,” Payne said. “Surveying customers allows us to understand why they may be experiencing an issue, which in turn allows us to be more surgical in our approach to improve the process.” 

Learning from Those Who Leave

One audience that Payne wanted to learn from the most was the set of customers who came to the Belron site and left without taking action. Of course, it’s hard to imagine anyone browsing a windshield repair website for fun, so Payne believes these visitors most likely have a windshield that needs fixing. Thus it’s incredibly frustrating for this customer journey professional when visitors bounce. 

“Why would anyone bounce? It makes no sense to us,” Payne said, getting more animated as he talked. “They have a problem that they need to get fixed. So why bounce? We won’t get the answer ourselves because we believe in the company, so therefore every piece of insight is invaluable.”

To help solve this problem, the Belron team uses Qualaroo’s exit-intent functionality. As a visitor is leaving the site, the company can immediately poll them to learn why Belron couldn’t address their needs. A lost customer is not a total loss if they can provide information Belron needs to improve. 

“We’ve got to hear from the person who’s never had a windshield done before, who’s come to our website for the first time. That’s the person I want to hear from,” Payne said. “What have we not made clear to them? We won’t find the solution from sitting around the boardroom.”

Furthermore, the Belron team is able to pair up the feedback from these lost customers with other data they’ve gathered, such as demographics like gender and age as well vehicle make and model, to uncover trends. 

“The GA integration allows us to join A/B testing variations to customer feedback.  When running larger A/B tests we will look at the feedback by test variation to discover any points of friction the customer may be experiencing with new features or functionality.  It also works well with our session capturing tool as we can view the session of responses from Qualaroo surveys to better understand the customers experience.” -Tim Simeone, Senior Customer Experience Manager

For one page on Belron’s site, exit-intent data has even challenged a major assumption: that there was a single customer journey. Based on the user research they conducted, the Belron team was able to identify three distinct user segments and experiences.

This realization helped Belron’s customer journey team to think beyond just modifying the website and to propose larger changes to both offline and online processes. One type of visitor to the page did not, in fact, need the services that Belron offers, but the company wanted to provide information that would help them solve their problem elsewhere. While that customer might not need Belron today, they’ll leave with a positive impression that could lead them back in the future.

“Qualaroo helped us realize that the majority of people that landed on this particular page were not who we thought they were at all,” Carter said. “That story of how Qualaroo has helped enlighten us is actually quite powerful.”

Better Answers Are Within Easy Reach 

Belron provides one of the most real-world, need-it-now kind of service there is, which means providing a solid customer experience is crucial. So the Belron team particularly appreciates the ease with which they were able to set up Qualaroo’s tools and start collecting information that yielded tangible benefits right away—without inconveniencing their users. Carter said, “There’s no kind of code or script you have to write, there’s no kind of user setup, and the text and sentiment analysis tool is very good. Qualaroo’s simplicity makes it a win.” 

Want to learn more about how Qualaroo can help your business gather and interpret customer feedback? Book a demo now.