ICXA Finalists Spotlight: Airbnb and Voxpopme

Thomas FairbairnNovember 20, 20197min0

 Last November, finalists from 31 different countries gathered in Amsterdam to compete for the International Customer Experience Awards. 

In the run-up to the event, I had the opportunity to catch up with Jon Carbone from Voxpopme and Raj Sivasubramanian from Airbnb. Their two organisations are entering the Awards together, in the Customer Insight & Feedback category, and they’ll be presenting the results of their customer feedback video initiative. 

Airbnb has been Voxpopme’s client since last autumn. Starting in a pilot capacity, they introduced video capture functionality within Airbnb’s global customer post-transactional survey. 

Raj explains that this was “one of the first big projects that I had responsibility for [at Airbnb]. We learned a lot as we went through the pilot: how receptive customers would be to the idea of video, how long the videos would be, what types of topics. With the team’s help, we were able to have an immediate impact. We shared videos broadly and were able to use some of them to resolve poor experiences and actually make things right for customers. Videos influenced policy changes as well. The early impact has helped convince stakeholders that we need to do this on a larger scale and enabled our current trajectory.” 

Since the use of videos has helped Airbnb understand their customers on a more profound level, the pilot soon turned into a full-fledged partnership. “The big thing for us,” Raj says, “is the emotional element and the empathy that video creates. Before video, a lot of our insights were quantitative and driven by survey scores. This was still useful, but it wasn’t driving action in the way that video does. When you pair a video response with an insight – say ‘hey, here’s something that’s driving NPS down in this particular region and here’s the customer telling you about it,’ you have an emotional reaction and you want to help the customer. When you show that to someone who’s responsible for creating a policy, that can drive people to act in a more powerful way than just a text response.”

To get the most out of each video, Voxpopme transcribes the audio alongside the visuals, and uses text analytics to determine certain trends. Jon adds that “we can pass through whatever custom variables Airbnb wants into our platform, so they’re easily able to slice and dice the data and build those compelling showreels.” These showreels can be constructed around precise variables, as Jon explains: “you could say ‘show me all females that are millennials that left a score of 4 or less.’ And it will show those mentions and isolate the actual clips. Or let’s say you wanted to drill down into an identified theme, ‘super host’ for example, and see all responses with positive sentiment talking about that theme. It could isolate those clips and pull out those mentions in the videos.” 

Though the project is still in a relatively early phase, Airbnb has been seeing improvements in their CX already. “I think one of the big ones is our service recovery efforts,” says Raj. “We’ve put a programme in place where we have a team of specialists that follow up with people who left negative videos, and we’re tracking customer saves that way. What we found is that with some percentage of detractors, about 20% overall, there’s an issue that’s easily fixable that the videos are surfacing. Some of this stuff was happening before video, but the video is really bringing it to light. Again, because customers are leaving a video, we feel a need to follow up.” 

Both Jon and Raj are excited to share their findings with the judges in Amsterdam on Thursday, and their presentation will include examples of customer feedback videos. “What makes video so great internally will also translate to this presentation, because people see customers talking about their experiences and you see how we resolve those issues. That can be powerful.” 

 When it comes to the Awards, it’s crucial that companies across the world can compete with one another and exchange ideas to drive the industry forward. As Jon explains, “CX work is limited resources, crossing aisles and internal selling. I think an international level of recognition is really important. We couldn’t be looking more forward to it!” 

This is certainly going to be an exciting presentation to watch. I’d like to wish Airbnb and Voxpopme the best of luck on Thursday!

The International Customer Experience Awards will be held on 19th November 2020 – enter now!

For more customer experience stories from Awards International, click here. 

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Thomas Fairbairn

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