Ultradent finds better feedback

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Objective: Ultradent Products, a South Jordan, Utah-based manufacturer of tooth whitening, restorative, endodontic and orthodontic products, recognized it needed a quick and efficient way to collect customer feedback

With no budget to spare for IT, Ultradent required an easy-to-install tool to capture the voice of its customers, as well as analyze customer and employee feedback. In addition, the manufacturer wanted a system in a central location so it could respond rapidly to its global clientele needs.

Strategy: After reviewing several solutions, Ultradent selected Allegiance Inc., a provider of enterprise feedback management (EFM) solutions, initially for the purpose of anonymously surveying Ultradent employees.

“We worked with [Ultradent] to develop strategies whereby we can investigate feedback without burdening people by avoiding survey fatigue,” said Chris Cottle, VP-marketing at Allegiance.

Allegiance, also based in South Jordan, Utah, ended up providing a package with three feedback channel installations behind Ultradent Web site’s “Contact us” link: CustomerVoice, EmployeeVoice and SilentWhistle. The first two channels let customers and employees deposit questions, comments and concerns while the latter allows employees to express ethical concerns with the company. All three use Allegiance tools for categorizing and routing suggestions to the relevant people.

“The entire thing is run on Allegiance’s servers, which is why we can say to the customer that if they click the anonymous box, we can’t see their information even if we wanted to,” said Melanie Jones, Ultradent’s e-commerce manager.

“We try with our tools and our training to port [all solicited and unsolicited feedback] together into one platform,” Cottle said, explaining that the feedback channels gave Ultradent a chance to secure long-lasting relations with the customers by sending the comments to the appropriate department for quickest response.

Results: Within the first 12 months of using the CustomerVoice channel, Ultradent was able to increase its collection of feedback by 40% compared to previous years. And because of the higher volume of feedback, the dental product provider increased its revenue by $330,000 in 2007.

“[The feedback] is all trackable and it’s all responded to really quickly, within an hour. … Some of the things take longer to research, a couple of days,” Jones said, pointing out that other methods of collecting feedback, like e-mail, can take up to several weeks.

In February, Ultradent also started using Customer Pulse, which allows the company to pull feedback from their customers through a consistent, 25-question survey.

“It sounds so simple [collecting feedback] but it’s just not done out there and it directly impacts revenue in a big way. … That’s why EF is growing quickly, because companies recognize in a down economy that listening to their customers is a primary way to [increase revenue],” Cottle said.

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