Crunching Customer Data to Deliver Better Smartphones
Helping a big tech firm turn mountains of customer feedback into product improvements in real time
Enable Motorola to respond more quickly and proactively to product issues and customer needs.
A custom analytics engine that examines customer feedback from across the web and delivers insights to Motorola’s engineering and support teams.
In 2017, IDEO acquired longtime partner Datascope and integrated the company’s data scientists and engineers. Datascope team members aren’t just passionate data scientists; they’re human-centered designers who happen to work with data, as illustrated by successful collaborations like this one:
The second a smartphone debuts, buyers, bloggers, and journalists begin writing comments and reviews—and users start troubleshooting. Motorola Mobility wanted to tap into this river of data, but didn’t have the right tools to collect and respond to it.
We believed we could be more proactive following a smartphone launch. We asked Datascope if it was possible to leverage real-time conversations among users across the web to know immediately when they encountered problems.
Ahmad Shabazz, former senior manager of business operations & strategy, Motorola Mobility
Motorola’s design, engineering, and service teams hoped to identify product problems early, address them quickly through customer support, and ultimately fix them in future releases.
So Datascope built a custom engine that aggregates and analyzes feedback from hundreds of millions of phrases and internet references, drawn from consumer sites, user forums, news coverage, social media feeds, and product reviews. The tool parses key, product-specific information and routes it to the right Motorola teams: hardware, software, connectivity, and interface design, to name a few.
The analytics and visualization engine not only studies product performance in real time, but it also uses algorithms to gauge customers’ emotional reactions: Do they like the phone or hate it? Do they have complaints? Are they recommending it to friends?
Datascope’s tool translates all this data into simplified to-dos that are sent to the correct service and repair staff before user issues can mar a product launch or even the company’s reputation. And as engineers discover more about how a phone performs in the real world, they learn how to avoid making similar mistakes in the future.
The tool proved valuable as soon as it launched in 2012: When Motorola released the RAZR M smartphone, customers had a hard time figuring out how to use wifi and voice features at the same time and lodged complaints online. The engine recognized the pattern of complaints and alerted Motorola's customer support team, which was able to post responses with clear instructions in every relevant forum, turning a potential customer satisfaction problem into a positive interaction.
Motorola continued to use the engine to address issues in later releases of the RAZR M. The advance warning made engineers’ lives easier, while better handsets and software made for a more seamless customer experience. Improvements were also evident in the RAZR M’s well-reviewed next generation, the RAZR MAXX.
This tool lets us keep a pulse on our customers in a way we actually understand and with accuracy we never thought possible.
Based on the tool’s success, Motorola used it to improve the company’s supply chain and product development process. And beginning in 2014, with the Moto 360 smartwatch, Datascope’s analytics engine has been used to gauge performance and public sentiment not just for new smartphones, but for Motorola Mobility’s entire line of products.