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January 21, 2013 | Tom Ballard

Infographics, Voices Heard Media partner on new service offering

The New Year brings some exciting news from two companies located in Knoxville’s Cherokee Mills Building, which also happens to be the home base for

The two companies are Infographics and Voices Heard Media, both profiled during 2012 in separate posts. They have combined their expertise – Infographics in “Do It Yourself” (DIY) instructional materials development and Voices Heard in user engagement strategies – to provide enhanced services to manufacturers, retailers and consumers.

We recently caught-up with Rob Eddy, Infographics Vice President, who described the collaboration as taking “their (Voices Heard Media) mobile applications expertise and improve the customer experience with instructions” that is Infographics core business.

The secret sauce is the strategic incorporation of QR code readers to help the consumer at the point of purchase and during installation of a product, while also collecting and providing valuable data to the manufacturer and retailer on customer problems.

Eddy said that printed instructions used to include URLs to access additional online information about a product – how to install it, how to troubleshoot a problem, etc.

“Mobile platforms have changed that,” he explained, adding that manufacturers now insert QR codes in key places throughout the instructions. The installer simply captures the QR code on a mobile device – tablet or phone – and is able to quickly access a video or other information without leaving the installation site.

“This allows us to change an island experience (for the consumer) into an interactive experience,” Eddy said, defining an island experience as by yourself. “We are able to engage the consumer at a level not possible before.”

Voices Heard Media is developing the “widgets” that allow consumers to access videos, customer forums and even product registration sites from their mobile device, but it is also doing much more. The six-year old company cut its teeth on the use of social media, coupled with customized software, as tools to capture, synthesize and report consumer information. Voices Heard is applying this expertise to capture and provide strategic information to product manufacturers and retailers.

Eddy explained that “it is really important for manufacturers to know who is using their products and how.” With the enhanced tool that Infographics and Voices Heard are launching, “we can tell the manufacturer if there is a problem with the (product) design or instructions” at an early stage, Eddy added.

Voices Heard is also creating customized dashboards to present the data is ways most appropriate to the clients.

“This is really a way to take what we do and what they do, combine it and provide a valuable capability for manufacturers,” said Will Overstreet, Chief Executive Officer of Voices Heard Media.

Eddy noted that the Pugh Research Center reported that 52 percent of customers used cell phones while shopping during the 2011 holiday season. Armed with this data point, the companies are also exploring adding QR codes to the exterior product packaging so that consumers can access videos to fully understand the installation complexity before purchasing.

“It’s all part of our consumer experience focus,” Eddy said.

Lest one think that Eddy is not passionate about the topic, he expects to have an article on the topic published soon in a national journal. In the latest draft, he says there are three reasons that companies should invest in better instructions:

  • Improving customer satisfaction;
  • Reducing product returns; and
  • Responding effectively to the new phenomenon where customers do their own research, including reading postings about products, before they purchase.