Getting More from Your Voice of the Customer Program

Voice of the Column

Getting More from Your Voice of the Customer Program

By TMCnet Special Guest
Lisa Stockberger, Vice President and Practice Leader at Vanguard Communications Corp.
  |  March 18, 2015

Most large organizations have a voice of the customer program in some form today. The depth, breadth, and success of these programs vary greatly. They range from annual or transactional surveys for current customers, to post-call surveys in contact centers, to formal customer panels and account analysis by sales teams.  Yet many organizations aren’t getting real strategic value from all this data. Here are three tips for getting more out of your voice of the customer program.

Consolidate Programs and Ownership

Often voice of the customer programs start in individual departments to solve specific problems or gain specific insights. The contact center deploys an after call survey to determine whether its reps are serving the customer appropriately. The marketing department looks to analytics out of social media to get an understanding of how the brand is perceived and identify trouble spots in service delivery. Unfortunately, this approach can lead to islands of disconnected data and, in some cases, an unwillingness to share findings.

It’s time to move ownership to the C-suite (e.g., chief customer officer, CEO). With the C-level responsible for the program, the likelihood of a strategic approach is better.  Departmental efforts are more likely to be coordinated, breaking down barriers between departments resulting in more complete data being available to all parts of the organization.

Consolidate Data

Many organizations are data rich but information poor. There is lots of structured data that is easily analyzed and reported on – call detail records, web server logs, point-of -sale data; however, this data provides only part of the picture. Unstructured data like call recordings, Facebook (News - Alert) posts, Twitter feeds, and the like is much richer in content but harder to analyze and report on. Generally it exists on a plethora of platforms – text analytics, social analytics, speech analytics. 

In our omni-channel world, data must be turned into information and actionable insights. Talk to your suppliers and vendors about how to bring the raw data together to provide information the business can act upon.

This is not a trivial exercise. Many organizations struggle to follow customers as they move from channel to channel to execute a transaction. This cross-channel journey and customer comments about it will provide you with rich information. Think long and hard about how you can link cell phone numbers, Twitter (News - Alert) handles, and email addresses to account numbers to better understand the customer journey and frustrations.

Share Results with Employees and Customers

An important and frequently overlooked part of a successful voice of the customer program is sharing the results. The information you garner should result in changes to programs, policies, and channel design. Let customers and employees know that they were heard. People want to know that what they said matters and that you’re doing something about it. If you want to reap the full rewards of a voice of the customer program, link the results of the program to changes you make. 

In the best voice of the customer programs, changes resulting from customer and employee feedback are turned into programs that are rolled out with great fanfare. 

Since the C-suite owns the voice of the customer program, let the message come from there. Lay out the plan for the next year based on the VOC program and provide updates on a quarterly basis to customers and employees alike.

You’ll want to link key voice of the customer metrics like Net Promoter Scores, Overall Satisfaction and for transactional items Customer Effort Score to key financial performance indicators such as revenue and lifetime value by segment to provide a well-rounded picture for internal stakeholders. Take these three steps, and you’ll see significant results in terms of customer satisfaction and employee engagement.

Lisa Stockberger is a vice president and practice leader at Vanguard Communications Corp., a consulting firm specializing in customer experience, self service, contact center processes, change management, operations and technology.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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