Setting out to build a Voice of the Customer (VoC) programme sounds like a simple task, but with most businesses interacting with their customers through multiple channels, and customer expectations rising in most industries, you need to take a strategic approach to deliver business change and Return on Investment.
If you get it right, you’ll:
- increase revenue through reduced churn,
- improved cross-sell and attract new customers
- reduce costs by improving processes and creating greater consistency
- drive cross-functional change and enhance organisational culture.
Get it wrong and you’ll:
- alienate customers by failing to take action based on their feedback
- create silos of information which provide limited insight
- fail to interact with customers at key moments of truth
- lose ground to competitors who have planned more effectively.
So, where to begin? There are 6 steps to creating a solid, effective VoC programme.
- 1.Define: Agree clear, phased objectives and success criteria. It is imperative to define the key business issues that you need to address – increasing revenue, decreasing costs through operational improvements, driving culture change – at the outset so that you can build a programme that will influence key business and customer KPIs. Otherwise you run the risk of building a VoC programme that simply languishes in a silo.
Map the customer journey to ensure that you are listening to them at key touchpoints. Identify the key moments of truth so that you have a clear understanding of which interactions bear the most impact on customer experience.
- 2. Design: Ensure that you design the programme to deliver both tactical and strategic benefits, in line with your business objectives.
Decide what channels your customers will find most engaging (web, mobile, telephone, paper, etc.). Decide on the appropriate frequency of interactions and take into account both relationship surveys, which analyse the ongoing health of the relationship (once or twice a year for example), and transactional surveys which are better suited to identifying issues and process improvements at key touchpoints.
- 3. Implement: Use multi-channel data collection to drive high response rates and deliver deeper insight. Identify a solution that will provide a secure and highly scalable way to gather customer feedback, automate alerts, and generate tailored reports that provide stakeholders with live insight.
Make sure you collect information from all sides of your organisation – add VoC data to ERP and CRM platforms as well as employee feedback systems and external benchmarking data – to ensure that you are able to build a holistic, single view of the customer.
- 4. Analyse: Improve business results by analysing data and creating a clear view of the issues and opportunities.
From a tactical perspective, this means using alerts, for example about dissatisfied customers or poorly performing team members to improve problem resolution and retention, or about happy customers to motivate your employees and leverage positive word-of-mouth. A VoC programme can indeed provide a strong opportunity to motivate employees by showing them when their actions have really made a difference to customers.
From a strategic standpoint, aggregate data to identify key drivers from your customers’ point of view to help you to prioritise long term investments that will drive business change in a meaningful way. This is the best way to find out what your most important customers really care about.
- 5. Act: Closing the loop at the individual level with your customers is crucial to the success of your VoC programme. It allows you to deliver some quick wins, and is often easily linked to short-term financial benefits. Set up a robust and actionable alerting system that empowers your employees.
In parallel you need to build the foundations that will deliver long-term results: powerful, tailored reports that give insights on a larger scale, about where to invest, what to fix – in short what you need to know about your most profitable opportunities. Everyone in your organisation, from the CEO to the frontline agent, has a role to play in improving customer experience but this is only possible if they have access to actionable information, at the right time, using the right channels.
- 6. Review: It’s vital that you review your goals and revise them to keep driving your company forward. Be prepared to examine all aspects of this programme on a regular basis to seek continuous improvements, re-focus on new issues as they arise and adjust your business priorities along the way.
Setting up a VoC programme can be a daunting task, but there’s no need to do everything at once. The ultimate proof point of a VoC programme is change, so plan carefully, implement in stages and make sure that you change your company to the benefit of your customers.