Building a world class voice of customer program
We live in a customer-centric world, where buyers are inundated with choices. Being customer focused is no longer merely a smart strategy; it is a realistic acknowledgement of the nature of the market itself. Therefore, having a Voice of Customer program, analyzing customer feedback and being responsive to it are key operational advantages for any business to secure.
A meticulously planned and well executed Voice of Customer program can help focus the strategy and internal processes of an organization. The Temkin Group’s “State of Voice of Customer Programs 2017” report provides some interesting insights (1), which confirm the overall efficacy of this strategy. The study found that an overwhelming 74% of participating businesses considered their VoC programs somewhat to very successful. However, the same study also found that businesses were better at obtaining customer feedback (60%) than making changes based on the insights gained (24%).
Many organizations have achieved significant gains from their VoC programs
Companies with the most effective VoC programs report gains in market share, profits and customer retention. Below are a few examples of how companies across a diverse array of industries succeeded by acting on the insights they generated.
- By listening to customer requests to make their breakfast menu available all day, McDonald’s USA delivered an increase in sales of 5.7% in the final quarter of 2016. This was up from analyst’s predictions of 2.7% before the announcement (2).
- According to a Forrester Research report, American direct broadcast satellite service provider DirecTV saved $34 million annually. This was achieved as a result of reorganizing their field services based on responses gathered through their VoC program (3).
- The Aberdeen Group reports 55% higher customer retention rates, an average 23% decrease in customer service costs and 292% greater employee engagement rates, among best-in-class VoC users (4).
Going about building a successful voice of customer program
A VoC program needs to be embraced as a continuous project, which reflects and influences, the culture of the business. For that reason, it needs to be conceived with clarity of purpose and with buy-in from all key stakeholders. Here are a few tips on how you can get started with building a successful Voice of Customer program:
- A VoC program should proceed from clearly defined objectives. Typical desired outcomes can range from customer retention and loyalty, to more focused services. Each goal needs to be mapped onto specific actionable tasks – to which feedback can be linked effectively.
- A VoC program should reflect the culture and brand identity of the business. Both, the outward facing engagement of the program with customers, as well as the way in which it is integrated with internal processes.
- Integration is a key concept in building a world class VoC program. Businesses with mature VoC programs tend to develop a co-operation across departments and an integration of the program across systems and processes. Most importantly, this should also take into account the integration of VOC data with CRM and operational data.
- Empathy is an under appreciated aspect of successful VoC programs. Enterprises need to set aside mechanistic reliance on index scores alone. The business should strive to incorporate the mindset of its customers and genuinely attempt to put itself in their shoes.
Truly effective and world class VoC programs aim to optimize businesses, enhance customer engagement and drive change. Furthermore, the best Voice of Customer programs redefine policy, processes and strategy across all aspects of the business. These programs go beyond addressing individual concerns and drive improvements that the entire customer base can embrace. Ultimately, creating a successful VoC program requires constant customer engagement and the ability to contextualize this data based on the customer’s perspective. But most importantly, VoC programs need the commitment and participation of the entire organization.
At Kanari, we are all about powering voice of customer programs . Our innovative customer experience management solutions provide a reliable, flexible, and scalable platform to help your company create better customer relationships. Contact a member of our team to schedule your customer experience management consultation.