Complete Guide to Implementing a Voice of the Customer Program
At the heart of every successful CX program lies the VoC program, and when they combine, the sky’s the limit. But building a successful VoC can prove to be a challenging task. By following a few proven best practices, you can leverage the power of VoC to enhance your overall customer experience.
Modern consumers are redefining the landscape of how organizations conduct their business operations. Consumers not only want an amazing product or service at a competitive price, but they also demand an amazing customer experience. To keep up with customer expectations, brands continue to recognize the need to invest and improve their Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs to work hand in hand with their enhanced Customer Experience (CX) programs.
One of the most influential aspects of creating an enhanced customer experience is to understand the voice of the customer. Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a set of organizational activities designed to capture, track, analyze, measure, and manage customer feedback and sentiment in relation to your organizational brand, products, and services. By leveraging the power of VoC programs, your organization can stand out against competitors while having a good understanding of your customers’ expectations.
We have created this comprehensive guide to give you a background and explain how a VOC program works to improve your CX. By following these helpful tips and strategies to implement or grow your VOC, you’ll be well on your way to providing your consumers with what they want and need.
Understanding Customer Experience
Now more than ever, organizations understand the necessity of creating an enhanced customer experience. Not only will an enhanced CX drive profitability, but it also creates stronger brand loyalty and therefore a competitive advantage.
Customer experience includes every interaction your customer has with your brand and organization. Across every stage of their journey, these interactions will shape their overall perception of your company. When your company creates a positive customer experience, they will be more likely to use your products and services. Additionally, when a customer has a positive experience, they will be more likely to share their experience with their friends and family. Perhaps most importantly, delivering consistently positive experiences to your customers over time leads to improved brand loyalty and an edge over competition.
According to Forrester Research, “CX leaders grow revenue 5x as fast as laggards.” Whatsmore, the 2016 Aberdeen Group’s study on aligning business operations around the customer found that the top 20% of CX leaders consistently outperform their competitors in many other valuable metrics, to include:
- Increased customer retention
- Increased customer satisfaction rates
- Increased average customer profit margins
- And more
At the foundation of an exceptional CX lies a Voice of the Customer program. Essentially, you can’t have one without the other.
VoC at the Foundation of CX Programs
Voice of the Customer (VoC) describes your customer’s expectations for your products or services, as well as feedback about their experiences with your business. Having gained traction over the past few years, VoC works with tangible data to influence future engagements by capturing and acting on customer feedback. Furthermore, it focuses on consumer needs, expectations, and product improvement to help you enhance your overall customer experience.
VoC programs form one of the foundations for developing a solid, enhanced customer experience. The VoC provides early warnings and direction for organizational success directly from the people who really matter – your customers.
Implementing and developing a successful VoC program can prove to be both a challenging and rewarding experience for your company. From establishing a dedicated CX team and launching a pilot program to securing executive support, aligning business support, and converting data into actionable insights, by following a few proven best practices, you too can leverage the power of VoC to enhance your overall customer experience.
Establish a Dedicated CX Team
The most successful customer experience and voice of the customer programs have a dedicated full-time staff with a clear program manager. Before you launch your VoC program, it’s important to establish a dedicated team to spearhead data collection, analysis, and strategy implementation.
Your CX team should include (at minimum):
- CX Director/Senior Management – responsible for leading and overseeing all activities, to include coordinating with internal teams to create CX strategies (such as specific responsibilities of each team, program objectives, milestones, and deliverables, etc.).
- Customer Program Manager – responsible for interfacing with CX teams to develop trusting relationships with customers to meet project requirements and navigate bottlenecks for successfully implementing CX strategies.
- Data Analyst – responsible for analyzing and disseminating data for tangible results.
- Customer Experience Specialist – a team of employees dedicated to implementing strategies and bundling relationships for an enhanced CX.
Start a VoC Pilot Program
During the early stages of launching a Voice of the Customer program, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all of the moving pieces. Keep it safe and simple by starting with a pilot program focused on an important department within your business. Diving in head first can prove both costly and risky.
In starting with a small niche within your business, you can collect and analyze your data to see what systems you have in place that are working (or not working).
Analyzing VoC data will help your company understand:
- what questions and metrics you need to track to create an enhanced customer experience.
- how engaged your customers are.
- what technologies need to be developed.
- what processes and services are working for your customers.
- what your customers enjoy and dislike about your products and services.
As you develop your pilot program, be sure to clearly state the vision for VoC needs so everyone within the organization can understand the common goal. Start by concentrating on the voice and messaging you’ll use to convey your vision. Be sure your vision statement is simple and straightforward to ensure everyone understands the purpose of your program.
Secure Executive Support
Regardless of their intent, organizational programs require alignment across the entire company marching towards the same vision. Establishing a customer-centric culture starts at the very top. To successfully implement your VoC, you’ll need support from upper management and executives. Without executive-level support, there is a low probability of creating a maximum impact on any customer-centric initiative.
When a CEO takes an active role in gathering relevant data to create actionable insights, their proactive involvement not only leads by example, but also provides a comprehensive perspective for the organization to follow. A recent Economist Intelligence Unit study, released by Genesys, found that active involvement from the CEO in an organizational CX plan resulted in a direct increase in both profitability and consumer loyalty. Leaders set the tone for their teams, so if a leader decides that the customer is important, it sends a very clear message.
Once your program has the backing of senior leaders, the rest of your organization will understand the importance of the program. Subsequently, each workgroup will define and understand which actions are required to bring the program to life.
Align with Business Strategies, Goals, and Objectives
Approximately 60% of VoC practitioners identified a clear ROI from VoC efforts as a significant obstacle to improving the CX efforts. However, data suggests that when you align your CX metrics with business strategies, goals, and objectives you can experience a significant ROI.
Consider the following:
- A recent Aberdeen Group study found that best-in-class VoC programs generate a 10x increase in revenue year on year compared to other programs.
- 73% of consumers say a good experience is key in influencing their brand loyalties.
- Enhanced CX creates loyal customers, and loyal customers are five times more likely to purchase again and four times more likely to refer a friend to their favored brands.
- Businesses with a customer experience mindset experience revenue increases between 4-8% compared to the rest of their industries.
- Companies that focus on CX outperform laggards by nearly 80%.
- 84% of businesses who work towards creating an enhanced CX report an increase in their revenue.
- 73% of companies with above-average customer experience perform better financially than their competitors.
- Companies that earn $1 billion a year will see an average gain of $700 million within three years of investing in customer experience.
Convert Data into Actionable Insights
90% of global executives who use data analytics reported an improved ability to deliver a great customer experience. However, it’s not simply enough to collect data. You need to analyze this data and use it to create actionable insights. This can prove to be easier said than done, as 45% of businesses surveyed listed quantifying data into action as the number one roadblock to successfully implementing a VoC program.
By leveraging the latest innovative technologies, you can transform data into actionable solutions that improve your VoC and CX. In fact , the more data your organization can collect and analyze, the better insights you will gain into your CX. More data equates to enhanced segmentation capabilities, which leads to additional insights and discoveries.
Consider the collecting and integrating your VoC data with other organizational metrics, to gain a “bird’s eye view” of your entire organization:
Connect Feedback Across Data Channels
Organizations often rely on one or two channels to collect, analyze, and optimize their interactions with customers. However, relying on one or two data channels limits the accuracy and depth of consumer insights. When an organization only accesses a few touchpoints of customer experience they gain an incomplete picture of customer preference, behavior, and satisfaction based on their limited data. Essentially, the more data you collect, the more powerful your CX will be.
By leveraging omni-channel feedback technology, an organization can engage with its consumers across multiple data channels. Omni-channel tools also provide an organization with the ability to link customer, market, and employee data together. Essentially, you want your brand to collect customer feedback everywhere your consumers are, so you can build a seamless, enhanced customer experience.
Extend it to also cover Voice of the Employee (VoE)
The most successful listening programs do not only collect feedback from their consumers, but they also collect feedback from their employees. By combining customer experience and employee experiences across multiple data channels, you will gain a full picture of your customer experience from both sides of the fence. This full picture will allow you to determine not only what is happening with your VoC and CX, but also why it is happening.
Understanding this connection will help your company understand the impact of employee engagement on both VoC programs and overall CX.
Employees’ feedback provides insight into three essential areas when it comes to CX, to include:
- Context for customer experiences
- Identification of the processes, policies, and technologies hurdles that enhance and hinder the experience
- Insight into the quality of employees’ experiences
Focus on the Customer
The customer should be top priority for everything you do within your organization. The last thing you want to do is assume you know what your customer wants. In order to stay ahead of the competition and meet your consumers demands, you have to listen to what your customers are saying to your company, brand, goods, and services.
The first step in creating an enhanced CX is to establish a solid VoC. Your VoC program will help you to truly understand what your customer wants is to seek their feedback and leverage the data to create solutions for your CX program.
At Kanari, we are all about powering your voice of the customer program and helping you improve customer experience. 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.