5 things that can sabotage your Voice of Customer program

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Companies with the best-in-class Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs achieve 10 times higher YOY increase in revenue compared to other firms. Furthermore, they retain 55% more customers, experience an average drop of 23% in YOY customer service expenses, and boast employee engagement rates that are 292% higher.

So, if your Voice of Customer isn’t delivering noteworthy results, then it’s time to take a hard look at what’s going wrong.

Making your VOC program best-in-class isn’t simple, but there are certain things that can be detrimental to it. Things you should ideally avoid doing.

So, we decided to make a list of the 5 main things that can sabotage your Voice of Customer program.

1. No Clear Objective

If you launch a VoC program without a clear objective, you are setting yourself up for failure. Many companies are guilty of this. They believe that just having a VoC program in place means they are customer-centric. Unfortunately, a ton of raw data is useless, especially if it has no purpose.

To avoid this issue, start by defining your customer within the VoC program. Then, you need to understand what problem you believe your customers are attempting to solve. Move on to how your product or service can help them solve their issue.

Once you know who you want to talk to and what issue you need to resolve, you will be better able to define the goal of your program. Defining a clear goal is critical because it will inform how you talk to your customers and what you ask them.

Remember, your customers won’t be willing to spend hours answering a bunch of questions. So, defining a goal will help you get better response rates and raw data that can actually be turned into something useful.

2. Not Getting Everyone on Board

If your organization’s culture is based on competition, with every department trying to outdo each other, your VoC program is heading towards failure.

An effective VoC program requires buy-in from everyone in your organization, from the CEO all the way down to the frontline staff. Not sharing information across departments is not only unproductive, but it can also lead to several missed opportunities. After all, different perspectives lead to different ideas – some of them can be really innovative – that you might have not thought of otherwise.

So, make sure to listen to everyone’s feedback, put it together, organize it and then decide how to apply it to improve the program as well as the end customer experience.

If you’re finding the idea of sharing information across departments worrying, then you need to take a step back and ask yourself what exactly the problem is. It could be anything from the culture to overly complicated processes. Just remember that a truly customer-centric organization will have a culture that puts the customer at the center of everything they do. However, offering a great customer experience starts with engaged employees, so that’s where you should start. Happy employees make for delighted and loyal customers.

3. Not Really Listening to Your Customers

The entire point of a VoC program is to listen effectively to your customers. But that also means talking to them on a regular basis. You can’t make assumptions or you will end up regretting it, regardless of the size of your brand.

If you don’t listen to your customers, you could go off direction. For example, a leading pizza brand decided to insert themselves in a hashtag campaign created as a support network for survivors of domestic abuse. Instead of being sensitive and supportive, they took it as a joke. As you can imagine, it did not go over well with any of their customers.

Of course, if they’d taken a moment to ask their customers what they thought about the idea, this type of disaster wouldn’t have occurred in the first place.

The key is to use a VoC program for what it’s truly meant, namely listening to your customers and taking their feedback on board. Don’t just make promises – which every brand is a genius at doing – but also keep the promises you make.

4. Not Acting on the Feedback You Receive

Talking to customers and not doing anything about it is the recipe for failure for any VOC program. You might not realize it, but customers do pay attention. Especially when you ask them what they want.

If they see that you are wasting their time by collecting their feedback and not doing anything about it, you will end up with a lot of annoyed customers. According to Gartner, 95% of companies collect feedback but don’t tell their customers (or even their staff) how they acted on that feedback.

So, take action on the feedback received, but also let your customers know that you value their input and show them how you used said input.

Remember, when it comes to your customers, you’re competing with many other companies when it comes to their feedback. People have limited time and patience, so if you want your survey to be the one customers fill out, then you need to make it as easy as possible for them, but to also show them they aren’t wasting their time.

5. Treating your VOC Program Like a Market Research Study

Many companies rush in without taking the time to get all their ducks in a row. They just want to be able to say they have a VOC program, without actually considering what it means.

A VOC program should not be like a market research study, i.e. a one-off activity where the report gets dumped in the back office to gather dust.

An effective VoC program should be ongoing, with everyone involved learning from it and then adapting and molding it to get the best possible results. And the more you learn, the more sophisticated your program will become until it reaches the point where it’s effectiveness is self-evident.

Thus, VoC programs shouldn’t be outsourced, but instead be an integral part of the organization with everyone taking ownership. This doesn’t mean you can’t use external help, but you have to own it so that you can adapt it to the needs of your organization. Otherwise, you are wasting your time and resources.

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