How much can you rely on the Voice of the Customer?

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VoC Customer Experience Vendors Are Doing Well

A significant component of Customer Experience improvement is getting access to the voice of the customer. A whole software based industry has sprung up to provide access to that voice; according to The Temkin Group customer experience vendors are doing rather well: A Good Year for Customer Experience Vendors.

How much can you rely on the Voice of the Customer?

Which brings me to a key question: how much can you rely on what the customer tells you? My experience suggests that you have to be careful with how you interpret and use the voice of the customer. Allow me to illustrate using personal examples.



During the course of writing this blog I have expressed feelings and then made claims as to what I was going to do in the future. Did I do what I said I would do? Lets take a look:

So on this sample of one, you can count on the voice of the customer being an accurate guide to customer behaviour (what the customer will do) only one third of the time.

Why have I continued with Sky?

When I wrote what I wrote, I meant it. Yet when it came around to terminating the two contracts I had with Sky I found myself doing something bizarre: I terminated the SkyTV contract yet continued with the Sky Broadband. Why is this bizarre? Because I had a perfect experience with SkyTV. My issue, my upset had been with Sky Broadband. Later I signed up for SkyTV again.

So why have I continued with Sky? Because I made a poor prediction of the future. Specifically:

  • I had not taken into account the fact that pleasing my family and keeping them happy is more important than getting back at Sky and so I ended up subscribing to SkyTV;
  • I had not realised that a part of me would not welcome the task and emotional issues (risk of it going wrong) associated with switching my broadband to a new supplier;
  • That Sky would make me an offer that was so financially attractive that it just made good sense to take it up.

Why have I continued with Ascot Chiropractic Clinic?

First, convenience. I did not switch because it was too inconvenient to visit the Harrsion Clinic: it is out of the way whereas the Ascot Clinic is practically next door.

Second, the hassle involved in switching. The fact is that my chiropractor had been working with me for over six months and had got to know my body, my condition, really well. As such I did not want to have to start all over with a new chiropractor.

Why did I terminate the British Gas Homecare Agreement?

Compare to the Clinic and Sky I found it easy to terminate the British Gas Homecare Agreement. Why? First, the decision was entirely up to me and so I did not have to convince anyone else. Second, it was easy to find a new supplier.



What are the lessons to be learned

The voice of the customer will give you access to what specific customer like about you or do not like about you. It will give you insight into which of your touchpoints, processes, products and services are not working for your customers and how they are falling short. And which are working well and leaving customers delighted.

The voice of the customer is not necessarily a good guide to what specific customers will do in the future. The fact is that we are really poor at predicting what we will do in the future. This has been shown time and again through studies. This is a subject I intend to explore in the future.

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