Your VOC initiative is about to get underway. You’ll be collecting feedback from your customers, partners, employees, vendors, etc. (I’ll collectively refer to them as “customers” for the purpose of this post.) But don’t forget that VOC is not just about listening to the voice of the customer; it’s also about acting on that voice.
Your customers’ feedback is a gift, and you need to decide what to do with it. I recommend you take it seriously and do something constructive, i.e., preferably, make some improvements!
One of the ways you’ll need to use, or act on, the feedback is to close the loop, which means circling back with your customers after they’ve provided input about your products and services and their experiences. It’s the first step in operationalizing your VOC efforts. It let’s customers know their feedback:
- has been received
- has ended up in the right hands
- is being used to make improvements, and
- has been (is being) acted on (and how)
- you care
- you value their feedback
- you do something with their feedback
- increase future response rates or the likelihood that customers will provide feedback again in the future… because they know it hasn’t been a waste of time, i.e., you are actually using their input to make improvements
- increase their likelihood to recommend, simply because it’s an unexpected delighter; in my experience, when customers respond to surveys, they honestly don’t expect companies to follow up with them, even if they say they will
- Who will you respond to? Every respondent? Just dissatisfied customers?
- What resources do you need to ensure that you can respond to customers in a timely manner?
- Do you have enough people to handle the potential volume?
- Who is going to respond? At what level?
- How will you respond (phone, email, etc.)?
- How do you define “a timely manner?”
- What’s the process workflow going to be?
- Will the response be an acknowledgement of the issue (if negative feedback) with a promise to follow up with a resolution or improvement when corrective action happens?
- Which tools will you need to keep track of the feedback loop?
- Who will coach employees on how to respond appropriately?
- Have you created the right culture within the organization such that employees won’t view this as “more work?”
feedback to improve, and only 5% tell customers what they are doing in
response to what they heard. –Gartner