3 Ideas to Improve Your Voice of the Customer Methodology

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How do you make your Voice of the Customer plan more meaningful?

Four words: More customer, more voice.

Quick Voice of the Customer Overview

You are probably familiar with the term Voice of the Customer, often referred to with the shorthand “VoC.”

The idea behind a true Voice of the Customer program is to consistently, reliably and intentionally gather customer feedback. This feedback is then used consistently, reliably and intentionally to improve the customer experience. Feedback is gathered again to ensure those improvements are working for customers.

Then the whole cycle goes on in a consistent, reliable and intentional way.

There are a few challenges with VoC initiatives, not the least of which is defining what your program will be.

How Voice of the Customer Usually Goes Down

Typically, a VoC program has a combination of survey data, customer experience metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) and/or customer satisfaction (C-Sat), sometimes a place for open-ended feedback from customers and loyalty metrics like customer churn data or renewal rates. (This is by NO means an exhaustive or even the most common list of what’s included. Each VoC program is its own chemistry of data and insights.)

The data is mixed and measured and once a month…or quarter…or sometimes even less frequently…a report is sent around to those who are deemed worthy of “visibility” into this. The report often has wonderful charts and graphs with indicators like red or green arrows showcasing which numbers are UP and which are DOWN.

Some forward-thinking leaders display the VoC on dashboards throughout the organization. You might have walked by a dashboard today on a monitor in the lobby of your building or even see it on your laptop as a screensaver.

While there’s a lot to be said about promoting the report and sharing liberally, there is a risk. By seeing it everywhere, your people start to NOT really see it.

We’ve distilled and translated customer feedback into the most objective of metrics. The numbers that represent our renewal rate (let’s pretend it’s 65%) and NPS (and pretend we’ve earned a 53) should be telling us a story that helps us understand and respond to our customers in more meaningful ways.

But too many Voice of the Customer reports simply share the basic data.

Is 65% renewal rate good?

  • Is it better than our competitors?
  • Better than last year?
  • Worse than last month?
  • Do we know why it went up or down?

What about that 53 for NPS?

  • Have we made any progress since we started measuring NPS two years ago?
  • How do we know we’re measuring it correctly?
  • What have we learned?
  • How often should we be measuring NPS? Is once a quarter enough? Or too much?

What started as a true desire to understand and help tell our customer’s story better has turned into…math.

How can you turn your Voice of the Customer data into meaningful moments for your customers?

3 Ideas to Make Your Voice of the Customer Plan More Meaningful

1. Focus on ONE story to tell to your selected audience.

What does your contact center team need to know? What about your CFO? For each report, ask yourself who will be reading it and what you want this person to see and care about.

Your contact center team SHOULD absolutely feel good about that .05% increase in first call resolution – that’s a result you can build on! But your CFO might be more interested in knowing about the .05% switch from inbound service phone calls to inbound chat, which is a less expensive way to serve customers.

Think about the story you need to tell each audience.

2. Use Dashboards, but not exclusively.

Dashboards are great – but they are easy to ignore.

Think about getting into your car. Do you spend several minutes looking at the dashboard of your car? Do you examine each section and make a mental note about the difference between one day and the next?

Probably not, and your car is there to tell you when there IS something to notice. Need gas? That’s why that light goes on! What’s that message in the middle? Oh that’s an alert to get your tires checked.

You aren’t required to take in ALL the information at once. The dash makes it easy to seek out the information you need (how fast am I going?) when you need it. It’s not all or nothing.

Your VoC dashboard can serve similar purposes. Maybe once a month you highlight one great insight. The entire dashboard is there, but you want to draw your audience into the one area to understand right now.

3. Numbers only get you so far – tell your customers’ stories in their voices!

Numbers CAN tell a great story. But the only audience for those stories are people who get excited about numbers. There’s an entire group of people who will never take the time to understand the graphs and charts.

And nothing – NOTHING – helps someone connect with the situation like a story. It’s easy to hear about how customer complaints went up for a month and then move on to the next number on the report.

It’s an entirely different thing when you hear about how customer Joe couldn’t complete his job at the hospital because of a software glitch that cost him and his patients days of frustration, or worse.

Include your customers and their stories. Record their voices and share those, too. Your contact center recordings can help everyone understand just how important the customer experience your organization provides is.

Your Voice of the Customer program doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it never will be. But it does have to be meaningful.

When was the last time you included your customers – and their true voices – in the reports you share? And when was the last time you asked those you share it with if its meaningful to them?

Recapping how to Make Your VoC Plan More Meaningful

  1. Focus on ONE story to tell to your selected audience. For each report, think about who’s reading it and what they need to know and care about.
  2. Use Dashboards, but not exclusively. Pull data that’s worth highlighting out of the dashboard so it doesn’t get lost in the noise.
  3. Numbers only get you so far – tell your customers’ stories in their voices! Nothing helps someone connect with a situation like a story.

It’s not a quick fix or an easy job, but I have faith in you. If you’ve read this far, that tells me how much you care about your customers and the work you do for them.

Don’t give up and keep cranking out the same old stuff. Wow those report readers next month! Your attention to how you share this information will lead to your customer’s voice truly being heard.

And isn’t that what this is all about?

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