Voice of the Customer Programme: Listening or Lip service?


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The directive comes from the top. Your CEO wants to invest in a Voice of the Customer programme. You are given the task of capturing a detailed view of your customers’ expectations and preferences and feeding this insight back into the business. So you invest in the latest technology, start to gather lots of data from lots of customers and wait for the actionable insights that will transform your organisation.
It might sound straightforward, but far too many organisations become unstuck at this stage. The reason? No one has really given any thought about what to do with all this data. The fact is that capturing customer feedback is no longer enough – it must be listened to, interpreted, shared with the right people and acted upon quickly in order to provide value.
The following five tips will help you develop a voice of the customer programme that will deliver real benefits for your business:

1.Be specific about desired outcomes – It might sound obvious but it’s amazing how many VoC programmes fail in this respect, and if they do you’ll just be left with noise without context. Be clear about what you want to get from your programme. It could include any or all of the following: improved customer satisfaction; business process improvement; customer experience improvement; product development; agent empowerment. It’s fine to include short term and long term goals. Make sure you know what change you want to bring about and what you are specifically looking for. Set out long term and medium reactions to customer experiences and how you’re going to use this insight to adapt your programme. Put in place triggers for certain keywords so that you can get in touch with customers following negative feedback.

2.Capture the big picture – There is absolutely no point in capturing customer feedback in silos. It is how it all fits together into the bigger picture that provides the most valuable insights. Our multichannel benchmark study shows that just one in four contact centres say customer feedback from all channels is integrated in a single system to develop a single view customer feedback. Make sure that your sample size is representative of your customer base and is capturing the feelings of most people. Don’t be blinded by kneejerk reactions and remember that not all channels are suitable for every purpose… but look for trends, consistency or perhaps inconsistency and identify areas where you can build stronger relationships with your customers.

3.Involve your agents – This is perhaps the most overlooked area and one that can have the greatest impact. Too often customer feedback surveys become tick box exercises with very little human element. The voice of your agents should reflect the voice of the customer; their work gives them a visceral understanding of symptoms of failure in the journey.
If a customer has fed back about an individual agent, make sure that is shared with the agent concerned as soon as possible, when things go right as well as wrong. Prompt feedback is invaluable to both improving and maintaining focus – it helps to give agents ‘skin in the game’. Invite agents to share feedback about how to remove customer pain points, after all they are the ones who deal with the fall out when a customer journey fails, and make sure they are rewarded for factors over which they can actually have a real influence.

4.Close the loop – understand and act on the feedback where you can. The cause of frustration can be a simple defect in an existing process or journey, but this doesn’t mean the journey needs to be completely reinvented. If you identify the critical problems quickly you can close the loop on individual issues while working on the longer term plans in parallel. If a customer gives feedback about a particular issue, make sure you go back and tell them that their feedback is being taken seriously and what is being done about it.

5.Be real – The biggest cause of so-called ‘survey fatigue’ is consumer cynicism. How would you feel about giving feedback over and over again if nothing ever changes. Make sure customers know that this is not just a tick box exercise and be honest. The same is true for agents who deal with feedback knowing full well they have no influence over the outcome. Maybe you can’t change everything, but you are listening and you will make changes where you can. Consumers are tired of being patronised by faceless organisations. Time and time again their behaviour demonstrates they prefer to deal with brands who keep it real.

The fundamentals of developing a great voice of the customer programme are all about understanding what your customers are saying and the context that they are saying it in. Add the five steps and you’ll have a strategy which will bring you real insight into how to boost customer satisfaction. Find out how other contact centres are approaching customer feedback by requesting your copy of EvaluAgent’s new benchmark report looking at effective multichannel contact strategies, which will be published shortly, please email [email protected]

Andy Smith
Andy Smith is Head of Customer Insight at EvaluAgent. At it's core, EvaluAgent is a modular cloud-based software platform designed to enhance employee and business performance for multi-channel contact centres. Wrapped around that core is a refreshingly responsive and highly flexible professional services capability.The software & professional service modules include; Quality Monitoring; Customer Surveys; FCR Measurement & Analysis; Coaching & Feedback; Performance Management; and, Gamified Recognition & Reward.


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