Voice of the Customer: The Foundation of a Connected Experience

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I originally wrote today’s post for Concentrix. It recently appeared on their site.

The race toward digital transformation is on, with investments in these efforts expected to reach $3.4 trillion in 2026. Brands that are just beginning their journey to digitize are well-intentioned but prone to falling behind. According to Boston Consulting Group, only 30% of companies effectively implement digital transformation strategies.

Digital transformations are a funny thing. I’ve read too many articles about digital transformations where authors and brands alike think that these transformations are all about the digital strategy and the digital experience.

Shifting the Mindset

Guess what? We’ve got to shift that mindset. They are about so much more than that.

How? The main issue is that customers get lost in these transformations. Companies forget that digital is about the customer and how to connect with them and deliver a better experience, their desired experience. Ultimately, the digital experience is less about digital and more about people – your customers; they are at the heart of a digital transformation.

A digital transformation is about meeting the needs of the connected customer and changing your processes to do so. Note that it’s an enterprise-wide, end-to-end business transformation that begins with the corporate culture. You can’t have a “digital department” working in isolation, designing an experience that will only be described as “digital only and detached from the rest of the end-to-end journey.”

What’s Missing?

One critical element often overlooked in digital transformation is this: designing digital experiences from the “outside in.” That means customer feedback should be at the center of designing and evolving your digital strategies. And yet, customer feedback requests are either non-existent or they’re intrusive, disjointed, and semi-actionable at best.

It’s this topic and how to keep customers front and center when it comes to digital transformations that became the catalyst for our latest episode of Born Digital, which is all about the voice of the customer and ensuring that every customer connection counts.

Born Digital, Episode 6 Recap

We normally record full-length episodes of the show, but this episode is a little different, as we’ve split it up into three unique segments that are all tied to the same topic, i.e., the voice of the customer and making every connection count. The segments include:

  1. What’s holding back your digital transformation efforts, i.e., five failures of these efforts, including voice of the customer.
  2. Maturing your voice of the customer program and how to know when it’s mature.
  3. How silos impact your voice of the customer program and what to do about them.

Throughout this episode, I’m joined by a couple of experts on this topic, one from Concentrix and one from Adobe:

  • Angela Daniels, Senior Manager of VOC Sales & Solutions at Concentrix
  • Scott Christofferson, Senior Manager, Product Marketing at Adobe

They both joined me from Adobe Summit 2023.

A common thread throughout each of the segments of this episode is that your listening posts are touchpoints along the customer journey and that the respondent experience is part of the customer experience. As such, you’ve got to execute your voice of the customer program well, including creating a unified enterprise-wide program, sharing feedback throughout the organization with those who need to use it, acting on what customers tell you, and closing the loop with them on how the experience has evolved.

When you’re bringing customer feedback and other customer data from across the organization together to get that holistic view of the customer’s journey and then using that to not only design and deliver a seamless omnichannel experience but also to orchestrate journeys, you’ve reached a high level of VOC maturity. To that every brand should say, “#Goals!”

Silos Are An Issue

That becomes challenging for a lot of companies, as these stats from Dimension Data’s 2020 CX Benchmark Report highlight:

  • 54% of organizations report their customer experience operations are managed in silos.
  • Only 33% of customer experience professionals say they can actively communicate and collaborate across teams to drive improved CX.

But when you’ve got five different departments surveying the same customer, without regard for overlap, frequency, cadence, etc., customers get annoyed. It’s too much. So, you’ve got to have some mechanisms in place to make sure that this doesn’t happen, not the least of which is:

  • an Office of the Customer or some such department or individual who has the master plan for your voice of the customer program.
  • one enterprise-wide feedback platform to capture all of the feedback.
  • processes built around cross-functional collaboration on feedback design and on closing the loop with the feedback that you do receive.

If you’re struggling with siloed and decentralized voice of the customer listening efforts, it’s time to do an inventory across the organization to get a handle on who’s doing it, how many different surveys and programs, how many different platforms are being used, and what other data is being used or incorporated with the feedback.

You Need a Map

Creating a customer feedback map, which is what I’m referring to in the previous paragraph, can be a daunting task, especially in very large, disparate, and/or siloed organizations, but the benefits—not the least of which is financial—are endless. For example, if you have nine different departments all working in a vacuum, including licensing nine different survey, enterprise feedback management, or text analytics platforms, consolidating the data can reduce costs and improve the way the company listens to customers. Other benefits include reducing or eliminating respondent fatigue, increasing response rates, and improving the actionability of the data.

Have a listen to our latest episode of Born Digital to get advice on each of the three key topics we discussed.

90% of CEOs believe the digital economy will impact their industry, but less than 15% are executing on a digital strategy. ~ MIT Sloan and Capgemini

Image courtesy of Lukas Blazek on Unsplash.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Annette Franz
Annette Franz is founder and Chief Experience Officer of CX Journey Inc. She is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, consultant, and speaker. She has 25+ years of experience in helping companies understand their employees and customers in order to identify what makes for a great experience and what drives retention, satisfaction, and engagement. She's sharing this knowledge and experience in her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the "Customer" in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business).

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