Voice of the Customer in a Multi-Channel World

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During the last year, barriers have been falling between the contact center and other business units within the enterprise. Organizations are beginning to realize the importance of having executives and employees in different parts of the enterprise respond to what customers have to say about their products, services, processes, and overall way of doing business. In a recent study of contact center surveying application users, 75% of respondents indicated that many operating groups were sharing findings from customer surveys.

Putting Surveying Data to Work

Gathering customer feedback remains the primary use of surveying solutions. However, unless feedback leads to concrete change, customers become frustrated and dissatisfied with surveys and the organization that issues them. Surveying should be a first step in an iterative process that includes collection, analysis, action and change. Tying feedback to action is a challenge for contact centers and the vendors that support them.

While further enhancements are required, vendors in the surveying/feedback and analytics market are responding to contact center managers’ need for solutions that enable them to act on feedback and that support enterprise feedback and social networking initiatives. It’s up to managers, though, to institute best practices that enable them to apply surveying findings on a timely basis. As contact center survey findings affect many departments, the political implications are obvious. The challenge is for contact center leaders to get the support of all relevant departments in applying survey results. This critical initiative will require senior management support as well as buy-in from line managers. Unless line managers see some benefit for themselves, however, they will have no reason to welcome customer feedback that points out problems in their shops. Enterprises must institute change management guidelines that reward departments and senior leaders for responding rapidly and appropriately to customer feedback.

Social Networking is Essential for VOC Initiatives

Social networking is providing many new forums for customers to discuss their experiences and express their feelings. Leading contact centers are starting to incorporate and respond to social networking-related feedback as part of their Voice of the Customer (VOC) programs. Innovative companies view social networking as a way to elicit feedback through surveying and online communities, and to provide immediate customer service. Debates continue within the enterprise regarding ownership and oversight of social media interactions. As the locus for many customer interactions, the contact center can and should play a pivotal role in both enterprise feedback and social networking initiatives. This is a natural extension of their traditional role as the organization that interfaces with customers most regularly.

Ideal Contact Center Surveying Solution

Contact centers, and enterprises in general, should interact with customers in their channel of choice, in real time or on a periodic basis. Surveying solutions need to create, issue, collect and analyze feedback through multiple channels including IVR, Web, social media, email, SMS and live calls. These solutions must handle both solicited (traditional, company-initiated feedback requests) and, increasingly, unsolicited (especially social media) customer input. They should also be designed to provide actionable insights so that enterprise users can identify the underlying issues, suggest appropriate fixes, and effect immediate change. The solutions should also have a closed-loop process that facilitates interaction with customers, so that they know the organization appreciates their patronage and values their feedback.

Final Thoughts

A consolidated, enterprise-wide approach to soliciting and utilizing survey results is essential for realizing the greatest benefits for enterprises and their customers. But a multi-department approach must be accompanied by governance and change management best practices that facilitate the sharing of surveying findings on a timely basis with all relevant constituents. This structure must also measure the effectiveness of any changes that occur, and reward and recognize managers for making beneficial modifications. To learn more about the capabilities, technology, benefits, ROI, pricing and customer satisfaction ratings of leading and contending contact center surveying/enterprise feedback management vendors, see DMG Consulting’s 2010 Surveying/Feedback and Analytics Market Report, released in August 2010. This 270-page Report is designed to help contact center managers select the right surveying partner, product and acquisition model for their enterprise. The Report also provides guidance on best practices for deriving the greatest possible value from surveying/feedback programs.

Donna Fluss

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