How To Drive Action With Your Voice of Customer Program
By Sam Frampton
We believe the fuel that powers the world's most exceptional products is customer experience. To drive progress and build a better experience for your customers, they need a seat at the table.
Every decision and action you take needs to start with the customer's experience. You need to understand their expected outcomes from using your product, address their specific needs and use-cases, and provide the solutions to help them succeed.
To create an environment where employees can listen to the customer and invent for the customer, brands invest in Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs. A deep-level understanding of the customer ensures the business goals our closely aligned to customer interests.
Despite the considerable value they offer organisations. Many companies fail to treat VoC programs seriously. Executives often fail to see where the voice of customer efforts turn into action and more importantly, an increase in revenue performance.
We feel this needs to change so businesses can start making better decisions and start doing customer experience the right way. We’re writing this article to help you rally the troops across your organisation. Pull together different stakeholders, put aside competing interests and work together to create a voice of customer program that can turn insights into action.
Read on to discover how you can design a case for building a better VoC program, one that delivers results for you and your customers.
Why VoC Programs are Important
VoC programs provide insights into what customers want and need from the companies they do business with. In the most basic sense, you can explain VoC in four steps:
- Listening to customer feedback
- Interpreting the resulting data
- Action to improve the customer experience
- Monitoring customer experience performance
In a study from Aberdeen, VoC leaders have about 55% higher retention rates than their competitors, resulting in a 10x higher year-over-year increase in revenue. Internally, that commitment to VoC resulted in a 37% increase in employee engagement and a 24% decrease in costs associated with customer service.
When done right, VoC programs can drive innovation progress throughout an organisation. After all, what business doesn’t see the value in retaining their employees and customers? Or increasing revenue?
The problem is, that the connection between customer experience efforts and their impact on an organization’s health isn’t always transparent to C-Suite in an organisation.
Voice of Customer programs backed with the right tools and insights can provide huge value to a company, enough to supercede top priorities for executives and grab their attention.
Motivate the unengaged through emotion and logic
You have fantastic insights that can motivate employees across an organisation and establish credibility in your CX program. You just need to tailor your approach to the different audiences you encounter in your company. It’s not a one size fits all approach.
When your busy working away separated from different departments it can be easy to misunderstand and stay in touch with varying points of view.
When sharing your insights focus on the outcomes that matter to them, understand what matters to your executives, managers, and front line employees.
One effective method to drive emotion is to share quotes and stories both good and bad. Verbatim feedback from surveys, support tickets, call transcripts and online reviews can help employees empathize and bring to life the customer’s experience.
To drive a logical connect, for instance, if company leaders are more concerned with budget cuts, your VoC program needs to be framed in a way that aligns with cost-slashing goals. Otherwise, executives may not make CX a priority.
CX professionals must be prepared to take concepts like NPS and CSATs and connect them to broader company success metrics by extracting insights from customer feedback to more tangible KPIs like sales, savings, and retention rates.
Use language that makes sense to your stakeholders—and be sure to highlight the financial benefits associated with a strong, unified push toward VoC excellence.
Nurture a Customer-Centric Culture
Customer service has long been seen as the domain of someone who answers the phones or responds to complaints and questions from customers.
And yes, while this position still exists in most companies, this specific role isn’t the only kind that needs to get on board with creating and maintaining a positive relationship with customers.
A customer-centric culture:
- Puts the customer first—this means working to see the world from the customer’s perspective and acknowledging that a business is only as strong as its customer base.
- Focuses on the wants and needs of the customer, developing products and services based on those wants and needs.
- Nurtures relationships designed to help the customer get the most out of their experience with a product or service.
- It is enriching the customer experience at every possible interaction, starting with customer acquisition through to transaction and aftercare.
- Builds strategies dedicated to keeping customers happy for the long-term.
While this sounds really simple, the reality is that developing a multi-touchpoint, customer-centric strategy means CX teams must coordinate several moving parts at once.
It also means getting everyone from the C-Suite to the front line service desk on the same page when it comes to your customers.
For more information on what it means to be customer centric read our blog post here.
Identify What Drives Loyalty
VoC teams may need to do a bit of hand-holding when it comes to jump-starting the CX program to help the strategy “grow up.”
It’s challenging to take action when you don’t have a good sense of what metrics prove success or a map for improving the customer’s experience.
VoC teams need to help unfocused employees take effective action by showing them what drives their success metrics.
For example, if your company used NPS as its primary CX metric. To operationalize NPS, measure your strategic drivers, in the case of a food delivery company, this may be food delivery speed, food quality and ease of transactions. They’d also want to measure tactical drivers of each strategic driver, such as ease of using the product, which drives ease of transactions. Leading CX teams can rank issues based on their impact on NPS and understand the effect each driver has on top-line metrics.
Approach this process with the goal of changing internal behaviour so that it positively impacts the customer’s experience and leads to long-term gains. Such as increased referrals and repeat purchases, while also decreasing the number of complaints received.
To uncover the metrics that make the most sense for measuring success in the context of your business, ask “big-picture” questions as a starting point. These questions might include the following:
- Why do your customers choose to work with you?
- Where do you add the most value?
- Where can you improve?
- Are there recurring complaints?
- Do customers ask specific questions more than others?
You should also closely monitor the metrics listed below:
- Problem resolution time
- First response time
- NPS score
- CES score
- CSAT score
- Net Sentiment
- Review scores
- Churn rate
- Contact volume by channel
- Average deal size
While metrics will vary based on your business goals, connecting them to common complaints and questions will help you start identifying your biggest CX issues.
Present VoC Data in Role-Based Reports
Not everyone in your organization is a data expert, so you may need to make some adjustments to how the data is presented. Role-based reports, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, allow teams to review data in a way that helps them make decisions based on their function or hierarchy.
In other words, it’s a means of presenting data in a way that makes sense to different people within your organization, allowing them to take action by tailoring the presentation to their needs.
To set up role-based reporting, you’ll need to start by first identifying the CX metrics that have the most influence over business outcomes.
This means pulling in data from NPS and CSAT surveys, as well as unstructured data from social media or support requests. It also means looking at structured data like how much customers spend on the average deal, or churn rates.
One example of a company approaching this the right way is Raymond James. The firm’s CX team made a point of reaching out to internal stakeholders, asking what would help them get more out of the VoC program, and what it would take to earn their buy-in.
The CX team gathered feedback from internal stakeholders, gaining more understanding over which metrics were important to them based on their roles and functions. The team developed new dashboards that were populated with metrics designed to help employees deliver a better customer experience, while also de-emphasizing the metrics that were irrelevant to their roles.
Beyond that, the CX team also made a point of scheduling standing meetings to discuss results. This kind of ongoing communication is pivotal when it comes to driving VoC action; it turns your CX strategy into a responsive, ongoing conversation, not a twice-yearly, “Hey, we really should measure NPS.”
Problem Solving is Everyone’s Problem
It's well documented that employees develop a sense of purpose and drive they understand their company’s strategy and direction.
From math problems to workplace rules, people tend to respond better when there’s a clear “why” behind their actions. Tapping into employee can help find solutions for customer issues increasing both the recommendations for improvements as well as stakeholder buy-in.
When you translate CX concepts into the language of the organization, it becomes easier to bring everyone together to drive change.
Unified metrics, role-based reporting, and a direct link to financials give employees the power to identify the root cause of a problem and find a solution.
Not only does bringing different experience and knowledge into the fold improve customer outcomes, it also boosts stakeholder buy-in. Why? Because employees will quickly see how making changes improves the process for their customers.
Turning Insights into Action with Your Voice of Customer Program
Many brands tend to start off with a decent VoC data collection strategy, but find themselves suffering from that productivity killer, analysis paralysis. You’re looking at data from several sources at a time, which understandably, can be overwhelming.
After you’ve pulled insights from various channels, here are a few steps you can take to prevent that crippling organizational roadblock.
- Review your organization’s process for measuring feedback and closing the loop.
- Do you have a structured approach in place for analyzing, prioritizing, and addressing feedback? If not, ensure that you develop a step-by-step protocol.
- How do you measure success? Define clear expectations to determine ROI.
- Empower your employees with the right tools? Make sure you have the right tech to extract insight from customer feedback, the best data source to understand how your customers think and feel about their experiences with your brand.
Building on the last section, we totally understand how difficult it can be to take all of the data you’ve collected and turn it into a better experience for your customers, as well as for your internal stakeholders.
CX teams understand the value of VoC programs, but it’s hard to get buy-in when you’re communicating exclusively in CX jargon.
Great customer experiences depend on engaged employees and open communication. At Chattermill, a big part of what we do is turn your data--sourced from social channels, surveys, behaviors, and complaints--into organized, digestible insights that can be understood and implemented by everyone.
We love nothing more than empower teams to take their understanding of their customers up a level. Get in touch to see how Chattermill can helps you understand your users, rapidly release better product experiences, and grow your business today.