The Case for VoC Strategy: Driving Outcomes
POSTED : November 16, 2017

In parts 1 and 2 of this blog series, we discussed how to develop a VoC strategy and build the business case for adopting a technology platform. In this final post of the series, we outline key steps for making sure that your voice of the customer (VoC) program has the business impact your organization desires.

Transform your organization to embrace and demand VoC data

Every employee touches the customer in some way – sales speaks directly to customers, marketing decides what stories to tell, finance helps prioritize investment in future products and services, and so forth. Because many employees don’t interface directly with customers, CX leaders invest in training and education so that employees understand how they impact the customer and how they can use VoC insights to improve the customer experience. Your VoC program should make it easy to inform business decisions via customer insights by providing employees at all levels throughout the organization with relevant data and role-based reporting. Furthermore, make it as effortless as possible for employees to integrate the voice of the customer in their day-to-day by allowing employees to pull their own data.

Make business changes based on customer data

The intent behind a VoC program is not to show an organization that customers love their products and services so that executives can give themselves a pat on the back. A VoC program is meant to drive optimization at every level, from day-to-day customer care interactions to upstream product and service design. You must set up a formal process for closing the loop with customers in the short-term. Moreover, you must put a process in place to systematically act on customer data to drive financial results.

Use business value calculations to determine which changes have been most beneficial to justify further investment, and prioritization frameworks to decide which improvement projects to embark on first. We recently advised a retailer to form a cross-departmental “customer focus team” charged with reviewing customer data and insights, identifying and prioritizing opportunities, and developing and tracking initiatives to act on these opportunities. This is one example of an operating model that – especially in organizations without a formal CX role – propels action.

Measure and report results

In a Forrester survey on VoC, 69% of respondents didn’t track the impact of VoC initiatives on revenue, and 72% didn’t track the cost savings resulting from their efforts. Tracking KPIs related to revenue, cost savings, and customer retention is imperative to understanding the performance of your VoC strategy. Work with stakeholders to define KPIs that demonstrate success to them and their teams. Report insights to employees at all levels throughout the organization, and bring in the actual voice of the customer by sharing feedback verbatim too.

Alaska Airlines shares positive feedback in the form of “customer-grams” displayed for all employees to read, as a way of showing appreciation and motivating staff to do their best every day. The airline’s focus on delivering great customer experience is what prompts business travelers to say, “with Alaska I feel like I’m actually a customer, not just a dollar figure.”

Connect additional data

If you can’t connect every data stream in your VoC program out of the gate, keep pushing after go-live to integrate more data, both structured and unstructured. Use early successes as validation for why the program is important, and demonstrate how much more useful it can be with additional data connected. Often, companies will not integrate unstructured social data with other customer data, which means they miss out on insights. In contrast, Cisco’s listening centers monitor and prioritize 5,000-7,000 online mentions per day including sales inquiries, support requests, product ideas, and brand advocacy. This gives Cisco real-time insight into moment-to-moment customer needs, behaviors, and attitudes, and access to its full audience of decision-makers, influencers, and end-users.

VoC programs can have a huge positive impact on customer experience and a company’s revenue and profit. However, to realize the benefits and see the outcomes companies are hoping for, they have to go beyond buying a piece of technology. Companies need to develop and implement a VoC strategy that effectively integrates customer feedback into their business to drive action and results.

For more insight on how to build a customer-centric organization, download our report: Integrating customer experience with customer loyalty.

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