Last updated on March 1, 2023
VoC — or Voice of the Customer programs — helps businesses learn more about their consumers’ wants, needs, and preferences. While most VoC efforts start strongly, many tend to lose their traction over time— especially if the program isn’t properly implemented or the company becomes complacent.
The good news is that there are still ways to get VoC programs back on track. The first step is to assess where you are now and then make an action plan. In our last webinar, Lumoa CEO Carlos del Corral sat down with Mark Barrett and Sian Kerr from Watermelon Research to discuss just that.
Here are some key insights.
In This Article:
We can begin by looking at the program and remembering why it exists in the first place. What was its purpose? What has it recently or in the past helped your company with? From there, we can understand our present position and the indicators that our programs are running out of energy.
The first sign that a VoC program is losing momentum is when it becomes just another way to measure and report performance metrics.
According to Mark Barrett, “at this point, we’re worrying more about whether the needle is moving in the right direction rather than what problems and challenges the VoC program is helping us identify or solve- and how it helps shape product and service development.” – says Barrett
Mark Barrett shares another sign to look for: the amount of time it takes for things to happen. We must rethink how quickly we can get from data to an idea to an initiative to completion. The question is, how quickly or slowly is a change being applied?
We also need to consider whether we still have our internal stakeholders’ buy-in. This is critical because it allows us to progress from an idea to a complete initiative to launch a product or communication at the same rate that we used to.
Lack of internal support will affect how the program is used and implemented. It also lessens the program’s benefits to the company, which snowballs into even lower buy-in.
Barrett provided several additional questions for evaluating your VoC program:
Barrett compares the VoC to a living organ. You must continue monitoring your VoC program to ensure that it adapts, changes, and evolves over time.
Sian Kerr shared the three key areas to consider when assessing the impact of a VoC or CX program:
Look at how individual teams can use the insights and feedback they get from customers. How do they apply customer feedback to enhance and transform the customer experience?
According to Kerr, the tactical side of things comes first. This includes being able to successfully guide customers to different information resources or communication channels, as well as being able to resolve contact inquiries.
She explained that the second way to tell if an insight is effective is to look at the strategic side. It looks at how feedback from the programs is being used to shape, inform, and create initiatives that are then applied to transform customer service.
It’s essential for everyone working in your organization to understand the entire journey from a customer’s point of view. When the various teams working on different parts of the company genuinely understand how they impact the customer experience, the business can create a seamless customer experience that keeps them coming back for more.
This is in contrast to a siloed approach in which teams are unaware of how their customer service affects the customer’s experience or how it could affect another team.
Looking at insights through a commercial lens essentially ties it in with other relevant management information or commercial data that provides your organization with more than a view of the experience. It shows how the initiative is affecting the business’s bottom line.
Sian and Mark shared a couple of ways to reenergize VoC programs- although effectiveness would be dependent on the design and maturity of the program:
Mark suggested taking a step back from where you are now and not getting too caught up in the specifics. He further advised mulling through these few questions as an exercise as if you were starting the project afresh:
Take a look at your responses and evaluate how they relate to your current circumstances. Find any gaps, then consider the possible impact of implementing changes on the company. Consider how much time, money, or effort it would take to set up and implement changes.
In a perfect scenario, this would be the starting point for planning a VoC program’s future and prioritizing some of the initiatives you’ve identified.
Gamification is all the rage in survey research and for good reason! It can not only increase response rates but also capture more meaningful feedback from participants – who are usually happy to put down their pens with traditional surveys.
Gamifying your surveys give you insights beyond what people say: measuring responses speed or using emoticons instead of words allows you to dig deeper into how they feel as well. A top tip? Consider a behavioral science approach when crafting your gamified questions; that way decision-making will be better understood…and we all know understanding leads to success!
Sian explained how acknowledging your wins could re-energize your VoC program. It involves pausing to reflect on your accomplishments over a specific period—say, within six months to a year—and then looking backward.
The purpose of this is to drive engagement and re-motivate the team by showing what their efforts have achieved so far. This also fosters a sense of pride within the organization and motivates the team to strive for continued success.
Share these details with the entire team and all stakeholders, from upper management to frontline employees:
Present your VoC program’s achievements thus far, and discuss your plans for expanding the initiative.
Barrett mentioned that for businesses that follow an omnichannel approach, it is important to identify the reason behind the decline in the Voice of the Customer (VoC) program.
One should begin by examining whether customer journey maps have been created to capture feedback at critical touchpoints, and if the program is aligned with those maps. It is also important to determine whether the program is dynamic enough to provide a nuanced understanding of customer experiences across channels. Rather than taking a siloed approach, businesses should consider all the key channels, journeys, and touchpoints and how they relate to one another.
This can help identify the priority gaps and challenges, and ultimately, reinvigorate the program.
“To inform the channel strategy, businesses should consider the operational costs, volume of traffic, drivers of channel preference, barriers to channel use, first contact resolution, and issues in completing actions by channel. By taking a commercial lens and considering the desired channel mix, businesses can build a stronger VoC program and enhance the customer experience.”
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