Why Run A Voice of the Customer Campaign?
Running a Voice of the Customer programme gives you a unique opportunity to drive service improvements and increase customer loyalty. Learning directly from your customers provides matchless insight into where your company excels and, more importantly, where it is failing. As Bill Gates said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
Remember also, that poor customer service does not just impact on your customers. Employees dealing with irate customers experiencing preventable problems on a daily basis are more likely to leave. Bringing in your employees to your Voice of the Customer campaign will improve employee retention, reduce the costs of recruitment and training and demonstrate that you respect your employees’ views.
If you want to harness the knowledge of your customers and your employees to create a better company, learn to make the most of your VoC campaign.
Preparation Is The Key
You cannot conduct a Voice of the Customer programme in a vacuum. Though the person responsible for introducing it may be wholeheartedly an advocate, a Voice of the Customer programme cannot be a success without the buy-in and support of the entire company, from the executive board to the agents on the phone.
Before you start, therefore, all key parties need to know about and support the project. Engage your customer service employees with your VoC programme at an early stage. As the front line staff, they bear the brunt of any customer dissatisfaction and are the best equipped in your business to understand the customer experience. They have unparalleled knowledge about your customers and can help you to create a survey that will capture the most useful and valuable feedback.
Clearly define your aims! Ensure that your survey is designed from the customer perspective and that the questions will produce feedback that you can practically use to improve business processes.
Cover All The Bases
Make it easy for the staff to implement the survey and for the customers to take part. Participation should feel almost effortless and should not be limited to one touchpoint. Identify where your customers are contacting your company and ensure that their opinions are sought and their feedback collated at each point. Not only will this give you a more comprehensive picture, but it will identify any weak links on the customer journey and provide opportunities to address any resourcing issues.
Contacting customers via the same channel they used will also increase participation in your surveying project as you will automatically be adopting the preferred form of communication of each customer. Conducting a Voice of the Customer programme across all channels will allow you to see clearly which channel is most popular and to compare the customer service provision across channels.
The experience must appear very straightforward to the customer but, in reality your VoC campaign should be supported by advanced technology that can handle any number of calls and collate and process data from all your customer service channels.
Listening to the Voice of the Customer is only worthwhile if you share what has been learned. To run a successful VoC campaign, somebody within your company needs to take ownership of the programme and communicate the results. This needs to be targeted communication. Who needs to know what?
You can inspire your employees by letting them hear directly from a happy customer. Performance figures extrapolated from the data can be fed back to create incentivising targets or inter-team competition.
Specific customers may need specific answers to their queries, or resolution to their problems. A successful VoC programme alerts staff when customer service levels fall below acceptable standards and includes the capacity to deal with particular issues. No company runs a VoC campaign to have a detrimental effect on customer service provision, but if you solicit feedback and then ignore the complaints that’s exactly what will happen.
Your marketing department will want to know examples of service improvements that have been driven by customer feedback. If you can demonstrate that you listen to your customers and value their opinions, your company is going to want to shout that from the rooftops.
And obviously the executive board will want to see a return on investment. Collate data that tracks customer satisfaction over time and analyse the results against other financial and sales metrics.
Close The Loop
Ensure that you have a process established to implement changes based on knowledge gained in your VoC campaign. Remember too that a truly successful Voice of Customer campaign is an ongoing one. Companies should never become complacent or stop valuing those people who buy their products or services. Create a virtuous circle in your company — a continuous process where information is gleaned and shared and acted upon.
Committing to continuous investment in a Voice of the Customer campaign is a demonstrable sign to your customers and employees alike that you are committed to continuous improvement. You will create a culture within your organisation where learning is valued and striving to enhance business processes and the customer experience is a shared goal.
As with everything, the more you put into your VoC campaign, the more you will get out. Prepare well, communicate regularly and act upon feedback and you will reap the rewards of listening to the Voice of the Customer!