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Put VoC at the heart of CX - Part two

18th Oct 2018
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In part one of this blog I started to outline the benefits of implementing Voice of the Customer projects. Sometimes however, VoC projects, like many CX projects, lack a champion to drive them  through. This might be someone in the call centre who is looking for a way to reduce calls and decrease call duration without impacting on the customer’s experience with the agent, or someone in the marketing department who wants to weave VoC data into product messaging and advertising campaigns. Ideally, VoC programs should be run by a dedicated team of staff with a co-ordinated structure and full support from all stakeholders in the business. The reasons are straightforward: unless clear objectives are set and the program is part of the broader company strategy, success will be difficult to assess. Ultimately responsibility needs to be taken, not just for collecting customer feedback, but for working proactively with it to bring about a result.

Interestingly, the Temkin report also found that VoC programs were proving most valuable for ‘identifying and fixing quick-hit operational issues’ and least valuable for ‘identifying innovative product and service ideas’. VoC programs often start in order to fix an issue, particularly when the company is unsure how to begin without gleaning more information from its customers. But with a change in approach, they can also work just as well to unearth ideas that can be used to design products and services that customers really want.

A well-known countertop appliance brand, for example, has established such a good VoC program, incorporating listening, analysis, engagement and response, that after the launch of a new limited-edition product in matte black last year, it used the mechanism to find out what colour its customers thought the next limited-edition product should be. A leading maker of cleaning and kitchen appliances, also adopts a similar VoC approach which has reaped particular rewards in helping them to reduce average customer handling times by 15%.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Temkin research found that companies expect the most important source of insights in the future to be customer interaction history and the least important source to be multiple-choice questions. There is a strong sentiment amongst customers that surveys have had their day, but they do still have a part to play in a VoC program, as long as they are not the only source of intelligence and insight available. Customers are complex, their views can change not just by the day, but by the minute, depending on their experiences and interactions with a brand. A survey tends to deliver a myopic view of the customer, where a VoC program that is informed by unsolicited interaction across all touchpoints at all times with customer volition, provides a treasure trove of nuanced feedback.

On a final note, any company implementing VoC projects needs to ensure they are defining their CX metrics, and in fact, this was the top responsibility of the VoC teams at 68% of the companies researched by Temkin Group. Metrics in this area, however, are changing with effort, emotion and intent now considered to be the leading indicators of customer loyalty. Measuring sentiment is still common, but when held up against the insight that is provided by detecting emotion or effort, the difference is stark. 


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