4 areas where VoC programmes need to change

26th Nov 2018

Given the importance of customer experience to business success, it is no surprise that 78% of companies try to measure customer satisfaction, according to new Eptica research. But what the survey, carried out with UK brands, also demonstrates is that existing approaches and Voice of the Customer (VoC) solutions are not going far enough in delivering real business value across the organisation.

The research, which questioned 154 UK marketers/customer experience professionals, highlights four key areas where VoC initiatives need to improve:

1. Go beyond basic measurements

Most brands are still tracking customer satisfaction using basic metrics such as NPS, CSAT and CES. While these give a snapshot of “what” customers feel about their experience, they don’t provide detailed insights into the “why”. For instance, Why do consumers feel how they do and what areas need to change for the better?

The survey reveals that brands are well aware that their current VoC feedback only provides partial answers. As one respondent said: “We’re looking to gain actionable insight -understanding what moves the needle.” But most are not successful in achieving this - only 24% say that existing measurements give them the deeper understanding they require.

The vast majority of respondents reveal they already analyse customer interactions on channels such as email, Facebook and Twitter, as well as the content within consumer reviews. However, this is failing to give them what they need. For example 83% analyse email interactions with customers, but only 12% feel it provides value. Similarly more than half analyse the conversations they have with customers on Facebook but only 11% say it delivers value.

2. Provide the ability to link VoC to business metrics

While many brands are measuring customer experience on a transactional level, they are not doing it strategically, according to the study. For example the research suggests that the systems that are in place to track VoC are unable to measure factors that directly impact loyalty, revenue and churn.

As customers’ expectations rise and they get more sophisticated, brands are under pressure to uncover effective intelligence and metrics to drive decisions and gain competitive advantage. The research highlights five capabilities that are required in a successful VoC system. They are the ability to:

  • Identify pain points (62%).
  • Measure emotions (53%).
  • Identify detractors and explain why (53%).
  • Identify customer churn risk (47%).
  • Identify promoters and explain why (44%).

3. Bridge the disconnect between brands’ requirements and what VoC programmes currently deliver

The research makes it clear that existing VoC systems are not delivering - brands are underserved by the functionality of their solutions. Many feel their current software is simply not fit for purpose in today’s customer-driven business environment. There is a lengthy wish list from the majority of brands on what they say they need for VoC solutions to deliver effectively. This includes:

  • Automatic analysis (88%) - Making insight faster and therefore more real-time.
  • More actionable insights (87%) - Deeper, greater insight across the business.
  • Improved ease of use (83%) - Easier to use for non-specialists across the organisation.
  • Better dashboards (80%) - Clearer reporting that helps make better business decisions.
  • More reliable results (72%) -  Confidence that results are based on the fullest possible sets of data, not just surveys or NPS.

4. Enable customer insight to be shared across the organisation

To create a truly customer-focused organisation the insights from customer interactions have to be available to, and shared by, all parts of the business. This is not happening currently, with too many organisations ‘protecting’ the customer data and failing to share it with other departments. Needless to say, this siloed approach holds back efforts to improve the customer experience.

The research indicates that currently, sharing of data/insights is limited mainly to just four departments: 82% of the sample said it is shared with customer service; 72% with marketing; 74% with sales; and 71% with operations. These findings mean over a quarter (26%) don’t share customer data and insights with sales, for example.

Only 38% share this information with e-commerce teams and just 21% pass it to shops. The upshot is that brands are missing out on the ability to make vital changes to improve the customer experience. They urgently need to ‘democratise’ customer intelligence and insight and ensure that it is quickly shared with the right department when required. An effective VoC system will help enable this.

Brands already recognise that to truly engage with customers and build long-term relationships they need an intimate understanding of their wants and needs. They also know that this intelligence is essential if they are to continually improve the customer experience. However, Eptica’s research clearly signals that many brands are being hindered by existing systems – they are restricted by having only a partial picture of the customer, that’s difficult to turn into actionable insights which can transform their approach to the customer.

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