Financial impact of poor service driving voice of the customer programmes

6th Jan 2011

Voice of the customer programmes will increase in importance this year as more brands start to recognise the financial impact of poor customer service, Forrester Research predicts.
According to the organisation's Customer Experience Index Score, a 10% improvement in the customer satisfaction can add more than one billion dollars to an organisation's top line, with strong performers in a better position to orchestrate consumer interaction across multiple channels.
As a result, more organisations will start introducing voice of the customer programmes in order to tap into unstructured and unsolicited feedback by undertaking social media monitoring, listening to their employees and closing the feedback loop.
At the same time, the business value of initiatives to encourage customer engagement via social media channels will start to become more evident. This will lead to growing adoption of community-based marketing research techniques, increased nurturing of brand advocates, higher levels of customer self-service tool provision and more collaboration with customers to encourage them to come up with product ideas and assist in development.
But William Band, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, also forecasts that a rising number of enterprises will abandon traditional demand generation concepts in favour of 'lead-to-revenue management' approaches.
The L2RM model is based on three principles. The first is that the end goal is revenue rather than lead generation. The second is that nurturing and qualification processes fill the gap that typically exists between lead generation and the sales process. The third is that the marketing function has an integral part to play in the overall entire revenue management process and should not be sidelined to focus simply on lead generation.
Band likewise believes that more brands will start integrating sales initiatives with marketing programmes in a bid to systematically transform sales support activity that is currently poorly managed, expensive and random into a more efficient sales system.
Attempts will also be made to improve the consistency and personalisation of customer service activities, boost agent efficiency and meet compliance by extending business process management from the back office to front office functions.
Other front office changes will include customer-focused staff in functions such as marketing, sales and service starting to push for more self-service BI tools, the aim being to obtain answers to questions more quickly without needing to rely on IT middlemen. Interest will also increase in mobile applications, particularly in the CRM space, although packages from third party vendors are currently only starting to emerge.
Ecommerce solutions will likewise be increasingly integrated with CRM, BI and centralised order management systems in recognition of the fact that the web is continuing to evolve from a standalone silo to a central hub for marketing, transacting with and servicing customers.

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