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Voice of the Customer: The Dos and Don’ts of creating a consistent experience

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28th Aug 2013
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Maintaining a consistent brand identity across multiple channels is a challenge that large – and even smaller – businesses face every day. Website, retail environments, and mobile channels must all tell the same story, and must all provide the sense that it is part of a cohesive whole. If businesses fail to achieve this, customers will be left with a sense of a disjointed series of individual experiences and unable to really engage with the brand.

For businesses operating a Voice of the Customer programme, the challenge stretches even further. As well as maintaining brand identity across retail and service touchpoints, the channels they use to gather feedback must also adhere to that same identity. And it’s not just about slapping their logo in the corner of a feedback form.

In most cases, your key customer touchpoints are well established long before you build a VoC programme. If the experiences offered during these interactions are consistent, you should be able to translate that across to the way you develop your VoC programme. However, if consistency is indeed an issue across key touchpoints, as it’s quite often the case, your customer experience management programme is likely to offer another, slightly different, view of your business.

Here’s a useful list of dos and don’ts to help build a Voice of the Customer programme that forms a seamless and consistent part of your customer experiences.

DO design a customer journey map that represents key customers touchpoints from your customers’ point of view, not your internal processes. As you create this map, use it to establish when you need to ask customers for feedback, and which channel is most suitable to do so. Ensure multiple channels are available for each touchpoint and allow customers to select the one that suits them best.

DO ensure consistent look and feel. Regardless of how you approach customers for feedback, they should understand that it’s all part of a wider picture. Your customers should have a seamless experience with your brand regardless of the way they choose to interact with you (in store, online, via mobile…). However…

DON’T mistake consistency for a logo. Your customers should feel that each experience with you builds on previous experiences and that means delivering the same messages and keeping the same tone. If you’re brand is fun or sexy or geeky, make sure that carries through to your VoC programme.

DO consider giving your VoC programme its own brand. This may sound contradictory, but if you have customers who interact with you regularly, then giving your VoC programme its own identity may help it to stand out and make them feel a part of something in which their feedback is valued. In addition, it’s a great way to get employees to better understand and engage with the programme, making it more than simply a series of customer surveys.

DO design surveys to match the channel they’ll be delivered through. From the type of questions you ask, to the number of questions you pose, the way in which your customers interact with the survey must impact its content. And remember that just because you designed your survey to be completed on a PC, doesn’t mean your customer isn’t reading it on a mobile device, so make sure your surveys have got the ability to automatically and instantly detect how they’re being accessed and can be re-rendered accordingly.

DON’T ask too many questions. If a customer has had a really good experience with you, don’t undermine it with a long, tedious and irrelevant survey. Stick to questions that directly relate to their most recent or overall experience, and that you’ll be able to use to make improvements. Your VoC survey is another experience in its own right – make it count. That said…

DO ask happy customers a couple of additional questions that will help inform other decisions. If a customer was really pleased with an interaction, do give them the opportunity to recommend your business to a friend, or ask a quick question that will improve your marketing campaigns. If the questions are relevant, and keep the same tone as your other interactions, you won’t damage the experience. Just be careful how you do it.

DON’T run your VoC programme on an entirely parallel path to the rest of your experiences. Build them into the very core of the process to enable you to reference the right information and use the right language. Have stakeholders from the right business area involved so you don’t confuse customers with conflicting information about things like offers and sales.

DON’T forget your employees. They need to know not only the various channels you use to communicate with customers, but any interactions that individual customers have had in the past. There are few things more likely to alienate a customer than a contact centre agent asking them questions they’ve already answered, or being unaware that the customer has already complained via another channel.

There’s a lot to consider, and most businesses won’t get everything right first time. A key factor is building your VoC programme along with new customer experiences wherever possible, and in the case of existing touchpoints, engineering it carefully to reflect what customers have already experienced. When you do it right, the Voice of the Customer shouldn’t stand out as “the survey stuff”, it should simply be one more in a series of solid, consistent experiences from your business. And a crucial one that will help you build your brand and drive your business forward.

Karine Del Moro is vice president of marketing at Confirmit

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