Want to improve experiences? Get your leaders more engaged with VoC

11th Nov 2015

Leadership support of Voice of the Customer (VoC) programmes is fundamental to businesses delivering better customer experiences, a joint study from MyCustomer.com and Qualtrics has found.

The research, What factors influence Voice of the Customer programme success and failure?, highlights that many VoC programmes often pass or fail depending on the level of topline, executive-level involvement.

The study took into account the opinions of over 100 professionals responsible for overseeing VoC in their organisations, with around 20% reporting that their programme was falling below expectations. And over half of those (53%) said that lack of leadership buy-in and support was the chief reason for the failure.

In contrast, ‘leadership engagement and support’ and ‘actively listening to customers’ were both rated as either important or very important by 83% of respondents, in being asked what made the successful VoC programmes stand out.

Leader support or not, statistics show that businesses are increasingly turning to Voice of the Customer to provide more insightful and consistent customer experiences. Indeed, a 2014 report by the Aberdeen Group projected that brands with a well-established VoC enjoy an average annual revenue increase of 10.9%.

However, MyCustomer and Qualtrics’ research suggests VoC is still a fairly nascent CX initiative, with 72% of respondents stating their programmes was under two years old.  Fewer than one-in-ten (8%) businesses have had a formal VoC programme in place for over a decade.

“Great customer experience is a competitive advantage. Countless research suggests that people will pay more for a great experience,” says Des Martin, EMEA growth team leader for Qualtrics.

“Yet without a good VoC programme, companies have no idea how customer experience is impacting their business.  VoC programmes are often cross-departmental. To be successful companies need to line up around the customer, rather than along departmental lines. Leadership from the top of the organisation is important for cross-departmental focus.

“Top leadership engagement, active listening to customers and a unified customer experience on all channels are key to a successful VoC programme. Also the software that underpins a VoC programme is essential, the ability to collect across multiple channels, keep all you data in one place and report it up to leadership dramatically improves the success.”

A number of high-profile companies, including Ryanair and Bank of Ireland have turned to VoC in recent times to adopt better policies of responding to customers.

Siobhan Hennessy, head of customer experience management and strategy at the Bank of Ireland, spoke of the importance of leadership support in her own VoC initative, stating: “At Bank of Ireland we’ve been doing VoC for the last five six years, and I can honestly say, the success we’ve had is entirely down to the involvement of the CEO.”

Download: What factors influence Voice of the Customer programme success and failure?

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