How to Enrich Your Voice of the Customer Program

Are your voice of the customer (VoC) programs falling short? If so, you might want to take a look at some of these beyond-the-survey strategies.

According to a recent Forrester podcast, succeeding with voice of the customer (VoC) can be a struggle: only 12% of customer experience (CX) pros give their program a maturity rating of high or very high. Today’s programs are often survey-obsessed, flooding customers with unwanted survey emails while failing to show value.

Treasure troves of customer insights are waiting to be unearthed, especially in the contact center, according to Forrester analyst Colleen Fazio. She said companies can make big progress by closing the loop with customers.

“Our research shows that just reaching out can reduce churn by double digits,” Fazio said. “Internally, start sharing positive feedback in addition to negative, like Amex does. This can improve employees’ perceptions of the program and make them more willing to change behaviors and processes based on the program’s recommendations.”

Below are four other ways to improve a company’s VoC program.

1. Break out of the Survey Mentality

Voice of the customer programs with any degree of history will have surveys as a foundational pillar, said Rick Blair, Verint vice president of product strategy, experience management. The organization might also be conditioned to continuously ask the customer experience/VoC team to “add this question” to a survey to get more insights.

By layering in an opt-in feedback program, which uses a universal tab or embedded link, a company enables customers to engage or provide feedback on their own terms, which is superior to the traditional survey approach, according to Blair.

“Opt-in feedback tends to be context-specific, asking questions you’d expect to see based on the page or step you’re in during the experience,” he explained. “It also tends to be respectful of the user — it doesn’t force you to leave the experience, generally doesn’t ask more than a question or two and is user-initiated. There’s also no multi-page, branching logic to prolong the agony.”

The right feedback solutions can also be highly actionable, Blair added. “The feedback collected is focused on a specific page or step and includes enough data to troubleshoot issues. For example, the device type, browser and OS version all help quickly identify common patterns and do it without asking a single question.”

Related Article: We Listen to Our Customers. Really?

2. Form Council Groups

While surveys still have some value, there are better ways to get a true VoC picture, according to Vaclav Vincalek, virtual CTO and founder of 555vCTO.

“Voice of Customer programs are ineffective because people running these programs don’t actually talk to, or listen to, the voice of the target audience: the customer,” said Vincalek. “In the name of scalability and technology, the VoC programs are just surveys with questions that are created by people who have not actually spoken to customers in real life.”

One way to improve VoC is to create customer counsel groups and invite your customers for in-person sessions, he continued. “It demonstrates your commitment to the VoC process and shows how much you value your customers. And it will give your company a leg up over the competition.

“Imagine sitting in a room with users of your product, and learning about problems that you never knew existed — all because you gave your customers a place to express their opinions through conversation, rather than clicking a bunch of 1 to 10 scale questions.”

3. Employ Passive Analytics

A variety of passive analytics systems are also great alternatives to traditional surveys, according to Blair.

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