Providing the service that customers are looking for and meeting their increasingly demanding needs is key to business success today. Understanding exactly what customers want is therefore critical for organisations, which is why more and more are implementing or expanding Voice of the Customer (VoC) programmes.
The Contact Babel Inner Circle Guide to the Voice of the Customer, sponsored by Enghouse Interactive, highlights this trend, as well as providing an in-depth analysis of the state of the market. It outlines how companies can successfully embrace the Voice of the Customer, and the benefits this delivers.
Research carried out for the guide found that the 41% of B2C organisations ranked customer experience as the most important factor that they wanted to compete on, ahead of quality (31%) and price (27%). Improving CX and therefore increasing profitability relies on understanding your customers, which in turn requires an effective VoC programme.
The guide lists six key questions to focus on for VoC success – which we’ve highlighted in this blog, along with responses, based on our experience in the market.
Start by defining your strategy – what are the business questions that you want to get answered? From that, you can create questions to ask your customers – either directly, or by analysing the digital interactions they have with you. Many organisations begin by measuring metrics such as NPS or CSAT – while these give a useful measure of satisfaction, they can be limited. You can see how satisfied customers are, but not necessarily why they have given the score that they have – or how you can improve.
Therefore, look to collect information at a more granular level to understand in detail what is impacting CX. From knowing what customers like and dislike you will get ideas for changes that you can make. And by starting at this level you can achieve measurable results that build momentum and can then be rolled out more fully.
Every organisation is different, but the key to VoC success is to connect the customer to the business. Collect information about specific pain-points, along with verbatim customer comments and use them to show how making changes based on insight can move the needle on business and satisfaction metrics. Demonstrating the bottom-line benefits will bring senior management on-side and show the practical advantages that VoC brings.
Analysing quantitative data is obviously easier and less complex than focusing on open-ended, text-based qualitative answers. Understanding satisfaction scores is consequently simpler to achieve for those with fewer resources and provides a benchmark to focus the organisation around.
However, the wider spread of text analytics means that analysing and understanding exactly what customers are saying is increasingly within the range of every contact centre. Look at how you can analyse digital interactions (such as emails or chat sessions) to pick out trends and areas for improvement – this will deliver ROI that should more than cover your investment in analytics technology.
Your VoC programme should be designed to spot problems at two levels within your business – across the entire customer journey and also at specific ’moments that matter’. Therefore, you need to understand what customers think of the overall experience you offer, and how it can be improved. You also need to be able to drill-down into particular areas within that journey and highlight problems. For example, it could be that customers are generally happy with purchasing from you, but that the check-out process could be improved as it is confusing and slows down the journey. By measuring at a top-level and in detail you can spot bumps in the customer road that can be addressed.
As with any ongoing exercise, the more closely your VoC programme is aligned with business objectives, and the greater the buy-in it has from senior management, the more successful it will be. There must be a clear process for turning the data you collect into actionable insight – and ensuring that this is distributed to the right teams within the business to drive change.
In terms of pitfalls over-surveying customers, particularly if they don’t see the benefits of responding, is a major one. That’s why analysing digital interactions is a useful way of adding to VoC information, but without burdening customers unnecessarily. You also need to ensure everyone in the organisation, particularly front-line staff, are bought into the programme to see its advantages. Otherwise, they may well pay lip service to it and treat asking for feedback as a chore, rather than an opportunity for improvement.
First-generation VoC programmes relied on customers filling in surveys, which limited the feedback that could be collected and analysed. The positive news is that companies are now able to collect a much wider range of feedback from digital interactions, social media and other channels – and that AI provides the power to quickly and accurately analyse these enormous volumes of data and turn them into actionable insight. This makes VoC much more comprehensive and valuable to the business.
To learn more about the Voice of the Customer and how it can help your business, download the full Contact Babel Inner Circle Guide to the Voice of the Customer, sponsored by Enghouse Interactive here.