Beyond Hearing, We’re Conversing
This article originally appeared in a special section of CRM Magazine, “So, How do I Hear the Voice of the Customer” |May 2015 | Click here for a PDF version.
Some companies see Voice of the Customer (VOC) as data. Some companies consider VOC a process. Some think of VOC as a measurement that is part of a much bigger Customer Experience (CX) program. A classic definition of Voice of the Customer is the process by which you collect, analyze, and understand customer data. The dictionary definition of VOC is the in-depth process of capturing a customer’s expectations, preferences, and aversions.
Data, process, measurement, collection — yes, VOC is all of these things. But wait. What about action? A successful VOC program requires collecting, centralizing, and acting on customer feedback. All three elements are critical. The issue is that far too many companies are only good at capturing voice of the customer data, but they struggle to turn those insights into action. Today’s customers demand their voices not only be heard but responded to, in order to improve their individual experiences. If their feedback appears to fall on deaf ears, there’s surely a competitor waiting just around the corner to make them feel valued.
Don’t let it come to that!
A key to becoming a customer-centric business is the ability turn voice of the customer data into action by combining a feedback solution with the power of CRM. Integrating these solutions enables you to respond quickly and appropriately to keep customers engaged. This transforms what may have been perceived as isolated “VOC data” into an actual competitive advantage.
AUTOMATE THE FLOW OF VOC DATA INTO CRM
We suggest using a feedback or survey solution that automatically integrates VOC data into CRM where it can be visible and actionable across the organization. You’ll make your service agents’ lives much easier by automating neutral responses, for example, sending follow-up emails based on different survey responses. But in other cases, such as a low satisfaction score, you can set up alerts to notify support/service staff to place an immediate customer care call. Or, on the positive side, if you receive a particularly glowing product review, you may ask that client to be the subject of a marketing case study.
Consider these words of wisdom from Clicktools CEO, David Jackson, “Retention happens one customer at a time.”
Empowering agents to focus their valuable time on unsatisfied customers who need quality one-to-one interactions brings this to life. Stepping outside the boundaries of stiff business language for a moment, how else might we describe “one-to-one interactions?” Yes, these are known as conversations! And that’s the ticket. What if we were to reframe the idea of simply “hearing” the voice of the customer and instead begin to converse with customers, using VOC input as a launch pad for that dialogue. This is a surefire way to become a more flexible, transparent, and trusted organization — a great way to develop a more empowered, energized staff and to increase customer loyalty.
CONVERSATIONS ARE NOT A WASTE OF TIME OR MONEY
Utilizing VOC data as a way to engage customers in conversations is not just a touchy-feely trend. It translates into real dollars.
According to customer experience expert, John Goodman, “A customer problem, on average across all industries, decreases customer loyalty by 20 percent. This means that for every five customers who have problems, one will be lost the next time they make a marketplace decision… Problem prevention is much cheaper than winning new customers” (Clicktools Blog, December 2014).
So, a final word on why to convince your organization that simply “hearing” the voice of the customer is not enough. VOC data is one of the most valuable assets you can get your hands on. But that’s just the beginning. From there, empower your organization across departments to connect with customers. Launch ongoing dialogue that improves their experience and your business. This ensures high customer loyalty and generates the obvious financial benefits of developing authentic relationships — much more rewarding than a one-way feedback program.