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Voice of the Customer programme: listening or lip service?

The Voice of the Customer is attracting a lot of focus in our industry at the moment. But how many contact centres are actually gaining real benefits from their investment in capturing customer feedback?

We recently conducted some research, to be published in our forthcoming multichannel benchmark study, which suggested that many contact centres are coming unstuck in their efforts to capture the customer voice.

Our study shows that just one in four contact centres say customer feedback from all channels is integrated in a single system to develop a single view of customer feedback. However, the fact is that capturing customer feedback is no longer enough - it must be listened to, interpreted, shared with the right people and acted upon quickly in order to provide value. Yet this is impossible when it is stored in organisational silos.

The following five tips, which were recently published by CustomerThink, will help you develop a voice of the customer programme that will deliver real benefits for your business:

  1. Be specific about desired outcomes – It might sound obvious but it’s amazing how many VoC programmes fail in this respect. Be clear about what you want to get from your programme. Make sure you know what change you want to bring about and what you are specifically looking for. Set out long term and medium reactions to customer experiences and how you’re going to use this insight to adapt your programme.
  2. Capture the big picture – There is absolutely no point in capturing customer feedback in silos. It’s how it all fits together into the bigger picture that provides the most valuable insights. Remember that not all channels are suitable for every purpose, but look for trends, consistency or perhaps inconsistency and identify areas where you can build stronger relationships with your customers.
  3. Involve your agents – This is perhaps the most overlooked area and one that can have the greatest impact. Too often customer feedback surveys become tick box exercises with very little human element. The voice of your agents should reflect the voice of the customer; their work gives them a visceral understanding of symptoms of failure in the journey.
  4. Close the loop – understand and act on the feedback where you can. The cause of frustration can be a simple defect in an existing process or journey, but this doesn’t mean the journey needs to be completely reinvented. If you identify the critical problems quickly you can close the loop on individual issues while working on the longer-term plans in parallel. If a customer gives feedback about a particular issue, make sure you go back and tell them that their feedback is being taken seriously and what is being done about it.
  5. Be real – The biggest cause of so-called ‘survey fatigue’ is consumer cynicism. How would you feel about giving feedback over and over again if nothing ever changes? Make sure customers know that this is not just a tick box exercise and be honest.

This blog is an edited version of an opinion piece published on CustomerThink on 16th February. Click here to read the full version.

To find out more about the findings of our multichannel research, read the full Multichannel Maze Report.