In the era of the customer, whereas the “voice of the customer” (VOC) comes magnified in an unprecedented manner powered by Social media and market collaboration powers.
Now in this new era and in association with social media, a simple post can result in a massive impact on both the brand positioning and the revenues of any service provider!
Companies can easily face a huge snowball based on one experience that hasn’t been given the right attention. Advertising campaigns are also being more careful and less over promising.
Historically, the VOC program notion has been in place since almost 1920 famously known as the “Market Research” mostly with a commercial focus. Currently, it is now updated with the new Customer Experience Insights’ flavours.
The coupling between VOC and customer experience (CX) represented a perfect match and a great win-win to both customers and marketers. Customer experience as a science and a function has heavily relied on VOC as the main pillar in many of the instances resulting in the development of ICE (Improving Customer Experience ongoing programs).
In this regard, we can list many successful organisations who adopted this approach and has really transformed successfully (examples for that are: evolution of Amazon and its policies, Zappos strong success story, and many other known examples as well).
VOC has as well considered the dimension of the customer touch points across important customer journeys and has as well considered customer personas and profiles (what used to be referred to as segments). VOC has included inputs from customer engagement programs that are based on face-to-face customer meetings and customer advisory boards as well.
The customer advisory board programs came in fulfilment to the recent trends of customer engagement with high acceptance from customers due to its relatively prestigious nature. The advisory board programs/customer clubs have contributed also successfully with valuable inputs to the VOC and not surprisingly, it has increased customers’ loyalty and affinity.
In general, VOC sources are diverse starting from the typical periodical customer surveys, transactional surveys via mobile apps or SMS, the system reports on customer related operations, all the way up till meeting & listening to staff facing the customers, even including customers’ face to face meetings.
All the DATA and information obtained from various sources importantly requires normalisation efforts, whereas the following aspects are to be considered:
1- The frequency of surveying customers, whereas repeated surveys represent a customer pain (if not managed with enough lag periods) not forgetting the length of surveys aspect as well.
2- Feedback obtained from internal staff requires normalisation to purify the input from work-pressure communicated issues for a more vivid picture.
3- The variance between transactional survey and periodical research surveys, where mostly transactional survey tends to get lower scores due to its microscopic nature.
4- The sympathy with face to face customer meetings requires the correct mapping of the customer segment and the segregation between one time cases and chronic issues
5- A need to create a linkage between the customer social media status and its value segmentation for the proper prioritisation and attention
6- The importance of termination reasons integration into the VOC report despite their end of relation with the service provider.
7- Putting adequate efforts on trying to uncover the hidden side (psychological/emotional dimension) in the customers’ minds for picture completion.
Most importantly is to formulate the VOC program, produce it periodically, and to communicate it to the relevant stakeholders for actions with a concrete program management.
It is important to note that in many incidents, VOC witnesses repulsion due to the speculated undesired outcomes via internal teams, which got to be managed as an opportunity for optimisation rather than a reporting mechanism to penalise certain functions.
Another key concept is to engage the company executives and back end teams (non-customer interfacing) via particular programs to touch base with the customers, and customer interfacing staff. This also serves as an empowerment and employee engagement tool.
The main aspect here is to manage the loop/cycle of detecting optimisation potentials, communicating the needed action spots, and re-measuring the impact on the Customer satisfaction in an ongoing sense.