Getting feedback from customers is just the start to improving business results. It’s doing the right things once it’s in your hands that virtually ensures success.
Most businesses solicit customers’ thoughts through surveys, comment cards, phone transcripts, letters, emails and website tracking. It’s a wide net to cast, and can be so overwhelming it actually paralyzes efforts to improve.
Meanwhile, a more formal voice of the customer (VOC) program can help capture, manage and act on the feedback across all the channels.
Stay in control
Here are some best practices for the newest VOC programs, according to the experts at Allegiance.
- Use all your channels. Customers like to have options for contacting you — that’s probably why you offer email, 800-numbers, live chat, etc., — so it makes sense to open up all those channels for their feedback. Use the same short survey across all channels so the results can be tallied together.
- Act immediately. Gather feedback on a regular and routine basis. While you don’t have to act on it every time, you must respond to it immediately. If customers mention issues, someone needs to contact them as soon as the feedback comes in.
- Put it in perspective. Remember that some information collected may correlate to the season, current conditions or a specific point in the customer cycle. Respond accordingly, but don’t make major changes based on temporary conditions.
- Be deliberate. Create a process for analyzing the data so you can spot trends and react to them, rather than just respond to individual pieces of feedback. When problematic trends are spotted, have a team ready to root out the causes of the issues — then respond to customers who were affected by them.
- Close the loop. Any time you collect customer feedback, thank customers for it, and then tell them what’s been done (or is being done) as a result. Never leave customers wondering if their time and opinions really mattered.
- Spread the word. Regularly update the entire company on what the customers have said and changes that have been made based on customer feedback. Connect the dots by showing the financial results of changes — positive and negative — and how customer satisfaction and loyalty have been affected.
You can learn more about creating and maintaining a VOC program from thought leaders and industry practitioners at the VoCFusion 2013 in Las Vegas May 14 to 17.