Customer Experience News & Trends

Most VoC programs stink: Here’s why – and how to do better

Most organizations solicit feedback from customers with plans to use it for the better. Then, most organizations fail to do anything worthwhile with it, found new research.

Two thirds of companies say their Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs — gathering, analyzing and using customer feedback — don’t deliver financial results, a recent IntelliResponse Systems, Inc., survey found.

Some issues arise from the ways organizations gather customer feedback — from surveys and post-call questionnaires to focus groups and interviews. More problems come from companies’ failure to act on what customers have said, experts at IntelliResponse say.

Here are the four biggest problems with VoC programs — and how you can avoid them:

1. Information is gathered in silos

Focus groups are a great way to get mounds of real customer insight. But it’s difficult to correlate it with more quantitative measures such as rated surveys and buying patterns. On the flip side, the quantitative data is often easy to read, but it doesn’t tell the whole story, because there’s no emotion in the numbers. The problem is the data on both sides ends up sitting alone.

In another case, information ends up in silos because one department surveys customers on their processes and experiences and another does it, too. Then the two sets of data aren’t integrated to provide a bigger picture.

A better approach: Customer feedback should come from one centralized location (perhaps Marketing). Every area of the organization that wants or needs feedback must be part of the process — because in the end, they’ll need to act on the data — but their involvement should be behind the scenes in the gathering phase.

2. Important, unstructured data is overlooked

Structured data — such as transactional information — fits nicely into rows, columns and charts, and is easy to read and seemingly easy to understand.

On the other hand, unstructured data — often culled from Facebook posts, conversations between customers and service reps, email exchanges and chats — isn’t so tidy. So it’s often “nice to know” and spread throughout the organization for morale purposes, but isn’t used seriously in VoC programs.

A better approach: Put more structure into unstructured data. Break down comments based on the topics you create for the structured data (e.g., satisfaction with a transaction, employee or outcome). Include customer comments with structured data to uncover the emotions involved in the numbers.

3. Information is not acted on

Nearly every organization goes through the process of gathering customer feedback. But more than half say they don’t systemically act on the insights or pass along reports to different groups within in their organizations, the IntelliResponse survey found.

A better approach: The groups and individuals who were involved and interested in gathering feedback need to be involved in breaking down the results in ways that make sense to everyone in their area. They want to take the “Big Data” appearance out of data so they can find practical ways to improve based on the feedback.

4. It takes too long

Gathering and analyzing customer feedback is often the secondary job of a person or department. Then it drops in priority when other things come up.

A better approach: Any time you plan a VoC initiative, set a timeline for it that includes when changes based on feedback will be instituted and customers will be notified of the improvements made based on their feedback.

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