What do my customers ………
Have a hankering for?
Simple questions with difficult answers. Where do you get the answers? Most would suggest going to the source, your customers, and I agree. Many companies today utilize Voice of the Customer [VoC] programs to help them “listen” to their customers. And they should, as companies with top 20% VoC programs report (Aberdeen Group)
- 10X YoY increase in company revenue compared to all others
- 55% greater customer retention rates
- Spend 23% less on customer service
- Have 292% better employee engagement rates
If you have a VoC program or are interesting in building one, where are all the places you should “listen” to their voice? It is much more than just surveys.
But let’s start with Surveys. At a minimum, companies should be surveying their customers at some point pre and post purchase. The most common and prolific survey are Net Promoter Surveys “How likely would you be to recommend our product/service to a friend, family member, or colleague?”. Usually companies will ask more than just NPS questions within that same survey, such Customer Satisfaction [CSat] or level of effort from a customer [CES}, and collect verbatims.
Marketing Research Surveys (Qualtrics recommended types)
- Market Description Surveys
- Market Profiling-Segmentation Surveys
- Stage in Purchase Process Surveys
- Customer Intention Surveys
- Attitudes and Expectations Surveys
- Customer Trust
- New Product
Incident or Transaction Surveys – After customer service interactions, whether it be with a human or through self service, transaction or incident surveys attempt to capture the customer’s experience while trying to solve a problem, answer a question, or request service from a company. Incident surveys can collect information that explains where customer’s pain points are and sample volume of a particular issue.
2. Phone Trees, Agent Dispositioning, Email and Chat Reason Codes
By contacting your service departments, customers are screaming:
- “This is a pain point!”
- “I cannot do this on my own!”
- “I have no idea what is going on!”
- Much, much more
Phone trees, agents entering in disposition codes, and customers entering in email and chat boxes their reason for contacting you are easy to calculate and specific behavioral feedback, your customers are providing you about their experience.
3. Search, Self Service, and Knowledge Bases
Another fantastic customer behavioral example of what they are interested in (learning, solving for, or possibly purchasing). Understanding what your customers are using your search box for is direct insight into your minds and hearts. Your self service tools and knowledge bases not only indicate what they are trying to solve for, but also can provide you with a relative idea of how they would like to solve their specific need. Also pay specific attention to issues that customers feel comfortable self solving versus issues that customers feel they need to reach out to a human directly.
4. Agent Feedback/Quality Monitoring Programs/Side by Sides
For many companies, this is the most direct source of customer information. While you may run into the sample size issue, VoC collectors will most certainly get the most flavor or feeling during these types of interactions. Recorded calls, tagged for specific issues, can provide on-demand color to executives, product managers, and technology specialists. Side by sides give key stakeholders the opportunity to hear/see customer interactions and usually allow for interactions with agents to fully understand more about situations.
5. Social Media
Probably the most real time, unbiased opportunity to capture and correspond with customers regarding their experience. Social media comments can collect information from anywhere in the customer journey – marketing, sales, purchase, service, loyalty, and advocacy. Social media listening tools can capture sentiment, topics, location, impressions, volatility, device preferences, circumstance, and many other critical to quality moments.
6. Messaging Response Rates
Which emails/texts/outbound calls are being opened or answered? By whom? At what time? On what platform or device?
7. Website User Experience Analysis
How do customers interact with your website? Where are their eyes and cursors point to? How many pages do they view? How many clicks does it take to take action? What is the typical flow?
Other critical notes to consider for your Voice of the Customer Program:
- A great VoC program is not siloed. It should be made up a everyone within the value chain, including HR, to be able to listen and also provide perspective. Cross functional teams that meet and act with a regular cadence “hear” best.
- Every VoC program needs an Executive Champion. VoC programs can be expensive (even just the people hours alone could be hundreds of thousands of dollars), a lengthy process, and process oriented, all of which can end a program quickly. Executive Championship provides security and assistance with a vision/direction.
- VoC programs have multiple data sources and types. Not all of your data sources will fit nicely with each other or exist in similar locations. Prepare to understand how to manage your data.
- Process Mapping can assist in common language usage and understanding. It can also assist in understanding cycle times, frequency, and identify all the impacted stakeholders of a customer’s experience. Whether you journey map or develop internal process flows, process management can make Voice of the Customer Programs take shape faster and with better results.
Michael Pace, Principal of The Pace of Service, believes successful customers and associates are what make companies wildly successful. Michael Pace was previously the Director of Customer Support & Community Management for Constant Contact & Capital One, and a leader in transforming customer service to exceed the needs of the customer, especially in this new social landscape. He is considered one of the country’s leading speakers and writers on the topic of social media customer service, and has created scalable, high quality social support environments. He is an active Board Member of the NorthEast Contact Center Forum, New England’s largest call center community. You can connect with Michael on Twitter @micpace and on LinkedIn. For more about Michael and The Pace of Service www.thepaceofservice.com