The do’s and don'ts of voice of customer programs

From measuring impact to understanding customer stages, there’s a treasure trove of things to consider when crafting the perfect VOC


The Don'ts

Now that you know some of the steps to take on the journey toward success in the world of VOC, here’s some crucial things to avoid.

Seek the permanent fix

InMoment’s Park dished out tips on the strategy front, saying don’t “fall into the trap” that just because you get  feedback from customers that the customer experience will improve.

“Many companies start out with a great strategy, but they forget that this is a never-ending journey. Don't think that because you create your program and launch a feedback and reporting technology once, that you will permanently fix your customer experience,” he said. “Strategies have to be updated and continually refined to ensure the program continues to create the customer-centric culture needed to address the ever-evolving needs of your customers.”

Wait for perfect

Another thing is not to wait for a “perfect strategy” to act. “You can wait forever refining your strategy.  Move forward now with what you have and refine as you go,” Park said.  

In the same vein, Bowman warned organisations from getting too bogged down in the technology.

“There's lots of ways to provide feedback. Work within your budget. It's more about the actions you take based on the feedback and not just the method of feedback capture - the action should be the hard part.”

Get stuck on numbers and measurement

Bowman also advised marketers not to use a percentage  calculation for the final NPS score.

“It's an absolute number where you deduct once percentage (detractors) from another percentage (promoters) so your final NPS Score is a range between -100 and +100. Also, whilst you can benchmark between similar industries, there is no such thing as a good or bad score initially as it's a measure of progress over time and not a magic number that says your company is good or bad.”  

Getting caught up in the methodologies is another big mistake. “In the past, I've set customer effort questions up totally against convention which provided the same strategic outcome,” Bowman said.

“I changed a customer effort response options for the question  ‘Brand X made it easy for me to register today’ to yes or no instead of the usual ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’ range and got the same benefits.”

Also on the numbers front, Tyler urged marketers to be careful not to tie management bonuses to NPS targets prematurely, which many large companies have done in order to give their VOC programs “teeth”.

“Action is more important than precision, but don’t compensate your employees on the ‘score’ or ‘score improvements’ without confirming the changes are real, not random. So don’t ignore the maths,” he said.   

Changes in NPS/customer satisfaction scores can be due to random sampling variations, not real changes, Tyler suggested. “If bonuses are based on random chance they are de-motivating, so run statistical significance tests to make sure improvements/mistakes are real before paying or denying bonuses. The maths needed is well established and straightforward.”

And finally, don’t try to compare the company’s VOC scores to other industries, other brands or the same industry in other cultures.

“Internal improvements or decreases are what matters. Your own performances are the best benchmarks,” he added.

Ask too many questions

Additionally, Bowman said avoid asking too many questions - and particularly don’t ask questions you already know.

“If you're going to do a discovery survey, don't waste your customers’ time by asking them information you already have just because you couldn't be bothered sorting out the technology requirements,” he said. “One thing that guarantees a lower completion and submission rate is asking too many questions because you asked them things you already know.” 

By the same token, don’t assume getting feedback is a waste of time because it will only attract complaints, Bowman said.

“Remember, customers complain because they actually care about their relationship with you - so you should too,” he said. “Also, you'll find that it's rare to have more complaints compared to compliments, so it's always worth getting customer feedback.”

Succumb to analysis paralysis

What’s also important is not to avoid action by analysing endlessly before you change process, staff training, adjust rosters or vary products.

“Make changes and measure changes in customer feedback. If you get it wrong, learn and adjust again,” Tyler said.  

Park agreed taking action is the most essential component of a successful and comprehensive VoC program, and a place many brands fail.

“While it seems like the obvious outcome of all of this work, many brands struggle to take action on what they find in their customer data. Sometimes, it's a matter of institutional commitment or leadership,” he said.

“However, many times the problem lies in not having the required discipline around the first three processes. A weak data set won't give you strong intelligence, and sharing less-than-compelling insights doesn't instill confidence or inspire action. Each piece of the puzzle is essential, and taken together, can provide a powerful guidance system for your business.” 

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

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