Best practice companies are not only listening to Voice of the Customer, but they are using that feedback to increase customer retention and loyalty, solve customer challenges and develop new products and services. They are also using new technologies to streamline surveys and feedback management programs to gain a better understanding of why customers do business with them.
From our experience working with them, here are nine habits that make them successful:
1. Well-defined goals and objectives: Successful VOC managers know what overall business objectives are at stake, why they are collecting the data and how they are going to use that data to make decisions.
2. Executive buy-in and internal support: Successful practitioners work alongside the executive team in communicating and sharing important customer feedback and VOC program goals and objectives with all employees.
3. A formal VOC program: Managers who follow best practices set up multiple communication channels for customers to communicate with the company. They help create and implement formal processes to support customer feedback data collection and management efforts.
4. Centrally collected and managed customer feedback: Top managers use technology to not only centrally collect, store and manage feedback, but to also design and conduct surveys.
5. Customer advocate throughout the feedback process: Leading VOC practitioners rapidly and courteously respond to customer feedback. Serious complaints and unhappy survey responses are automatically escalated to the right senior person.
6. Communicate/share customer feedback with others: Best practices include quickly distributing real-time customer feedback and sharing reports and survey data findings with others in the organization—from the c-suite to top line managers and employees.
7. Collect real-time, ongoing feedback: Successful customer feedback managers make it easy for customers to submit feedback at virtually every interaction point and regularly conduct surveys to monitor customer needs and concerns.
8. Customer feedback is integrated into the business: Top managers also work with other departments throughout their organization to ensure that the customer feedback they collect is incorporated into the company’s strategic planning and goal setting efforts.
9. Tie customer feedback programs to business outcomes: The best VOC managers measure and monitor customer-related metrics such as customer retention, average number of products purchased, likelihood to recommend the company’s products or services, likelihood to purchase again, etc. They also benchmark their programs against other industry leaders.
Regardless of whether customer feedback is managed by a single person or multiple people in an organization, or even a third-party provider, companies need to ensure that they are putting the right VOC programs and processes in place to support their organization’s collection, management and use of that data. A well-organized VOC program will demonstrate a measurable improvement to the corporate bottom line.
Chris Cottle is EVP of Marketing and Products for Allegiance.