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Voice of Customer Matures, But…

It has been a joy to watch our clients’ Voice of Customer initiatives season and mature over the last few years. Some things do get better with age, and a finely-honed VoC initiative is no exception.

With a solid VoC initiative underway and having firmly established their guidance as critical to their organization’s success, many mature VoC teams are turning to more sophisticated analysis, reporting and forecasting. They are looking for opportunities for continuous improvement. I applaud these efforts and will be thrilled to see what 2012 brings to these VoC pioneers and their programs. 

Remember to Sweat the Small Stuff

This is a reminder, however, to continue sweating the small stuff. Specifically, I mean reacting to tactical customer feedback in a prompt fashion: Addressing customer concerns and complaints swiftly and sincerely with empathy, and responding quickly to customer compliments to reinforce their enthusiasm.

That’s right. No fancy predictive modeling, no sponsored conference presentations, nothing to earn the kudos of the c-suite. Just plain old customer responsiveness. Actually picking up the phone to say “I hear ya” customer collaboration. It’s not glossy, but it’s simple and effective, and builds the bread-and-butter foundation to a solid, comprehensive customer voice program. Allow me to share a recent example. 

The Power of the Prompt Response 

Background: I had a large volume of “construction debris” and a broken-down pickup truck rendered me unable to remove this debris alone.  I called a national junk removal company, unsure of what to expect.

Here is how events unfolded on pick-up day. 

Timeframe:  

9:30 AM:  Thirty minutes before arrival, the movers provide a “courtesy call” to remind me they are on their way.

10:00 AM:  Promptly at their scheduled time, the movers arrive in a clean, tidy truck.  They are neatly dressed and well groomed and greet me in a very professional manner.

10:20 AM:  My junk is loaded in a truck and we are finishing paperwork and payment.

10:31 AM:  A very delighted Sarah logs a short compliment on the junk remover’s website under the “contact us” link.

I just used your service for the first time. Your movers were polite, courteous, professional and prompt. They quickly eliminated a bunch of junk we had collected. I am so pleased with your work, happy to have our junk gone, delighted with your customer service, and certain to recommend you to our friends and family. KUDOS! 

10:57 AM:  The junk hauler replies to Sarah’s commentary!

Hello Sarah,
Thank you very much for taking the time to provide your positive feedback for the service you received today. We have shared your feedback with “Mitch” and “Rico” who helped remove your items today. We are extremely happy that we were able to assist you in cleaning up your home and look forward to providing
service to you in the future.

Thank you and have a great day! 

Wow! Count the time elapse. Thirty-six minutes to reply to my website comment. That’s responsive customer service. That’s being open to customer feedback and passionate about providing the best experience for the customer. That’s taking a simple event and leveraging it to make a happy customer a delighted customer. This company could have just stopped at doing a good job with their core service (showing up and taking my junk away), but instead they went the extra mile to follow up on my commentary and prove they are a customer-focused, listening organization. In the weeks following this interaction, I told everyone with ears about this experience with this junk hauling company and recommended them with enthusiasm. 

Bottom Line: Keep Focused on Tactical Wins

As your VoC initiative seasons and matures, you may find yourself increasingly focused on big-picture design and strategy. Through this maturity process, don’t forget to also focus on tactical customer wins. In other words, don’t get your head so high in the war that you begin losing day-to-day battles.

If a junk-hauler’s front-line staff can get me promoting their services to anyone who will listen, just imagine what your company can do.