VoC methodology is the starting point for buy-in and enthusiasm around customer insights. Do you want more executive support? . . . Less pressure to show financial gains? . . . Higher internal engagement in using customer insights for seamless journeys?

In this Part 2 of 3 article series, we’re building on the 8 points explained in Better Measurement: 8 Voice of Customer Keys to CX ROI. Start there and continue here in designing your VoC methodology:

VoC Methodology

9. Stop asking for feedback on every transaction
Consider how many transactions a customer has throughout their day. It’s exhausting for anyone to give feedback for all interactions daily. This is one reason for low response rates and poor etiquette in our society in general.

Better VoC Methodology: Instead, use common sense and technology to evaluate every transaction. Common sense? Yes, you know a lot from tone of voice and phrases used by the customer. Technology? Use real-time data-mining for staff coaching and aggregate data-mining for finding patterns for root cause analysis and permanent resolution.

10. Make it easy for them to give feedback anytime
Think about how you feel after a long queue and a long conversation. Ironically, certain circumstances may be a poor experience for customers to give feedback for the timing, format, or topics you request.

Better VoC Methodology: Instead, welcome feedback anytime, any way, about anything. Technology allows you to data-mine videos, audio, pictures, sketches, and text. When you listen to customers in their preferred format, timing, and topics, their experience is better and you learn a lot more. You’ll find these customer insights to be more informative and actionable to all areas of your enterprise. This is central to becoming more customer-centric, differentiated, efficient, effective, and prosperous.

11. Self-monitor root causes of success factors
When you have a sense of what bothers customers, why keep doing it? When you wait to find out, some opportunities are forever gone to make it right or do it right from the start.

Better VoC Methodology: Instead, mistake-proof what you’re doing. Keep a tally yourself of what you’re doing to ensure you don’t do what bothers customers. This practice is essential for both customer-facing and non-customer-facing roles. For prevalent issues, analyze the root causes and engage all involved in doing their part to prevent those causes from ever happening again.

12. Ask as often as you resolve poor CX
If nothing changed since the last time you asked for feedback, how does it make sense to check-in again?

Better VoC Methodology: Instead, rely on self-monitoring to proactively prevent issues. If you have accurately identified the root causes, you can be reasonably sure that what you’re tracking internally is what customers are experiencing externally. Once you solidly stop the root cause for all customers universally, ask about that prevalent issue to validate or refine your self-monitoring of success factors.

13. Expectations VoC (qualitative) is 1st priority
A huge reason for all of the above is lack of expectations research. When you’re unclear about expectations of different types of customers, you’re flying blind.

Better VoC Methodology: Instead of starting with ratings surveys, start data-mining customer comments you have on-hand. Discover their consequences when things don’t go well, and also when things do go well. Look for patterns. When different outcomes mean more in certain circumstances, see whether that’s a continuing outcome theme across the end-to-end journey. Find out what triggers those circumstances. What are the cues for you to recognize which customers are in which expectation groups? Make it easy for non-customer-facing groups to understand customer expectations. This way, they can amplify touchpoint efficiency and effectiveness.

14. Use almost-free VoC before asking for more
Customer data you have on-hand is almost-free VoC. When customers have interacted with you and you have records of it, why not make the most of that? It’s respectful and efficient. These insights may be even more insightful than survey data. Managers are overwhelmed with information overload, so it’s more important to maximize information usage without overloading them further.

Better VoC Methodology: Instead of asking a new survey or continuing a survey, make use of what you have to guide: (1) every department’s performance, including the senior leadership team’s decisions, (2) every cost efficiency effort, (3) every growth endeavor, and (4) every department’s strategy, including corporate strategy. When you track the percentage of these areas that are earnestly using customer insights, that’s your Insights Usage Rate. It may be one of the best indicators of customer-centric culture maturity.

15. Use almost-free VoC to make surveys more fun and rich
Most surveys are not customer-centric: phrases are about you instead of your customer, scales require explanation, timing is inconvenient, topics aren’t always what the customer wants to talk about, and so on.

Better VoC Methodology: Instead of over-focusing on trend data in your surveys to-date, analyze customer insights on-hand to discover phrasing they use. Change your surveys accordingly. It’s better to make VoC an awesome experience than to please someone internally with a trend line that they’re probably not acting upon anyway. Discover customers’ ways of judging whether something is good or not, and use that for more intuitive scales. When VoC is more fun for customers, response rates increase and insights are deeper and richer. This is instrumental for internal buy-in and engagement in continually increasing value.

16. Report forecasted top segment separately: you have to excel with them
Everyone in Marketing, Sales, and Finance is focusing first on a top customer segment they’ve identified as most lucrative for this year. When you don’t report VoC accordingly, it’s no wonder VoC and Customer Experience Managers seem out-of-sync or dispensable in hard times.

Better VoC Methodology: Instead of reporting VoC generally, highlight the top customer segment. When funds are tight, focus only on the top segment. Drive excellent performance with them: a 1-to-1 ratio between what they expect and what they experience. Your enterprise cannot afford to lose market share with that segment. What you learn in driving excellence with them is advantageous in doing the same for other customer segments.

Conclusion
You’re in customer experience to drive growth, right? Differentiate your VoC methodology with these superior practices as a pivotal step toward differentiating your brand and the end-to-end customer experience. Differentiation is at the heart of fastest, highest, and most sustainable growth.

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