Lisa Kaufman was working at a company whose brand promise included a focus on trust and demonstrating value as a partner. The only problem? The company was increasing its customers’ pricing three times a year. She didn’t need to lead a voice of the customer program (VOC) to know that their feedback would be.
“If the customer’s experience doesn’t align with the brand promise, that’s a good indication of where to make changes,” Kaufman, former voice of the customer (VoC) director at global payment processing company Worldpay/FIS Global, told a virtual summit hosted by CX Network last week. “This can be a truly philosophical shift for a lot of executives.”
As a consultant based in Denver, Kaufman said It’s not merely a case of getting senior leadership teams to listen to the feedback data VOC teams collect. They also need to ensure they have the governance and change management programs in place so that changes can be made and customers can feel a difference in what they experience.
“There’s really an execution challenge,” she said. “Most executives don’t understand the discipline and how culture, communication, change management and all of these pieces really work. They think just collecting the data and sharing it out is enough.”
Nick Macfarlane, vice-president of customer engagement at Sky Ticket in Germany, agreed. VOC teams not only need to provide insight to senior executives, he said, but to determine how they can tailor it to specific business units such as marketing and sales. In other cases the filter on the voice of the customer is too narrow.
“Sometimes people who are tasked with setting up programs have a limited scope defined by the organization — they’re only listening to what that part of the organization wants to know about,” he said. “There are can also be limited ambition . . . it’s difficult to prove you can tell the business things they don’t already know — or that they think they don’t already know.”
At Sky Ticket, the CX team holds regular organized governance meetings that include people from each department who have been designated as CX champions.
“We actually set a goal for the year which was to complete 15 actions off the back of the data,” he said. “That really galvanized us as an organization. It wasn’t about, ‘What are we finding?’ It was, ‘What are we finding and what can we do with that?’”
BT customer experience manager Sam Phillips-Lord said it’s easier to take action on the data when it isn’t too coloured by preconceived ideas about a particular brand’s customer experience.
“VoC is taking out any internal bias or understanding about the organization and hearing from the customer’s perspective,” he said. “They don’t know why you do the things that you do, butt they know how it makes them feel.”
While VOC programs are often associated with survey data, the panelists said CX leaders should also pay close attention to other feedback mechanisms — especially the ones where customers come forward of their own accord.
“The contact centre holds extensive unsolicited, instructed data that is a much more holistic data set,” Kaufman said. “It’s worth looking at, can you apply text or speech analytics to get more insight from that?”
Macfarlane agreed, noting that Sky Ticket has monitored chat interactions that go through its contact centres to assess customer emotion and sentiment from the start of an interaction to the end.
“People think, ‘Oh, the contact centre is just where people go to complain. It’s not,” he said. Agents often make small talk or ask questions that a help identify preferred features or other aspects of an experience that are working, he said.
And beyond simply making customer’s lives better, VOC data is also conduit to better employee experiences as well, Kaufman added.
“It’s so much easier to coach people when you can say, ‘This is what the customer said,’ versus ‘this is what the boss said,’ or where an employe thinks, ‘the boss doesn’t like me,’” she said.
Shane Schick tells stories that help people innovate, and to manage the change innovation brings. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and Yahoo Canada and is the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.