Knowing what your customers think and how they feel about you is a key factor in driving company success.
Voice of the Customer (VoC) programmes are not just about collecting statistics, they should be insightful and have a strategic impact on the business. It is often difficult to measure the direct ROI of a VoC programme but we at Bsquared have learned that there are several crucial elements to VoC success within a B2B organisation.
The key success factors are:
- CEO sponsorship, interest and involvement
- A clear purpose and objectives; VoC initiatives form part of an overall customer insight strategy
- Employees are fully engaged in the process
- Results are regularly shared throughout the organisation
Board level support
VoC programmes may have some success at a functional level, usually driven by Marketing. Results can be presented and shared within the organisation and changes made at a tactical level. Real success happens when the CEO, or the senior management team, takes an integral part in driving and promoting the VoC initiative.
Tactical VoC programmes are likely to sprout up at various points throughout the organisation. VoC is not only about customer satisfaction surveys or NPS (Net Promoter Scores) though - customers make contact through customer services, on social media and there is almost always a customer touchpoint in the accounts department. This is valuable data which can be gathered and analysed to check customer status and sentiment. At the other end of the spectrum, your sales team / account managers will be regularly talking to customers; taking them through the onboarding process, encouraging repeat purchase, and communicating with customers to build loyalty. Taking account of all of these points of contact on the customer journey will give a rich, rounded view of the customers level of engagement. Any VoC programme should take all of these into account and have clear, measurable objectives within the overall customer insight strategy.
Empowered employees who are trusted with a level of responsibility to solve customers problems will not only make the customer journey easier but contribute to the motivation and engagement of staff. Customer data, especially that which is not part of day-to-day customer interactions, shared with employees can generate interesting feedback.
The results and outcomes of a VoC programme cannot exist in a vacuum. To promote organisational change, details must be shared and distributed throughout the organisation. Clearly, the areas affected by customer driven organisational change will be involved, but also VoC results can contribute to employee engagement through highlighting any specific actions which have helped a customer and sharing interesting customer information through company newsletters and internal websites.
A VoC programme can be anything from gathering customer insight through a simple customer satisfaction survey to uncovering deep customer insights that improve capability and drive strategic and operational decisions. Insights gained from VoC activites can open up new opportunities, improve customer loyalty and help maintain a competitive advantage.
There is no doubt that companies with strong VoC programmes have significantly better overall business performance than competitors and recognise customer engagement as one of their main value drivers. Those organisations that have reached a level of maturity with their customer engagement regularly use customer insights to fuel continuous improvement programmes, respond quickly to severe problems and even anticipate them in some cases.
Senior executives in these organisations typically review feedback and use VoC insights to help guide their own decisions and manage risk.