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Six tips for developing successful voice of customer programs

15 Aug 2016

Predictions from Walker Information's Customers 2020 report that customer experience will be more important than price and product as key brand differentiators. This experience will influence customer value, referrals and customer churn. As such, voice of customer (VoC) programs are where organisations should be putting more focus, according to Qualtrics.

Brand development and revenue growth both rely on customer feedback, so a closed-loop VoC program is a must for organisations that need to collect, analyse and act on customer data, Qualtrics says.

“An effective VoC program will drive competitive advantage and can help marketers gain a seat at the executive table. However, marketers should be aware of the common pitfalls that could hold them back from executing an effective program," says Bill McMurray, Managing Director, Asia Pacific and Japan, Qualtrics.

1. Take ownership of your VoC program. Don't rely on outside expertise

“The best practice is for marketers to take control of their VoC programs to drive a customer-driven organisational culture. This does not mean that marketers have to do everything, but they do have to take control. It is only when companies exercise full control over all parts of their VoC programs that can they gain a competitive advantage," McMurray explains.

2. Start small

Marketers should develop and build out VoC programs in a 'modular' fashion, Qualtrics believes. Trying to capture too much at once can be an irrelevant method and can distract from the program's focus.

McMurray said, “Marketers need to be careful not to try and boil the ocean, but rather start with an initial focused program, learn, iterate and scale by adding more elements and metrics as their understanding of the customers becomes more sophisticated and their capabilities grow," McMurray explains.

3. Create leadership buy-in

Marketers must convince leaders about the importance of customer-centric programs, gain support and encouragement.

4. Engage employees

Employees are the core deliverers of customer service, therefore increasing employee engagement scores can be a quick way to improve customer engagement scores. Engaged employees provide better customer service, Qualtrics believes.

5. Be proactive, not reactive

Conduct market research to find out what customers want, deliver more than what customers expect and delight clients. Reactive organisations just 'put out fires', and cannot properly follow up on negative feedback or customer dissatisfaction.

6. Take action on customer feedback

Organisations that don't do anything about customer feedback are hurting their brand, as “Customers will be more easily put off your brand because you didn’t respond to their feedback rather than by an initial poor experience," McMurray explains.

With these tips, VoC programs can deliver relevant and tangible insights about how customers engage with organisations and the brands they represent.

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