Posted: 18th June 2013

Why must the Voice of the Customer drive your strategy?

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Too many businesses are unable to answer the simple question ‘Why do some customers stay longer and spend more whilst others leave in a blaze of apathy?’

If we fail to listen to our customers and assume we have all the answers we will end up with quality-driven well intentioned but ultimately dis-jointed efforts to improve our customers experience. Will it be effective? in short, no.

We know the consequences: if a customer’s experience is consistently poor and if they are asked their opinion and subsequently ignored quite simply they will become someone-else’s customer.

Customers take a holistic view of the business which they buy from. They do not differentiate between the internal functions and business units responsible for delivering whatever service or product they have purchased, they just want to deal with a single person capable of handling their experience.

It is fundamental the VoC program has a clear, focused strategy which is directly aligned to the organisation’s commercial goals and is designed to permeate all aspects of the business; every business unit, every function, segment and every management level. If it doesn’t, the VoC program’s success will be limited and most likely temporary.

Using the voice of the customer to change a business from a product to a customer focus is not achieved overnight. Whatever the metric used to monitor progress whether it is Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Score (CES) or a combination of measures, improvements take time. Without a clear strategy and ownership of the CEO it will be an uphill struggle for the VoC program to start to change the culture of the business.

Investing in a VoC program is fundamentally the same as any other business initiative. It must be focused, measurable and produce a tangible return in investment. There are just too many companies who listen to their customers but have limited ability to drive improvements based on their feedback.

Our VoC research which spanned 30 countries and six sectors highlighted that only 8% of leading businesses are able to use their customer feedback to drive true business change. The lack of an aligned VoC strategy which is championed by the CEO is one of the failings of the 92%.

As Edward Deming said – “It is not enough to work hard. You must know what to do, and then work hard”.

Never before have customers been so forthcoming about their views, and the modern CX landscape features dozens of time-tested channels for gathering customer insight.

In short, there can be no excuses!

For more resources on developing a strategy aligned with customer goals, visit the Maru/Syngro Publications section.

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