--By CB Rajesh--
VOC, the voice of customers is essentially the sentiment expressed by the customer basis their experience with the brand. Customers always have set of expectations with the product or services used and most of them are shaped basis how each brand positions their product or service and hence any variance therefore can lead to Positive, Neutral or Negative feedback. Customer experience a moment of truth each time they use a product or attempt a transaction, hence designing a product or service from that vantage point is critical. These experiences define whether the brand is creating promoters or detractors.
Organizations today run focused VOC program
to gauge customers sentiments and insights on their engagements. It is mostly conducted basis the journeys they would like to strengthen e.g. this may be the lead management, customer support or any other relationship engagements. Here companies can choose to measure a complete or a part of journey as per their business strategy. Currently a large number of organizations have deployed customer experience metrics like NPS, CSAT or CES and as part of their customer feedback mechanism and they also capture VOC’s basis the satisfaction ratings given by the customers. It is largely driven as part of the CX program deployed and its measurement by the brand. This takes the pilot seat as the VOC happens to be real word of mouth and influences the existing and prospect customers.
Another aspect of VOC that we often overlook are the day to day conversations taking place between organization and its customers. We capture this in CRM as inquiry, request or complaints (QRC) and address it promptly. In deeper sense it is also an abundant source of customer feedback and must be used as metadata for any VOC linked analytics carried out for overall improvements. Also, the data which is generated by customers basis their actions and preferences makes it a gold mine of information if we are willing to correlate and analyse. A simplified mapping of customer journey will unravel wealth of information, customer preferences and their needs that will shape any organization whether or not they are customer centric.
At the top of the pyramid there are broadly 3 sources through which VOC’s can be generated
1. CX metrics
2. Customer contact analysis
3. Customer support interactions
There are other sources as well through which customer VOC’s can be collected today, social media platforms enable a good view of customer sentiments. There are multiple avenues where customers could express by writing reviews, feedback and opinion. An alternate scope to analyse the VOC are from the people who are engaging with customers day and night, this is important from the point of view of customer support staff perceiving the issues and their ideas on how to fix it. People closer to the customer always have ingenious ideas on solving customer pain permanently.
VOC or voice of customers has a broad connotation at an organization level as it can be further subdivided into various stakeholder’s voice and this has a large implication or impact on its strategies. If we were to categorize it then would have 4 broad ones (Refer image / table 1.1)
The holistic VOC programs factors in voices from within and outside which influences organization strategies and its working culture. These voices serve as a dip check for the health and agility of each function or processes, their deployment design, frequency and execution may differ but their outcomes are always aligned to organizational goals and strategies.
VOC’s fundamentally helps one to understand the sentiments of customers post experiencing a product or service. It is the pure emotions and abstract thoughts generated on their experiences, which may be positive, neutral or negative and this may or may not correlate with the metric through which it is captured. In nutshell customer voice out their experience with organization in their own words and this can be used to improve the offerings.
VOC also helps monitor customer experience on day to day engagements that the customer does with any company. This may be complete journey or part of it and can be measured mostly through analysis of the data generated by customers action and engagement. It is imperative to assess whether the design and deliverables are working as planned or not. This also provides a unique opportunity to benchmark these experiences with competition and other category leaders.
Today almost every organization records numerous customer interaction in the form of inquiry, request and complaints and these interactions are categorized and handled as business as usual customer support transactions. If these transactions are treated as metadata for CX analysis
, then this is wealth of information available for discovery and enhancement of customer experience, product performance, customer support, reviews and feedback. This analysis is also central to initiating various customer experience improvement projects, end to end process analysis (E2EPA), customer journey mapping
(CJM) and Root cause analysis (RCA).
Converting VOC into action
Analysis of VOC is crucial and this needs to be done from the context of customer journey and its attributes, else you will have plenty of insights and may not have enough actionable for improvements. All data points, sentiments and feedback must be backed and analyzed basis specific journeys and to make it friction less. (Refer image/table 1.2)
All sentiments pertaining to products, services, customer support or any other relationship engagements it is important to analyze positive, neutral or negative sentiments. Positive sentiments can be leveraged for bench marking experiences for successful replication and neutral or negative can be worked on for improvements. Sharing customers VOC’s transparently within the organization will improve stakeholder sensitivity and prompt them to design or redesign product, process or services from customers perspective. VOC can be a great influencer for any organization to trigger cultural shift and action orientation towards customer needs and priorities. It is also important to continuously monitor the customer journeys post improvisation and review feedback at a fixed frequency. It may also happen that the change has impacted a new set of customers or part of their journey and hence its imperative to constantly monitor the new customers voice post any change management. In a nutshell an ongoing monitoring of customer feedback is critical for transformational outcomes and change management.
The overall strategy with VOC is to have an enterprise level intelligence program executed digitally as most of the interactions today are carried out through mobile devices.
The guiding principles of VOC’s in future will be influenced by following factors,
1. Empathy driven programs
2. Ongoing accumulation, assessment and actioning of insights
3. Measuring customer journey and its attributes
4. Building enterprise level insights
5. Digital first approach
It is imperative to have an understanding of customer needs and drive organizational and cultural shift using insights through various OMNI channel customer engagements by empowering customer to connect and interact with the brand continuously.