4 principles for modern VoC collection

pic from digisweetspot.com

In this week’s The Modern Customer Podcast host Blake Morgan had an interesting chat with Tom Hale, the president of SurveyMonkey. One of the topics they discussed was around creating the perfect survey experience, and what metrics to use.

This is something I believe many companies struggle with, and CX professionals try to get right, amidst the various interests and requests of the different stakeholders and forces within their organisations.

From my point of view, when it comes to setting up a modern framework and system to collect voice-of-customer, there are 4 simple principles to follow:

  1. Customer-centric design – gather feedback when it most matters to the customer. Tom’s example in the podcast is a good one. He received a treadmill, and while struggling to assemble it he was already being peppered with surveys to gather feedback on the delivery – when the company should have been focusing on ensuring he was alright setting things up and making it work.
  2. X-data effortless collection – gather feedback in a way that makes it easier for the customer. Survey questions need to be simple to read, easy to understand, bring back the experience in question, and have answers that are easily associated with the customers’ judgement. Stephanie Thum‘s example in this tweet illustrates it well – the question was: “If needed, would you use this service in the future?“, response was “Very Satisfied” to “Very Dissatisfied“. Makes no sense, right?
  3. Embed in the experience – gather feedback where it’s more convenient to the customer. Wherever possible, but only if it doesn’t disrupt things (!), ask for feedback in or during the experience. Rather than diverting customers somewhere else straight after the experience, which can seem a hassle, or sending them an email / message a few hours or days later – by then, they may have already lost the excitement or memory of what happened.
  4. Focus on actionable insight – gather feedback that induce change and drive improvement. It’s important to collect a global indicator of the outcome of the experience, and whether it was effective (e.g. CSAT question). And it’s also very important to ask for the detail, and understand the “why” (e.g. open text question). But these are the customer’s perceptions, which you cannot change. Hence, it’s even more important to ensure you understand what impacted the customer’s perception. The things or areas for which you can identify owners within the company, and push for change (e.g. drivers question).

There are many other steps to follow, but I wanted to KISS you (keep it short and simple 😊). If you work on these 4 principles, you are setting yourself up with a good foundation for collecting good quantity and quality of Voice-of-Customer data.

Why does technology work for customer and not for companies?

No doubt. Customer Experience has been shaped by technology. Mostly because customers’ expectations have been rising by the way they use technology on their personal lives. In particular by the way they communicate with family and friends, using messaging apps – Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc.

No doubt. Customer Experience delivered by most companies has not been up to the standards. Mostly when it comes to engaging customers on their preferred channels (you guessed it, the ones mentioned above). It’s true that customers are adopting new channels faster than companies can establish a presence on them. But that’s no excuse.

Blake Morgan, in More is More, says “Technology doesn’t just enable consumers, it enables brands to evolve their offering as well (…) leverage technology to enhance Customer Experience“. It is surprising how this may sound news to some companies, when it is so bloody obvious! If not more, because technology vendors knock on their doors every day!

The truth is there are some companies that do acquire and implement technology, to try and make their operations more efficient, enter new markets, enable new channels, or even provide a better Customer Experience. But it is also true that those efforts, more often than not, do not deliver the desired results or expected return on investment.

I’ve been a consultant in this area for more than a decade. As I see it, there are a couple of main reasons why companies keep failing in their efforts to improve with new technology implementation. On one hand, those implementations are technology-focused only. On the other hand, there is no technology strategy or governance.

I’ve wrote it once: “technology alone does not solve all the problems, nor turn around a poor performing business (…) technology is one part of the solution and should not be expected to “save the day” in isolation. Processes, culture and people are also critical, and must also be taken into account“.

And when it comes to acquiring technology, companies should have a well-defined strategy and governance, to avoid different departments buying their own technology platforms (as if they were sticking plasters for their own issues or needs), which then don’t talk to each other, and spread crucial customer data throughout multiple (and most times difficult to access) databases.

This doesn’t mean that companies need to be chained to one particular technology vendor, hoping that in its roadmap that vendor has a complete Customer Experience Platform, that serves every business area,  process, department or team, and stores every bit of information into one single (and necessarily monstrous) database.

Companies could (in my opinion, should) buy technology from different vendors. I bet you the Supply Chain Management platform that best suits your business is most likely from a different vendor than the Voice-of-the-Customer platform that better meets your Customer Experience management needs.

But that should not be a problem. As long as those platforms are flexible enough to allow alignment between technology and your business processes, as well as have pre-built connectors or public APIs that enable integrations with each other. And if you choose the right specialist partner to help you implement it.




What Is The Customer Experience Cloud?

In a fantastic article published in Forbes, Blake Morgan (Customer Experience futurist, author and keynote speaker) explains “What Is The Customer Experience Cloud?” without using acronyms or complex words and concepts.

It is crystal clear, and very useful for those business leaders who have been hearing about it and many times misguided by technology vendors. Below are a few key pieces, but I would recommend you to navigate to Forbes and read the full article.

“Essentially, the experience cloud is the infrastructure that allows brands to create useful, smooth experiences for their customers. Instead of having customer data and interactions divided over multiple systems, the experience cloud creates a single 360-degree view of the customer by building bridges among marketing, customer service, sales, and other business groups”.

“The old way of doing business with only a marketing cloud or sales cloud just isn’t enough anymore (…) Without integration, so much time was lost to inefficiency, and brands never truly had a full picture of their customers”.

“Teams within an organization were often siloed and duplicating information instead of working together, which made it difficult to deliver an amazing customer experience, especially one that was consistent across multiple channels. Instead of using function-based technologies, the experience cloud puts the customer at the center of everything the company does”.

“Today’s top brands are focused on the customer, and the experience cloud makes it easier. The goal is to create seamless conversations and interactions across the entire customer journey. Instead of a customer having a different experience each time they walk into the store, visit a website, or talk with a customer representative, the experience cloud pulls everything together to create a cohesive experience”.