Harnessing the Power of VOC

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Companies continuously collect consumer data from an array of channels to gather insight into the customer experience. From customer complaints to contact center interactions, this internal information allows businesses to gauge the aspects of their operations that require improvement.

Yet, while vast amounts of data flow throughout the enterprise daily, few companies possess formalized processes for funneling this insight back into the organization to drive change and innovation.

While most still react to negative sentiment in an attempt to minimize poor word of mouth and preserve loyalty, organizations rarely implement the proactive modeling and analytical tools necessary to decipher customer data and respond before discontent becomes an actual customer complaint. Responses are typically directed to the individual consumer. Few turn these insights inward to drive significant improvements in processes, products, and interaction points. Thus, without such methods in place, these companies see the same feedback repeatedly.

Creating a Customer-Centric Culture

Organizations looking to develop a renewed approach to consumer data should integrate VOC programs that contribute to ongoing customer experience improvements. Creating a stronger governance model will guide organizations to not only collect and respond to negative customer experiences or highlight positive feedback in their marketing and advertising efforts, but also to embed the feedback in the development of new processes that prevent negative occurrences. Such measures will also assist in the design of products and services that close gaps, as sharing customer insights will encourage and strengthen the company's customer-centric culture.

Most companies put more emphasis on tools and systems, yet the greatest impact often comes from a focus on processes and culture. VOC has the power to drive innovation at the granular level, for this insight comes directly from those who matter most. In fact, for mature organizations that already have strong governance in place, VOC data can be a significant competitive advantage.

However, it’s not the VOC program itself, or the data contained within, that offer the greatest power—it’s what the organization decides to do with the information that imparts true differentiation. There are more than enough tools and technologies to “close the loop” on customer insights. But a strong governance model will drive insights into the organization and drive a response that is tested and embedded in all strategies moving forward.

Gaining Senior Leadership Support

Many organizations feel they’ve moved past VOC. Yet, while many claim they are “doing that” in every conversation, they typically fail to provide evidence of their efforts. They attempt to discuss the impact of their program, but are only able to list initiatives that have “just been launched” and are expected to drive value. Such companies treat VOC as a program versus an ongoing element of culture and customer relationship development. They lack maturity and neglect to understand that VOC must become a permanent part of this customer-centric foundation.

If companies are to successfully bring VOC insights to every area of the organization, they must first gain the support of senior leadership. Just as with nearly every major transformation over the last century, businesses need strong C-Suite commitment, visible engagement from executives, and robust internal communications. After the enterprise gains buy-in from the top, they can then bring engagement to the entire organization, for there must be a simultaneous bottom-up and top-down approach. Operationalizing VOC must have the support of every department, for the incoming data impacts every facet of the business.

By rallying around mutual goals and facilitating fluid communications across the enterprise, companies can effectively bring VOC data to every area of the organization as they work to develop an approach that encourages progress, growth, and improvement.