Most successful businesses recognize that the customer experience is the key to success. However, measuring that customer experience is sometimes a hit-or-miss undertaking that relies on assumptions, insufficient responses and inconsistent feedback. If so, a firm can miss opportunities for improvement and experience disappointing results.
An effective customer satisfaction survey can identify any problem areas that exist and help you formulate strategies to improve your dealings with your customers. It is a means for boosting retention, assuring that your customers are “happy,” and finding ways to attract new clients. But it’s not always easy.
Commitment and Assessment
In order to be effective, VoC analysis requires a definitive shift in company culture and a comprehensive commitment: The end goal is to boost profitability. It’s not enough to collect data if there is no corresponding pledge to make necessary changes. It’s important to act on the survey results. Principles that apply to effective VoC measurement include total buy-in from upper management as well as designating a “go-to” resource — either an individual or a team — to design and manage the program. In addition, there must be recognition that the company will “gather and act upon customer feedback.”
Engage your customers, analyze their responses, and then formulate actions and institute changes to improve their experience. The next step is to report back to those same customers. Tell them the changes you anticipate and how those changes are expected to impact the buying process. By “closing the loop” and making it clear that your company listened to them, you set yourself apart from the crowd. Only about five percent of companies actually take that final step. It is a vital step in building a loyal customer base.
In order to judge your degree of success from the customer’s point of view, you must understand what to measure. The primary VoC metrics address:
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): Questions quantify how specific customer experiences meet expectations. Responses range from “very satisfied” to “very dissatisfied,” or some variant of that wording.
Net Promoter Score (NPS): Usually handled with a simple question to the customer about their likelihood of recommending your company to a friend or associate.
Customer Effort Score (CES): This is the metric that measures the amount of effort a customer must expend in order to resolve an issue.
Consider this type of customer feedback survey an investment in your company’s future. Develop a comprehensive strategy at the outset. Your ROI will be directly related to the initial effort. Begin with a clear definition of goals, including your reasons for conducting various surveys, the tools to be used and the ways in which you will collect data, measure success and assess the results.
Define Goals: Make sure you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve before embarking on a VoC assessment.
Analyze the Customer Experience: Look at the full range of customer interaction: Your information gathering efforts should focus on all pertinent areas of interaction.
Commit to Action: Unless you’re prepared to make specific changes, your efforts will be wasted.
Prioritize Planned Improvements: Once you identify necessary changes, take the time to develop a timeline and manage results.
Develop Context: Take the time to “listen” and to really understand customer responses.
Measure the Effectiveness of Change: Not all change is equal; monitor changes on a continual basis to ensure that the results are beneficial.
Get Creative: One of the major benefits of a VoC survey is the effect it will have on future operations, sales, profitability and outlook.
When you accurately assess the Voice of the Customer and improve the overall experience, it becomes much easier to tailor overall business strategy effectively. And that constitutes a great return on investment in terms of a better bottom line.