Let’s talk like engineers for a minute.
Your voice-of-customer (VoC) data collection program is an engine. It’s designed to drive your company’s success. There’s input (investment) and output (ROI + waste). Your job is to create a sustainable power source with near 100% efficiency (high ROI, minimal waste).
The most efficient VoC programs grow revenue by way of service improvements and innovations that strengthen customer loyalty. Unfortunately, many brands’ VoC programs do little more than gobble up resources and produce lots of waste—i.e., data that aren’t applied in meaningful ways.
Why are so many customer feedback programs so inefficient? And how can brands get more power out of the data they have?
First, let’s tackle the efficiency question. Then, I’ll explain how a leading retailer’s unconventional use of VoC data is paying huge dividends.
The Ivory Tower Trap: Hoarding Data at the Highest Levels
Many companies collect a steady stream of customer data. This stream flows straight uphill to corporate headquarters. And that’s where the data stay.
Sometimes, VoC data drive high-level planning. Marketing and customer service teams use customer feedback to restructure service operations, or to make broad strategic decisions for the company as a whole.
Sometimes, the data aren’t acted on at all. They sit on a shelf, collecting dust. The most common cause? Death by committee. The executive team digests the data, analyzes them, ruminates on them, develops new strategies, presents those strategies to the CEO, gets the CEO’s approval, requests budget approval, etc. Changes are never implemented, or when they finally are, the data are already six months old.
This isn’t to say VoC data aren’t useful for strategic planning. Customer feedback loops, particularly when paired with objective data (as we discuss in our latest eBook), are critical assets in the C-suite.
But it’s equally important—if not more important—that brands use their VoC data to make tactical updates on the spot. By that I mean immediately, right on the front line—where service teams are actively engaging customers.
Case Study: Using VoC Data to Save the Customer Relationship
For many of our clients, VoC data collection programs not only deliver valuable business intelligence, but also strengthen customer relationships by humanizing the brand. Recently, a major retailer we work with began taking VoC data one step further. Their goal: to save customer relationships that had soured due to poor service experiences.
Here’s how the program works.
- Customers who rate their most recent service interactions with one or two stars out of a possible five are contacted by the brand’s service recovery team. (“Sounds like you had a bad experience. How can we help?”)
- To date, more than 5,000 customers have been contacted by the service recovery team. This group of unhappy customers had given their service agents’ performance an average star rating of 1.06, and the brand an average NPS score of -85.
- So far, the service recovery team has had a chance to speak with and send new feedback requests to more than 1,000 of these customers.
The results of this program have exceeded our client’s hopes.
Approximately half of those 1,000 customers have completed follow-up feedback requests (you read that right: a 50% response rate). The average star rating in this group is now 4.65, and the average NPS score has jumped to 22.
Talk about a return on investment. Given that poor customer service drives more than two-thirds of customers away from brands permanently, our client is reaping huge rewards by using VoC data to immediately correct problems on the front line—and to show dissatisfied customers how much the company values them. (Try Stella Connect out for yourself to see how we can help your service recovery).
For Maximum Value, VoC Data Must Be Used on the Front Line
Company executives develop strategies. Front-line managers and teams are charged with executing those strategies. Brands can’t afford to deny service team leaders and agents the feedback they need to understand how well they’re performing and how they can improve.
When feedback from the front line is looped back to the contact center, it can have a transformative effect on service delivery by enabling targeted coaching and training, informing and improving hiring practices, and improving agent morale and retention. It even has the power to turn the contact center from a cost center into a profit center by closing the service-sales gap.
When it comes to using VoC data on the front line, leading retailer David Yurman is a class act. In our recent webinar, “Lessons from David Yurman: How to Build a Best-in-Class Service Team,” you’ll hear from Tessa Mueller, Senior Director of Customer Care at David Yurman. She’ll share her approach to training and developing agents who are poised and eager to deliver five-star service experiences.