When we talk about Voice of the Customer what do we mean?

Well, in essence, it is the process of capturing the customer’s expectations, preferences and aversions.

It doesn’t really matter what industry you work in, you are likely to face the same customer service challenges as everyone else. You’re very probably in a hugely competitive marketplace, your customers will churn or abandon at the drop of a hat and you have a huge amount of data coming out of your call centre.

Harnessing your data to drive growth

While we all use standard call centre metrics, including average handle time, quality assurance scores and call logs, as primary feedback sources, it is also important to collect post-experience ratings and reviews, feedback, social media posts and web, mobile and contact centre satisfaction measures. This data is the heart and soul of any VoC programme.

In one of my previous roles, we discovered a correlation between CSAT and tone of voice, which led us to carry out soft-skills training. We also saw feedback from customers noting that they felt the agent lacked product knowledge because they put customers on hold to check something. So, providing some additional soft skills training and instituting a no-hold policy saw the scores for agents’ knowledge and professionalism increase from 86 to 90 in the space of three months.

In another role, we worked tirelessly with the Product Team to shape the customer experience in one of our apps.

Our VoC program there has helped us significantly improve our service delivery, influence product quality and enhance products to cater to specific customer wants and needs. Listening to members’ direct feedback has allowed us to be more strategic about product development and call centre strategy, and helped prioritize our resources on those problems that most impact customer experience.

Despite the service challenges that come with the business model for that business, we were able to provide a consistently highly- satisfactory experience to all our customers.

As a result, customer satisfaction (CSAT) with service improved dramatically, from 83 to 92. This represents an 11% increase. Likewise, NPS significantly improved, from 75 to 89, over the same period.

By syncing customer feedback with your internal operating and customer behaviour data, you are able to drill into the root cause of complaints or challenges. This is important because customers often provide counterintuitive comments about products and services. This In-depth investigation into how customers are behaving with your products allows you to identify improvements that you can make on the customer journey. These might include site design enhancements directly linked to your customer’s expectations.

In another role I saw that the improvements we made based on voice of the customer feedback had a direct impact on engagement, retention and revenue metrics. Some of the improvements we made included:

  • Better organization of content on our homepage that improved onward navigation and engagement
  • New iconography to assist navigation along
  • More and better disclosures about “how to” to increase customer’s knowledge about site use

Call centres can have high attrition rates. Onboarding new agents  tends to impact operational metrics, such as average handle time and quality assurance scores, as well as the accuracy of service delivered. By syncing up internal operational data with customer feedback, you can create a curated coaching plan for each agent in your teams. You can then pinpoint the specific experiences customers report as “needing to improve,” backed up by the recorded call and coaching notes. This keeps your team highly engaged, and rather than deliver generic training, you can coach to the specific development and growth needs of our team.

Proactive service as a retention strategy

Aligning policies and procedures and making changes proactively based on agent and customer feedback gives you better control over operational costs. Making it easier for your customers to do business with you is a way to deflect contacts and lower operating costs.

In today’s competitive landscape, service should be a retention strategy. You want to keep the customers you have, keep them coming back, and keep them referring friends and family.

It’s also important to build models that measure future intent of customers who have a touchpoint with your service team (propensity to buy again, to recommend, etc.), supporting the theory that when a company recovers from a poor experience, they can effectively win back the customer’s business, and more.

It is all about creating the mechanism to listen, the desire to take action an importance of closing the loop.

Phil Purdy has over 20 years of experience creating beautiful award-winning customer service experiences for a number of high-profile companies. With previous roles in the media, fitness and technology spaces, he is passionate about providing excellent customer service with a focus on making it easy for customers to do business. In August 2020, Phil joined Community Fibre as Head of Customer Services.