As with any new or strategic initiative, voice of the customer programs are not excluded when it comes to executives asking for a change management approach and process. It’s a common scenario – companies know they need to be more customer focused and set out to implement some kind of customer feedback process. After launching a survey or establishing a process to gather inputs, owners of these types of initiatives are charged with creating a formal change management process.
This sounds like a good approach, right?
Wrong. I think companies that think like this are missing the point. OK, maybe that is a little harsh. They aren’t totally missing the point, but they are out of sequence in thought. Change management seems to be the favorite scapegoat when it comes to the reasons why creating a culture of being customer focused is not as successful as it could be. I think it is because change management didn’t come first.
Consider the model below. This demonstrates employees have to first be made aware of why customer partnership and loyalty are important. Then they have to understand and believe it. Once that foundation is in place, they can act. Establishing this up front is critical to the success of customer feedback initiatives.
I’m not advocating that every organization has to undergo a full transformation of being customer focused before embarking on a customer feedback program, but an initial assessment of the situation to identify gaps in awareness, understanding, and belief should be done. Once the gaps in these areas have been identified, specific actions and communications plans can be created to address weak areas. Some issues may be more difficult to address than others, but measuring progress with a simple framework will help you to remain focused.
Vice President, Consulting Services