The best long-term business strategy is focusing on learning and improving your customers’ experience. And companies that truly make the customer experience a priority outperform the market.
You can use many different methods to start better understanding and learning from your customers: focus groups, surveys, social media, operational data, observation, communities, journey mapping, actually talking to them directly (too often neglected!), and on and on. Picking the right method is critical based on what you’re trying to understand.
Since online surveys are still one of the most common methods of gathering customer feedback, let’s focus on how you can accelerate the time to value you get from running a voice of the customer (VoC) program through an online survey. Having all of the right ingredients is critical!
Time to Value: the Right Ingredients
The first ingredient in accelerating time to value for your VoC survey is having a Vision. What are you trying to understand from your customers? What is the business challenge that you’re trying to address?…Ok, got it?…now stick to that! Don’t write questions into your questionnaire that don’t relate or support your objective. All questions should model the objective of your survey and what you’re trying to learn from your customers. Writing an annual relationship survey? Make sure all of your questions model to support understanding the overall health of your customer’s relationship with you. Writing a specific journey stage transaction survey? Keep your questions focused on how they support your understanding of their overall experience for that specific transaction. Without a clear and focused vision, your customer experience effort will be met with confusion.
Having the right Skills is the second ingredient to the time to value recipe. Results of a VoC program don’t really mean much if they aren’t measured correctly. Following “Market Research 101” is important for your results to have credibility: having the knowledge and confidence to pick the right question types and scales, avoiding leading and double-barrel questions, and other important sound research principles. If you don’t have these skills it will likely give you anxiety in ultimately reaping the right value from your efforts, so make sure you consult expert content or professionals for help.
Technology is an ingredient that can really separate how efficient and effective CX programs are. Technology can be defined as the tools we use to more efficiently and effectively gather, analyze and report on customer feedback. Nowadays, plenty of online platforms make it easy to be up and running within days, if not hours – think Survey Monkey, Qualtrics, etc. For commercial research, Walker has partnered with Qualtrics and its leading Experience Management (XM) platform to use for our customers. Technology like the Qualtrics XM Platform can really speed up your ability gather, analyze, and uncover insights in your customer feedback data. It can also help get your message out to the right people – allowing you to build dashboards that help you control the narrative about how customer data is interpreted (ensuring it’s done in the right way). Without the right technology, you’re sure to make slow progress in realizing your VoC program’s time to value.
If the final ingredient, an Action Plan, is missing you reap no value at all from this time to value framework. You’ve had the right vision, used the best skills and technology to collect, analyze and understand your data – now, what are you and your organization going to do about it? It’s unlikely that you alone can produce impactful outcomes from action on the customer insights, so you’ll likely have to engage several other stakeholders within your organization. Be purposeful in effectively communicating your customers’ voice, make sure the right people know about it and lead change efforts. It’s hard to argue that the customer isn’t right! Without an action plan, your customer feedback efforts will continue to have no payoff.
Only when all four of these ingredients – Vision, Skills, Technology and Action Plan – are included in your CX recipe will you reap the time to value you need from your VoC program so that you can begin to help your organization take the next step in becoming more customer centric.