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Is your voice of customer program book smart or street smart?

Customer experience and voice of customer

The most effective voice of customer programs are book smart and street smart. 

Book smart programs emphasize things such as: 

  • Intense focus on the numbers. Customer-focused metrics are integrated into corporate, functional, and customer level dashboards, and are used to monitor the business and guide decisions.  
  • Representative and robust research. From the sampling plan, to survey design, data collection, and reporting, the information gathering process is rooted in solid research fundamentals.
  • Ongoing analysis cycles. Answers to questions generate new and meaningful questions for the business.

Street smart programs emphasize :

  • Customer comments. There is no denying that people love reading verbatim comments. Customer comments let us feel what the customer is feeling. 
  • Interpreting what to do. In the words of the late Steve Jobs, "You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them." Customer experience professionals have to use their experience to interpret customer pain points and develop the right solutions.
  • Making the most of what is available. Sometimes the data isn't always available. Street smart programs navigate these challenges and seek alternative methods for capturing what is needed.
  • Focus on action. Voice of customer programs that are overly book smart can get into a cycle of continuous analysis. Street smart programs focus on action.

Finding the right balance is difficult, but the payoff is worth it. Is your voice of customer program balanced?

Photo credit: Jens Schott Knudsen


About the Author

Leslie Pagel

Leslie Pagel

As vice president of customer experience, Leslie is responsible for incorporating the voice of Walker’s customers into the solutions development process. To do this, Leslie spends the majority of her time interacting with Walker account teams, clients, and prospective clients to understand their business challenges. She coordinates several listening posts that are used to drive strong client relationships and enhance our consulting and technology capabilities.

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