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Putting customer insights to use

Two key things that can stand in the way of using voice-of-the-customer information are (1) how insights are delivered, and (2) what guidance is provided. This was the focus of two questions we posed to attendees of Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum in New York.

First, lets take a look at how voice of the customer reports are delivered:

Distribution of VoC Reports
This tells me that there are a lot of companies that gather customer feedback and then deliver a generic presentation to several departments explaining what customers are telling them. While that is okay, it can leave participants saying, "this is interesting, but what do I do with this? How does it apply to my job? How am I supposed to take action?"

Fortunately one-third of the companies take it a step further and provide customized reports so the information is relevant to the specific users. In this manner the right people are getting the right information so they can take action.

But sometimes just delivering voice-of-the-customer information effectively isn’t enough. You still need to explain how to use it.

Do They Get It?
I was a little surprised that so few companies provide training on the use of customer insights. Our experience is that training makes a huge difference – its when users of customer insights begin to really understand what is being reported and how they can put it to use when they make decisions.

There are plenty of examples of great training. One company has integrated VoC training into their Six Sigma program. Another has a team of trainers that travels around the world to their regional offices to provide in-person training. Yet another has worked with Walker to develop a slick, online, self-guided program for their global account managers.

Delivering customized, relevant reports and providing the right guidance to users are two key elements that enhance the action and impact of voice of the customer programs.

This is part four of a series based on feedback collected from customer strategists at the Forrester Customer Experience Forum, June 21, 22 in New York. Other posts can be viewed here.

Patrick Gibbons

About the Author

Patrick Gibbons

Patrick Gibbons

As Principal and Senior Vice President of Marketing for Walker, Gibbons has global responsibility for definition, branding, and promotion of the company and its solutions. Gibbons has published and/or contributed to a number of articles, papers, and blogs on customer intelligence topics and has a regular column in CRM Magazine. He has been a featured speaker at a wide range of conferences, and has produced a series of educational events for customer experience leaders.

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