How to Improve Process Management with VOC Feedback

Customer Management IQ
Posted: 12/01/2010

Voice of the customer (VOC) feedback is one of the most valuable tools that organizations possess. Providing the correct information is collected and analyzed to create actionable insights.

Key problems that continue to challenge those tasked with managing VOC feedback is how to convert the information into increased revenue and ROI.

Research conducted by Allegiance last year found that 68 percent of VOC professionals find that attention to these two concepts is warranted, yet just 51 percent actually do this in practice.

Just 25 percent of those that participated in the research said that their organization considered linking VOC feedback with ROI very important.

Key challenges within the field included getting executives to 'buy-in' and securing action on the VOC data received.

Commenting on the company's White Paper on the Best Practices for VOC, Bob Caruso, managing director of Endeavour Management, said: "Listing to and understanding the voice of the customer is crucial to restoring business consumer trust and building loyalty, engagement and advocacy.

Implementation of VOC programs

Further research by the Temkin group, released in October, shows that while many larger firms already consider their VOC efforts to be a success, in many cases their programs are in fact still in a stage of infancy.

The report concluded that 2011 was likely to be an "active year" for the implementation of VOC programs, with those investing more heavily in their efforts far outweighing those scaling down funding.

Looking at 119 VOC programs, it revealed that around 79 percent of companies believe theirs to be a success, with one per cent determining that it is too early to make an assessment.

The research also discovered, however, that very few companies had reached a state of maturity in their VOC efforts. Just one percent of the large companies involved in the research reached the highest level of maturity, a group known as transformers, with many in fact sitting in the lowest group.

Yet, if implemented properly, VOC can provide the insight needed to implement the process improvements and changes which organizations need, and potentially increase both revenue and ROI, as research conducted by VocaLink has shown.

The company found that 42 percent of those with a bank account, as well as half of consumers who make online payments, would be open to utilizing a service which offered immediate payment via a mobile phone.

What's more, the majority of these would be willing to pay a small fee for such a service – an insight which opens up possibilities for both increased customer satisfaction and an additional revenue stream.

Combining VOC Feedback with Lean Six Sigma

For VOC feedback to be most effective, it must be used to adapt and improve current processes to place a greater focus on the consumer, which is where lean six sigma can be applied.

Six Sigma Online explained that sales forces are often focused on sales volumes as a measure of success. In fact, customer satisfaction is what keeps consumers loyal to a certain brand or company, and this is better gauged from VOC than sales volumes.

"This is exactly where Six Sigma helps - in altering existing products and services and designing and developing new ones, keeping in mind the most basic customer needs, tastes and preferences," the site explained.

John Goodmand and Bruce Hays, writing for iSixSigma, highlighted that often in six sigma training, voice of business is placed ahead of VOC.

"The downside of failing to use an effective VOC data collection process is that ROI is underestimated, and damage can and will be done by improving efficiency but decreasing customer satisfaction in the process," they explained.

Key factors needed for an effective VOC process were said to be a unified feedback and data collection plan, a clear owner of the process and one which provides a unified picture of feedback.

In terms of the reporting process, it should be both easily accessible and actionable for managers, identify both cost and revenue implications and be linked to organizational incentives.

Customer Management IQ
Posted: 12/01/2010

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