Jeremy B

Jeremy B

Making Voice of Customer Actionable

Legacy Voice of Customer tools have an inherent actionability problem. 

There are two primary reasons for this:

1. Despite the name “Voice of Customer” the reality is that most tools only capture a small fraction of what’s inside a customer’s head. Even if the tools were awesome at actioning (they aren’t), they would still feel disconnected from action because they’re deaf to most of the customer’s voice.

This is a model for how the vast majority of how digital VoC works. At Pulse Insights, we call the approach “Scores N’ Friction.” You ask respondent to rate you on something like “Would you recommend us to a friend?” and if they give you a crappy score, you sometimes get feedback as to why (via open-ended feedback). So, in the end, you’ve got an aggregate score and a partial list of stuff that went wrong.

Here’s the problem though: 


Friction is a tiny sliver of what is inside your customers’ heads. You were sold that you’d be learning the “voice of the customer” and in reality you’re getting the voice of something like 10% of the customer. It doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. 


2. “Action” has a narrow definition in VoC-land. It basically means, prioritizing and sometimes following-up on the friction they capture along the lines of “Sam had a problem with this page throwing errors. We should let him know it’s fixed now.” To be clear, it’s not that this definition of actioning is wrong. It’s just too narrow of a definition in that it leaves way too much opportunity to better serve the customer on the table. #2 is a cascading implication of #1.



So, how do you fix this?

Here are six ways to make your VoC Program more actionable

1. If you broaden your definition of VoC to include 100% of the customer AND collect more than scores, the data will become inherently actionable. For example:


Getting a NPS Score of 17 tells you how you are doing overall but it doesn’t give most individual managers much about what they should do next.

Instead, if you learn what customers want you to build next on a certain page or application, the data is inherently actionable. All you had to do was ask! 

2. Help the customer in real-time, right now, after collecting feedback. 

If you learn that a user who just gave you feedback is struggling, it seems wrong to say “well, thanks for the feedback and good luck with whatever you’re struggling with.” Sometimes it’s not feasible to do much, but sometimes it is. For those situations, it’s the perfect moment to show you care. The real-time help can mean showing relevant content, a series of links, a phone number, or an easy way to open a help desk ticket based on the user’s particular survey response.”

3. Progressive Profiling

Most VoC data is aggregate level (customers want X most, followed by Y). Progressive Profiling is individual-level Voice of Customer. We think of it as the art of continuously capturing customer data & prefs to personalize future individual-level experiences & marketing. Progressive Profiling is inherently actionable.

4. Link with A/B testing to make your Test & Learn function more valuable.

Build A/B tests based on what you uncover from your VoC program. Then you can quantify the value of each insights and measure the total value of your program. Not only will this make your program more actionable, you can measure the benefit of each enhancement. 

5. Optimize media campaigns based on what is inside your users’ heads. 

Most campaign targeting is derived from things you can observe. But when you link your media programs with your VoC programs, you can target based on what someone tells you (i.e. what’s in their head). Use this to target, to build look-a-like models, and as ground truth to verify 3rd party data and internal models.

6. Link your VoC data and your web analytics data to see the missing context

Link what people do with what’s inside their heads to make web analytics more actionable. Look at conversion rates, traffic sources, et al based on how people identify (answer your on-site and off-site surveys).

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