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How to Use VoC Insights from Employees & Customers to Improve Experiences

05/12/2015 03:41 pm ET | Updated May 11, 2016

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Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CustomerThink.com

We are often asked what sources of VoC insights should be used to improve the company's customer experience. And often, these insights are right in front of you--from your own customers and employees.

Gain Insights From Your Customers

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"We see the members of our Emerald Exchange Community as the eyes and ears of our team," said Carol Jones, Director of Insights & Intelligence for National Car Rental ," ...they come back to us with photos, videos and narratives about what they've seen and experienced. They really are an extension of our team and their insights are truly invaluable."

These insights have paid off for National Car Rental; Emerald Club membership are up 27% and revenue is up incrementally.

Gain Insights From Your Employees

Every member of your team has some type of interaction with customers whether directly or indirectly. And all can benefit from a united effort to understand VoC insights across all departments and levels.

Fast food company Chipotle has stated that they owe much of their growth to developing an atmosphere in which employees have unique access to customer experience via an experience culture. According to Steve Ellis Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer for Chipotle, "Our focus on our unique people... for a restaurant experience that is redefining fast food for the better."

The company has taken the customer experience and broken it out by experience components called "4 pillars of throughput":

  • Expediters: keep track of every detail between the order placement and payment to be sure all is progressing well with a customer's meal.
  • Linebackers: Make sure that everything is in place to prepare food so that the employees serving customers never turn their backs on them.
  • Mise en place (French for "putting in place"): Chipotle has a zero tolerance for not having absolutely everything in place for a good customer experience and these employees ensure that things are ready.
  • "Aces in their places": A commitment to having the most important positions filled with experienced employees at the busiest times so that there are no problems or delays in customer experience.

This approach has paid off for Chipotle; Revenue is up 24.4%; same-store sales are up 13.4%; and net income is up 8.5.

How to Formulate Your Own VoC Insight Strategies:

  1. Evaluate Multiple Sources of VoC Insights.
  2. Evaluate the multiple sources of VoC insights available to you and their strengths and weaknesses. This can include: feedback from a Call Center, Field and Retail Reps, NPS, Email surveys, etc.

  3. Create Specific Questions Appropriate to Each VoC Vehicle.
Develop strategies and questions specific and appropriate to each VoC vehicle, yet keep it easy for customers to rate their experiences. This might include an email survey the day after their sale; a tab on your FaceBook page for Customer Experience Ratings or, a form on your website for comments or questions, etc.

There may also be complex strategy goals which require in-depth, one on one VoC conversations with customers to understand what is not working and how they want it fixed.

To fully benefit from VoC insights first define how the information will be used and how it will be visible to multiple departments. Then put in place a set of appropriate actions for each set of learnings. This must all be actionable.

Ernan Roman
President, Ernan Roman Direct Marketing Corp., (ERDM)

Inducted into the DMA Marketing Hall of Fame based on results companies achieve with three Customer Experience methodologies he created: Voice of Customer Relationship Research, Integrated Direct Marketing and Opt-in Marketing.

ERDM specializes in conducting Voice of Customer research to identify Customer Experience strategies that generate significant increases in response and revenue for clients including IBM, MassMutual, QVC, NBC, Microsoft and Norton AntiVirus.

Named by the Online Marketing Institute as one of the "2014 Top 40 Digital Luminaries" and by Crain's B to B Magazine as one of the "100 most influential people in Business Marketing".
Ernan's latest book is titled, "Voice of the Customer Marketing". He also writes the widely read and Huffington Post published blog, "Ernan's Insights on Marketing Best Practices".