WHPRMS April Blog: Four Steps for Mastering Your Voice of the Customer Process

Lately, I’ve spent some time writing and thinking about the Voice of the Customer (VoC) concept. Simply put, the VoC program is “the in-depth process of capturing customer’s expectations, preferences and aversions.”

Customers are the lifeblood of our companies. They are our patients, members, providers, clients and even the communities we serve. Without them, our market share and revenue will surely decline. Understanding what they expect, prefer and dislike is essential for assuring an increasing supply of customers.

In fact, the VoC methodology requires that we “Listen, Analyze, Report and Act” on inputs from a diverse representation of our customers. The process of steps #1 through #4 described below is cyclical and perpetual.

Step #1 requires that you listen carefully to your customers. Listening gathers feedback from multiple sources across all interactions, which in turn provides insights as to the root cause of both customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Surveys, focus groups and call centers provide the input you need.

Step #2 calls upon the organization to analyze these inputs. Conclusions and recommendations are formed as to how dissatisfiers can be addressed.

Step #3 creates accountability for actions as recommendations are reported to those who can develop strategies to address concerns or implement new ideas.

Step #4 requires those with accountability to craft and implement prioritized action plans intended to enhance the customer experience (CX) and improve CX outcomes.

The benefits of a well-established VoC process are many. First, it can change your organization’s culture. The decision-making focus is rightfully placed on the customer experience and all employees put the customer “at top of mind”. When your corporate culture makes CX a top priority, all employees know what’s best for customers and better understand their individual roles as they relate to the CX process.

As your company’s marketer, communicator and thought leader, your role is critical in helping fellow employees to understand VoC insights and strategies. Perhaps your most important responsibility is to show that every employee has a CX role to play. Those delivering direct care understand this best. Everyone else who works behind the scenes must be made to understand that they are “CX enablers” and that every employee has responsibility for customer experience outcomes.

Problems can occur with confusing billing processes, unclear directional signage, in messy public restrooms, and with poor service in the cafeteria. Remember that VoC feedback provides insights into the root cause of customer dissatisfaction.

When all employees have the skillset to make every customer interaction a positive experience, employees find greater purpose in their roles and are more likely to enjoy their work. They feel empowered, trusted and that they have the tools needed to succeed. Employee engagement is bound to rise. Everybody wins with a proficient and well-communicated Voice of the Customer process.

What are you doing to make your CX activities more successful? If you are not a part of the VoC process, then you can’t be a CX enabler.

James Shulkin is Internal Communication Manager at Quartz Health Solutions, Inc., and a member of WHPRMS since 1999. If you would like to contact him, write to james.shulkin@quartzbenefits.com

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