The Customer Service Survey

The Voice of the Customer--Literally

by Peter Leppik on Tue, 2011-11-22 14:01

The term "Voice of the Customer" has, through overuse, become almost meaningless. I've seen it used to mean almost any customer feedback process from e-mail surveys to focus groups to suggestion boxes.

And that's a shame, because the actual Voice of the Customer--an audio recording of a customer speaking his or her opinion--is one of the most powerful tools for building an effective customer feedback program.

If a customer feedback program is to result in a better customer experience, then it has to change people's behvaiors and decisions within the company. That's true at all levels of the organization: executives have to be pursuaded to make better decisions about how to invest resources in customer service; while customer-facing employees need to use the feedback to improve their customer service skills.

Recordings of customer interviews are pursuasive in a way that statistics and written feedback are not. The recording conveys emotion and helps the listener empathize with the customer, and overcomed the usual defensive barriers most people have to negative feedback.

Of course the other elements in a customer feedback process are important: one customer's opinion, however strongly held, should not drive corporate decision-making. But people make decisions as much with their hearts as their heads. Hearing the actual voices of actual customers can be just the tool needed to break through the logjam of defensiveness, resistance to change, and analysis paralysis that often keep companies from making positive changes.

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