Vocalabs Newsletter: Quality Times

Issue
109

Top 25 Voice of the Customer Mistakes

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Top 25 Voice of the Customer Mistakes

I started out writing a list of the top-ten mistakes companies make when designing and executing their customer feedback programs, but found I had a hard time stopping at just ten. To paraphrase an old saying, most successful VoC programs are pretty much the same, but each failed program fails in its own special way. And there's a lot of VoC programs out there that fail to deliver value, fail to meet the program goals, and fail to do much of anything other than suck up a lot of time and resources.

So having failed to write a top-ten list, I present to you instead my top 25 mistakes in VoC programs. I could have probably done a top-100 list, but nobody would have kept reading that far.

  1. Not knowing the purpose or goal of the Voice of the Customer program.
  2. Deciding that the most important purpose of the feedback program is to generate a metric.
  3. Trying to make the same survey serve too many different purposes.
  4. Not asking enough open-ended feedback.
  5. Asking too many questions.
  6. Asking questions that aren't meaningful or relevant to the customer.
  7. Not following up with customers when they have negative feedback.
  8. Not thanking customers for their feedback and treating it as a favor.
  9. Putting relationship questions on a transactional survey.
  10. Putting transactional questions on a relationship survey.
  11. Not being open to the feedback customers want to give, and only listening to the feedback you want to hear.
  12. Using a customer survey to compensate individual front-line employees.
  13. Focusing on small changes in statistics, rather than customer stories.
  14. Not collecting customer stories at all.
  15. Not giving front-line employees immediate access to customer feedback.
  16. Doing the same thing for too long without questioning why.
  17. Assigning blame rather than fixing problems.
  18. Not taking the time to understand root causes.
  19. Not believing the customer.
  20. Not trusting employees to understand and act on customer feedback.
  21. Giving employees incentives to improve their metrics.
  22. Making improved metrics the goal of the VoC program.
  23. Assuming that an improved metric, by itself, means that your customer experience is better.
  24. Not updating the feedback program over time to reflect changing needs.
  25. Not being truly open to honest feedback from all quarters: customers, employees, vendors, and yes, even survey experts.

Why We Still Like Phone Interviews

While we at Vocalabs provide a variety of customer feedback channels to our clients, we still think phone interviews are often the most important tool when it comes to using customer feedback to actually drive change in an organization.

That may sound strange in the year 2017. Isn't everything supposed to be online and automated now? Aren't phone calls going the way of the carrier pigeon? And what about those millennials?

Here's why we think phone interviews are not only still relevant, but often the best survey tool for improving customer experience:

  • People still respond to phone interviews. Response rates for email and online surveys have been dropping for years, but remain significantly higher for phone interviews. Customers are more likely to respond to a request from a living, breathing human being than an automated email dropbox. And, yes, millennials do still use their smartphones as phones from time to time.
  • Phone interviews capture depth and nuance. In a two-way conversation we can ask follow-up questions, and the audio recording captures not just what the customer said but how they said it, giving emotional depth and a deeper understanding of what happened.
  • Employees respond to audio feedback from real customers. Hearing a customer tell their story packs an emotional punch you just can't get with written feedback and numerical survey scores. People respond and are more inspired to change when they hear how the customer experience affects individual customers.
  • Phone interviews can be in the moment and real-time. Often you want customer feedback after a specific customer experience, like a customer service call or purchase experience. Calling the customer on the phone lets you get feedback immediately, not when the customer gets around to it.
  • Person-to-person contact shows you care and creates a positive brand impression. Making the effort to have a real human being follow up with a customer sends a powerful message that you actually care what they have to say and their feedback won't just disappear into the machine.

Of course no one solution is always the right answer in every situation. Our experience with phone interviews is that if you want to collect feedback your organization will actually listen to, then most often than not phone interviews are the way to go.

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