Top ten 'voice of the customer' best practices (7 Apr 2010, The Wise Marketer)
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Top ten 'voice of the customer' best practices

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With the recent failures of big financial institutions, consumers have been left wondering exactly who they can trust with their money. But to restore consumer confidence and improve customer relationships, companies must gain a better understanding of customers' needs, wants and concerns, according to a white paper by Allegiance and Endeavor Management.

The white paper, entitled 'The Top 10 Voice of the Customer (VOC) Best Practices', details what the companies consider to be the ten most practical ways to implement and build "voice of the customer" (VOC) customer feedback programmes.

The paper discusses the VOC programmes used by industry leaders including Amazon, Best Buy, and Ultradent, and makes recommendations including:

  1. Open the gates to customer feedback
    An important part of staying in touch with customer needs and wants is gathering customer feedback such as concerns, complaints, questions, suggestions, and ideas. Companies should strive to gather feedback that is both useable and actionable.
  2. Make feedback collection part of the routine
    Companies must not only gather customer feedback on a regular basis, but also respond to it quickly, as consumer behavior can change in an instant. Responding in a timely manner increases the likelihood that a customer will buy again, especially if the company resolves the complaint in the customer's favour.
  3. Know what the feedback means
    Customer-centric organisations continually aim to understand what customers are trying to tell them, where customer feedback is coming from, and the underlying factors that are driving customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction. In other words, they understand both the data and the factors that may be affecting that data.
  4. Take real and deliberate action
    Companies need to be both organised and prepared to respond to and act on customer feedback. This includes having a systematic feedback programme in place that defines who will respond to the feedback, how and when, and what the company's general policy will be for taking action on customer feedback. They should also evaluate whether or not that action had a positive impact on their customers' experience, loyalty and engagement.
  5. Close the feedback loop
    A crucial part of responding to customer feedback is establishing a closed-loop feedback process to ensure that every significant piece of customer feedback receives the level of attention and response that it deserves.
  6. Ensure benefits are realised
    Measuring a return on investment (ROI) as well as tangible business outcomes is crucial to gaining support for VOC programmes. Today's best practice VOC leaders actively work to tie their programmes to business outcomes and communicate that data to their company's executive team and employees.

The complete white paper has been made available for free download  from Allegiance's web site - click here (free  registration required).

"Listening to and understanding the voice of the customer is crucial to restoring consumer trust in businesses and building customer loyalty, engagement and advocacy," concluded Bob Caruso, managing director for Endeavor Management. "Ultimately, it will be the companies that truly listen to their customers that will not only win customers' trust and business, but also set themselves apart from the competition."

More Info:

> The Customer Loyalty Marketing Guide

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