Are You Really Listening to the Voice of Your Customers?

Top business leaders are afraid of two things: big swings in their stock prices and big swings in customer satisfaction levels.

The former may or may not be in their control, but the latter can definitely be controlled and boosted by linking end to end customer experience journeys to business outcomes.

Many businesses claim to listen to the customer but in reality, they are tone-deaf. This creates a formidable building block for a successful customer-focused digital strategy.

How can you proactively listen to your customers?

1. Go beyond touchpoints  and focus on customer  journey  feedback

It is necessary for businesses to move beyond simply measuring touchpoints and focus on customer journey feedback. Instead of looking at only transactional touchpoints, teams should measure customer experience at the journey level. This approach correlates better with key business objectives such as containing customer churn. You should obtain holistic feedback on end to end customer journey, say an overall buying journey, rather than a point of sales. Or the complete issue resolution journey, rather than just a contact center interaction.

A large bank in Asia moved beyond touchpoints onto measuring complete customer journey feedback. A simple journey such as “I apply” for new credit card applications gave them many insights on making the first contact, checking eligibility, personalization traits etc. This gave the bank first hand end to end intelligence on how customers joined. This also helped the bank act on customer feedback such as “the application form is too tedious” or ” I did not understand my credit assessment, enabling the bank to connect with the customers in a  few hours, fix the problem and turn a negative event into a promotion opportunity.

2. Plug-in insights with a continuous improvement mindset

Customer intelligence and feedback should be put to work across functions like sales, service and marketing. Customer-facing employees should be encouraged to follow best practices exchanges across multiple organizational levels for closing the loop with the customers. A continuous improvement mindset will help overcome organizational inertia and resistance to change.

3. Tie KPIs to the customer journey

Going beyond touchpoints will make it easier for tying operational key performance indicators (KPIs) to end-to-end customer journeys. For instance,

A leading bank was able to significantly improve its customer service metrics by working on metrics from a customer perspective. It shifted focus from a touchpoint, like a call interaction, to end-to-end issue resolution journey, that is, from the first moment the customer identifies a problem and all the way through issue resolution. This approach gave the bank a holistic strategy to drive customer satisfaction and boost its NPS scores.

4. Proactively listen to the front-line employees

It takes two hands to clap. Creating the best customer experience will not be possible if an organization does not include frontline feedback on identified problem areas. Operational feedback platforms should be deployed to listen to the customers and employees. Customers report symptoms, frontline employees reveal root causes.

5. Integrate Voice of the Customer (VOC) to the drivers of performance

The best digital journey platform can help you recognize customer behaviors that have a high impact on costs and revenue. It helps you to pre-emptively identify expensive customer pain points like calls to the contact center, reduced cross-sell and high rate of churn. Building this intelligence will require you to link feedback results to operational data.

A large bank in Asia was able to reduce expensive customer behavior by recognizing that repetitive calls to customer care about a product was related to a specific product package.

It is critical to build a looping pipeline of feedback and actions, instead of merely focusing on metrics, so the customer’s voice is always at the core of operational and digital strategy. By mapping customer journeys end to end, you can unplug opportunities and problems that a basic research and operational data might miss. This will empower you to place the customer experience at the apex of business strategy initiatives that drastically improve customer satisfaction, resulting in a significant impact on the bottom line.

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