January 19, 2015

The customer voice can be boring to some.

Subscribe to get Alain’s newsletter with articles, videos and free goodies.

The customer voice isn't as interesting as you might think
While essential, many colleagues can find the customer voice boring.

Customer-centricity starts by listening to the customer. But a snazzy customer voice programme doesn’t guarantee that people actually pay attention.

Looking at the presentation of some customer feedback, I can’t really blame the tune-outs. Let’s face it, you have to be a certain type of person to get excited by a 30-slide research agency presentation with a multi-variate analysis of the reasons why 24.5% of the customer base is moderately satisfied. Not to mention to deal with the often overly detailed customer dashboards. To the uninitiated they sometimes look like a colourful version of NASA mission control.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not challenging the importance of thorough analysis, dashboards or even bar-charts. But while these may be interesting to customer geeks like myself ( you?), they may not be that interesting or relevant to others.

To truly get people to listen, you need to make the customer voice engaging. This means:

1. Bringing customer voice data to life with stories

Knowing that 14% of customers for a given telco operator get bill-shock when seeing their roaming charges, will get one type of reaction from your colleagues. Hearing the story of a father who – faced with (incorrect) roaming charges – was unable to buy his kids new school clothes when coming back from holidays, will hit much closer to home. Especially when they realise that it was the telco’s automated direct debit scheme that had left him penniless. Going even further and letting the father tell this story himself, will make the room go silent.

While customer voice analytics are important, it’s the real customer stories – good and bad – that will move your colleagues to action. People care about people, not about data (and yes, there are plenty of scientific research charts to prove this 🙂

2. Presenting customer voice data as a call to action

Even with emotional engagement, your colleagues may not see how they can contribute. After all, organisations are silos and customer feedback doesn’t neatly fit into a job description or a set of department KPI’s. What’s more, the people around you may be great at their job, but they may not be trained to interpret customer data.

You can resolve this by always presenting customer voice data as a call to action. Describe what needs to happen in terms and challenges that directly connect to people‟s jobs, departments and KPIs. If you need multiple departments to make something happen, get them all in one room. Then present your findings in a way that makes it clear that – collectively – they own 100% of the problem.

3. Looking beyond the bad news

In many organisations there is a tendency to focus customer voice related communication on the things that are wrong. Sure, this may drive continuous improvement. But it also turns the customer into that annoying teacher who keeps pointing out the mistakes you made, but never says you did a good job.

To keep caring, your colleagues need to feel that their efforts are appreciated. Not just by the business, but also by the customers. That’s why any customer voice presentation should always include at least a few success stories where the business got it right. Either by fixing a wrong or by doing something delightful.

Doing the above is no magic potion for customer-centricity. But it will make sure that next time someone comes to present the customer’s voice, people will listen.

If you would like to know more about the topic of customer-centricity, feel free to get in touch. I’d love to get to know you better.

(c) 2015, Alain Thys – All rights reserved

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *