Independent Contact Center Consultants: Bridging Strategy, Technology and Operations Since 2004

Best Practices for Listening to the Voice of the Customer

Service quality is an important means of competitive differentiation. For years, contact centers have gauged their performance using internally-generated quality monitoring scores. A growing collective of service-conscious companies also measure the “Voice of the Customer” (VoC) and integrate this perspective with internal quality and other performance measures.

The first step in planning for your VoC program is building a strategy. Your strategy should contemplate business goals, media channels, customer segments and preferences, response criteria, and key performance indicator requirements. It also considers Voice of the Customer best practices that include:

  • voice of the customerDeveloping a contact center-focused approach that secures targeted feedback on the customers’ interactions with agents and/or self-service applications. For the results to be meaningful, the center needs actionable commentary on the center’s and agent’s performance, not simply general opinions on the corporate brand and/or product and service offerings.
  • Collaborating with teams that are interdependent with the contact center. Involving upstream and downstream departments (e.g., marketing, product design, field, fulfillment, etc.) commits the whole delivery channel to the customers’ feedback and reveals issues or opportunities beyond the contact center that impact the overall customer experience.
  • Tracking survey participation to honor customer preferences to opt out or avoid repeat requests to those who have contributed amply in the past.
  • Surveying customers in their preferred media of choice, where possible. Using the preferred media boosts the response rate. Standardize survey questions across media types to enable comparison between channels.
  • Establishing triggers or escalation points based on survey results. Build business rules into the VoC process to facilitate timely action on customer input. For example, if a survey score is excellent, send it to the appropriate agent to reinforce good behavior. If the score is poor, escalate it immediately to a supervisor for coaching or other action.
  • ŸEstablishing a closed-loop process to track VoC performance to baseline and target KPIs. Forge links with other performance metrics, coaching, and eLearning processes and applications for continuous improvement. Compare VoC with other results, such as Quality Monitoring and productivity scores, to identify disconnects between internal company and external customer perspectives. This holistic view helps companies focus on quality to make a difference in customer experience rather than just reporting a metric.

Does your center have a Voice of the Customer strategy? If so, what standards and practices have you found useful in your implementation?