Three ways to create a successful Voice of the Customer program in a retail environment

By Fabrice Martin, Chief Product Officer, Clarabridge

All retailers want to know what their customers think about them. If they could build a realistic picture of the customer perspective and listen at every touchpoint, it would give them invaluable insight into how to keep their customers interested, engaged and loyal.

Some retailers are already doing this by implementing Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs to analyse interactions across channels from customer texts and social media to online reviews and contact centre calls.

To optimise the effectiveness of your VoC program, you should consider the following three strategies:

1) Find a VoC champion

An important element of successful VoC programs is having a champion to drive the project. This could be a call centre manager looking for a way to reduce the number and duration of calls without impacting on the customer’s experience, or someone in marketing who wants to weave customer feedback into promotional campaigns. By realising a goal and identifying a project owner whose interests align with addressing that goal, you increase the likelihood of ensuring that action will follow the VoC insights. In some cases, it may be necessary to identify a group of champions if it’s not possible to have a dedicated team to run the VoC program; however, the program objectives should always be clear, and there should be broad stakeholder support for the project.

2) Leverage a global, omni-channel solution

VoC programs are not bound by location, so a customer could be located anywhere in the world, communicating in any one of multiple languages and they will always receive a fully localised customer experience. And it doesn’t matter what channel they use to interact, a VoC program listens to everything in real-time from reviews and tweets to texts and chats, enabling rapid feedback from the retailer to the customer in response to their enquiry.

3) Operationalise feedback

It can be challenging for retailers to quickly make internal changes that enable them to act on the insights they get from a VoC project. By using structured, intelligible dashboards the VoC team can empower all stakeholders throughout the retail business with data-driven insights so they understand issues and implement the appropriate actions.

VoC programs are often initiated to fix an issue such as why a particular line is not selling or why a loyalty scheme is failing to attract subscribers, and the feedback from customers helps retailers make decisions about how to address concerns. By monitoring and analysing feedback and interaction data, retailers can also unearth new information about what customers want from them.

To set their VoC programs up for success, retail organisations should leverage a global, omni-channel solution, operationalise feedback and find a program champion. The decision to look beyond surveys and apply a comprehensive approach to customer feedback analysis will ultimately help businesses adapt to the complexity of constantly changing customer views while fully leveraging a treasure trove of nuanced, actionable feedback.

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