3 Ways to Transform Your CX Strategy with the Voice of the Customer

You're eating dinner at a nice restaurant. The manager comes by and asks how you're enjoying the meal. We've all had this experience. And while it's good business practice on the manager's part, your short conversation does not constitute a complete or realistic view of your experience.

What if the manager could collect, compile, and analyze every conversation every customer has with the wait staff—from lavish praise to the harshest complaint and everything in between? What if he could link those insights to customer loyalty history and other crucial data? What if the process could be scaled to include phone calls to the reservation desk, emails, and social media posts? And what if all the feedback could be assembled into one unified view of the customer experience?

That's how new omnichannel voice of the customer (VoC) solutions are approaching the challenge. To deliver exceptional CX, you have to listen and act everywhere: across the lifecycle and individual journeys, at specific tasks and touchpoints, across channels, devices, and operating systems, and for all your brands or product lines and key customer segments. These solutions are creating a new set of best practices that customer experience-savvy businesses are deploying today and are part of broader CX value framework to help companies move forward.

Why is this important? According to Forrester Research's 2019 report, ";Top 10 Trends Among VoC Leaders," most VoC programs are not evolving, are too focused on surveys, squander unstructured and unsolicited feedback, lack full data integration, and struggle to prove business value.

Additionally, the customer journey has changed. At the root, it's become more complex with new touchpoints and new devices that splinter into micro-journeys. How can organizations leverage their most important source of business intelligence—customer voices—to make the entire business customer-facing across tactical, operational, and strategic levels? To help enterprises achieve this level of customer understanding, VoC tools have undergone a dramatic transformation. As more customers engage with companies through multiple channels, organizations need a complete view of this more complicated customer journey. They can't afford blind spots.

Today's next-generation VoC solutions are up to that challenge. They capture customer sentiment through traditional methods, such as opt-in feedback and text, interactive voice response systems, email, and digital surveys. But they also tap into insight captured during actual conversations in the contact center (through speech and text analytics), across online communities and social media posts, and from operational intelligence delivered through general performance-focused data, such as contact center benchmarks and web analytics.

How Omnichannel VoC Transforms CX Strategies

This paradigm shift in VoC comes to life through the lens of a CX value framework built on a listening program that also helps companies act on what they learn with detailed programs, from tactical response to strategic prioritization and operation improvement.

Here are three ways holistic VoC solutions help organizations achieve winning CX results.

1. Listen and capture customer signals everywhere.

Listening is the foundation of CX programs. Whatever metric companies use—Net Promoter Score, customer satisfaction (CSAT), etc.—customer listening programs must scale beyond surveys and direct feedback. Surveys are still essential, but with contact centers typically conducting thousands or even millions of conversations a day, think of all of the rich indirect insight these discussions (whether with a chatbot, virtual, or real-life agent) can yield about all aspects of omnichannel CX. VoC solutions use speech and text analytics to mine those interactions for emotion, satisfaction, and competitive intelligence.

2. Analyze data intelligently, share widely.

Acting on data that's not omnichannel won't move the needle on CX. What will are VoC solutions that use machine learning and artificial intelligence to synthesize data from multiple inputs and then automate alerts and distribute insights—to brick-and-mortar employees, contact center agents, digital touchpoint teams, and others. And automated insights delivered in real time via email, SMS text, or in-app alerts reduce manual analysis and human bias, greatly accelerating time to action.

3. Prioritize and link actions to outcomes.

VoC solutions built on predictive, causal data models allow companies to know that when they do X, Y will happen as a result. That means CX improvements can be linked to business outcomes, such as likelihood to purchase, return, and recommend. This type of CX program framework focuses on tactical response, operational improvements, and strategic prioritization.

Real-World Examples

A large healthcare company wanted to leverage unstructured and unsolicited feedback to improve contact center interactions. Using VoC speech and text analytics, it can now flag calls or post-call follow-ups and send alerts to the CX team, establishing a closed-loop issue-resolution process. The organization prides itself on its newfound ability to uncover, track, and solve member escalations with no dependency on agent actions or asking customers to complete surveys.

Drugstore chain CVS established an important business goal: maximize the potential of their self-service channels for prescriptions. Using unified VoC tools, its digital team can communicate self-service-related issues and challenges to the call center so that the two groups can partner to improve customer experiences. In addition to improving CX, CVS has lowered operational costs and reduced contact center calls.

When companies know which actions will yield real benefits, decision-making is no longer a guessing game. If data shows that a website redesign will yield almost no business improvement but expanding the capabilities of a mobile app could boost upsell opportunities or reduce call center volume, the course of action is obvious.

The right omnichannel VoC solution, backed by a CX value framework, will use intelligent technologies to help you know more, at a deeper level, and prioritize actions across the business. You'll give customers a reason to keep coming back while uncovering efficiencies throughout the organization.

Ben Smith is vice president and general manager of voice of the customer solutions at Verint Systems.

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Posted September 10, 2019