This article will discuss how you can drive operational and strategic changes based on the voice of the customer and link customer feedback more deeply into your organization to optimize work practices, processes, systems and so on. Based on this article, you can take action to see what you already have in use, which will help you to take actions on improving your operational and strategic efficiency based on the customer feedback.
You can use customer feedback from both a strategic and operational perspective. From strategic viewpoint you can enforce customer centric culture in the company by making the customer to come alive through the feedback. You can also aggregate the feedback to feed information into strategy planning sessions. You can have customers to participate the strategy planning for example through interviews and case stories. Communication strategy is crucial for any business, so customer feedback will help also to enrich the communication as well as give inputs on how the communication should be done in general.
From operational perspective you can get ideas for process and policy improvements based on the customer feedback. Many times the feedback can bring operational issues visible through customer communication. You can also use the feedback to give appraisals for high performers and help them to teach what they do to lower performers. For this to success, you need to build a champion network and share organizational learning to serve customer even better in the future.
The secret is to aggregate the customer feedback to see what kind of operational and strategic patterns are emerging from the data. When you do the aggregation, it is very important to do it on a level that keeps the feedback relevant for the employees. General charts are interesting, but they may not be as useful as more detailed customer feedback for specific employees and departments. Also remember to keep the data lively, using quotes from customers to keep the interest up.
Typically customer feedback and operational and strategic changes are not linked together systematically. This causes lack of customer perspective when making decisions, enforcing siloes and getting caught up with internal views. Too many times companies forget that they do the things they do to add value to their customers and that is how they alienate themselves from the customer needs. Having the voice of customer as part of strategic and operational decisions will keep the company connected to its customers.
Remember that customers give you the feedback willingly spending their time for your benefit, because they actually want you to do something with it, so it is only natural to use that information in company’s innovation and improvement processes. Do not ask your customers for feedback if you do not use it as much as you can. Nothing is more frustrating for the customers than you asking the same questions and they don’t see any improvement since the last time.
Only few companies have a clear process for systematically using customer feedback to improve their business. Having this in place will give you competitive advantage and improve your customer experience.
Let’s take a real-world example. Elion is a telecommunications company. They operate in the B2B and B2C markets in Estonia and the company is number one in broadband, telephony, and IT services and number two in television services. Elion employs 1,300 people serving 330,000 customers, with net sales of €200 million in 2009. Based on the customer feedback received, Elion focused on improving the B2B problem-solving and fault-handling process. This led them to do several changes in their business. For example a new fault-handling process was implemented and fault management specialists were appointed to take responsibility for problem resolution. Most importantly, customers were kept informed about the actions taken during the entire process.
Some results that came from these changes were that Elion’s growth outperformed the market by 30 percent. Since entering the competitive cable TV market, Elion has gone from 0 percent to 37 percent market share and is now just 4 percent behind the market leader. This has improved their position in the market significantly.
You can make this happen also in your business by focusing on customer experience and loyalty!
N.B. To receive free training on customer experience management, please go to http://addvalueto.me/customer-experience-blueprint right now!