After VoC Surveys, Then What?

After VoC Surveys, Then What?

Survey methodologies like Net Promotor Score (NPS) or the Customer Effort Score have become common knowledge among many business leaders. These approaches promise users a route to benchmark their performance to a peer-group using an easy to understand rating scale. The NPS methodology was my introduction to customer experience design nearly ten years ago, and I still advocate for its adoption. You might sense the but coming, NPS assumes that customer feedback will be acted upon quickly (loop-closing), teams will work diligently together to solve complex problems, and leadership will point a straight and true course to customer-centricity. As many businesses will have experienced, adopting NPS and realizing its promises are two very different things. Many businesses have struggled to generate positive returns from NPS adoption, much less the impressive gains advertised by the Tempkin Group in this 2018 report.

NPS and other survey methodologies are a first step for many businesses. At the beginning of a Cx (Customer Experience) transformation, they point to root causes of customer pain, but multiple choice answers make it difficult to gather deep customer insight — why they chose your business, what expectations did they have about the process, what were their goals. NPS results serve as prompts for human teams to dig deeper, find a solution for the customer rapidly, and then find an appropriate solutions to improve in the future. In practice, customer and employee feedback is meant to be incorporated into a constant improvement loop that looks something like this graphic below.

How Likely Are You To Recommend…?”

This archetypal Net Promotor Score question is intention-driven. Perhaps a little simplistic, but I put this question in the same camp as a New Year’s Resolution. People intend to to do something, which is different from them actually doing that thing. A service we received might have been outstanding, and so we will offer a ten, but only 30% of customers will actually share that experience on a social network, arguably the easiest place to do it, according to Paulo Fabrizio from Social Media Scrum found in his 2017 study 9 Steps to Social Customer Services.. Will many more people will actually recommend to their friends and family? Possibly. 

This is not to suggest we stop asking this question, I am pointing out why many businesses have not seen the “lift” from referrals that their NPS scores suggested. Surveys are great as early warning systems, for troubleshooting specific customer paths (New Customer Onboarding) or particular touchpoints, and often allow improvement decisions to take place much closer to the customer. But if more comprehensive change or innovative new products are required, a few more tools will be needed then surveys along.

Two Things to Do

Experience Design Teams

What to Marketing, Product, and Customer-Facing teams have in common? They all understand their piece of the customer journey quite well. Organizations that realise the potential of customer-centricity have transparency between teams and employees. Often, the root cause of a customer service problem lies with another team, the same is true for most customer experience problems. These experience teams are meant to build a common understanding of key customer journeys, including NPS survey results. Supported by leadership, these teams will execute improvement projects to improve customer experience delivery, provided they have the right insight and support.

Cx Data

At a minimum the NPS data you collect needs to be integrated into three key platforms:

Marketing Tech –> CRM –> Finance

A number of Business Intelligence tools are available to help analyze this data, but without integration between these three systems, it will be nearly impossible to prioritize improvement projects, forecast the returns from those projects and track impact from improvement projects.

New Customers, Greater Share of Wallet

Once usable feedback data from your NPS programs are presented, and your teams have been formed to build a shared understanding of the customer journey, it’s time to decide on improvement initiatives. Sometimes this means making a purchase or service experience more intuitive (in line with customer habits or easier to use) so that Mr or Ms Customer will buy more and more often. The real benefit of that shared understanding of the customer journey and taking high-performance individuals off their jobs and putting them into a team, is to innovate. Once they’ve improved an experience for existing customers and increased revenue per customer, can they not now find net new customers? Stay tuned for more on that…


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