How to Engage Front-Line Employees to Hear and Relay the Voice of the Customer

January 30, 2018
Blog

Providing an exceptional customer experience is more important than ever before. Consumers won’t think twice about taking their business to a competitor if they have a poor customer experience with your brand. According to Bain & Co, a customer is 4 times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service-related vs. price- or product-related.

The key to delivering an exceptional customer experience starts with the Voice of the Customer. Voice of the Customer (VoC) describes the process of capturing your customer’s expectations and feedback to shape employee behavior and improve operations.

Using VoC feedback is imperative to creating a customer-oriented business strategy. VoC feedback can align your organization with your customers’ expectations. It can also shape employee behaviors. However, an organization’s primary challenge to hearing and acting on VoC feedback is often the failure to enroll its front-line staff in staying attuned to the customer.

Why is it Difficult to Engage Front-Line Employees?

The typical front-line staff member faces a “double-whammy” on a daily basis: a barrage of unplanned requirements, coupled with limited ability to resolve some of the situations that create customer dissatisfaction.

Adding a strategic initiative such as enrolling employees in the project of hearing and acting on the voice of the customer can seem onerous in these circumstances. These employees don’t feel empowered, and often don’t see the benefit that a voice of the customer program will bring them. And reversing this mindset is the key to securing their buy-in.

Securing Employee Buy-In for Voice of the Customer Efforts

Consider a call center employee. This person has probably directly received customer feedback. He or she may also have been involved in processes to collect feedback at work or elsewhere. But how often have their managers asked them their views on how to resolve the issues that customers raise? How much leeway do they have to resolve an issue in the moment? Are they compensated or rewarded for securing or acting on customer feedback?

Achieving employee buy-in for voice of the customer efforts requires two things:

• That the employees’ voices themselves be heard in the voice of the customer process
• That employees feel empowered and rewarded by the program

A support center worker who hears the same issues over and over likely has insight into the issues and how to fix them. How often does he get the opportunity to share this insight? If the management team meets with staff members to discuss improvements and use the suggestions of employees to resolve customer concerns, those employees will gain a sense of ownership and empowerment.

Training for front-line employees should emphasize the importance of listening to and recording the positive and negative feedback of customers. Incentivize front-line employees for their contributions. Motivate them to help the business enhance the customer experience. Consider, for instance, recognizing employees who have made noticeable efforts to collect and act on VoC feedback by announcing their contributions in meetings and/or by selecting them as the employee of the month.

After you collect VoC feedback, interpret and share the data, take steps to improve customer service and assess the effect of any changes you implement. To learn what managers should do after VoC feedback is collected, please click here.

Contact us for more information about using the Voice of the Customer to drive successful business outcomes.

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