6 Ds For Voice Of The Customer Programs

In the recent report, Voice Of The Customer Programs Grow Up, we introduced the “Six Ds” which are the elements of a good closed-loop voice of the customer (VoC) program:

The report identifies 20 best practices across these 6 Ds that will increasingly push companies to invest in Customer Insight and Action (CIA) platforms and force market research organizations to radically change how they operate (or become obsolete). In our recent assessment of VoC programs, we found that only on out 105 large firms reached the the level of “Transformer,” the highest level of VoC maturity. Here’s some things to think about across the 6 Ds if you want to improve your VoC program:

  • Detect:  Companies often use the term “listening” to describe the first step in a VoC program. If companies had unlimited resources, then passive “listening” might be the appropriate approach. But companies don’t have unlimited resources. VoC leaders need to be strategic about when, where, and from whom they solicit information.
  • Disseminate: The success of VoC programs does not come from collecting customer feedback, it comes from putting actionable insights into the hands of the right people. Leading VoC programs need to invest in making sure that key people get the right information at the right time and in the right form to help them make better decisions.
  • Diagnose: Many VoC programs act as if the data they collect contains all of the answers. In many cases, however, the data just highlights potential problems or opportunities. That’s why VoC programs need to develop processes for uncovering the insights and testing hypotheses.
  • Discuss: While some issues can be handled within a single department, VoC insights often highlight issues and opportunities that span multiple organizations. Firms need to make put in place cross-functional forums to make sure that VoC insights don’t get lost across organizational silos.
  • Design: Once companies find a problem or opportunity, they are ready to do something about it. But you can’t take this design step for granted. Follow user-centric approaches for identifying changes that will improve the customer experience.
  • Deploy: Since VoC programs only succeed when companies take action on what they learn, it makes sense for them to prepare for those changes by establishing release cycles and allotting resources to make and test ongoing changes to the experiences.

The bottom line: To improve VoC maturity, master the 6 Ds

About Bruce Temkin
I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, marketing, interaction design, customer service, and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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