Customer Experience

Chapter 2: Are you prepared to launch your VOC Program?

Jan 20, 2021

8 mins read

Manisha Khandelwal


In the second episode of the Experience talk: Voice of Customer and EmployeeTanuj Diwan, Head of Product and Nandkishor Tripathi aka NK, Global Head of Customer Experience and Success at SurveySensum are talking about how to launch your VOC program, setting the short term and long term objectives, taking ownership of the VOC program, getting buy-in from stakeholders, metrics of your VOC program, and finally understanding the current state of the problem.

So, let’s jump right into it!

Click here to listen to this insightful conversation on Spotify!

How should you kick off a VOC program?

Without knowing the why, how we can kick off anything? 

To this question, Tanuj comments, “I’ll relate to this podcast today. Why did we want to do this? Well, we have worked with a lot of growth-stage companies. They are skilled in acquiring customers but they struggle a lot in retaining those customers. The major reasons for it are 

  • they don’t have the support systems
  • they don’t have the resources, and 
  • they aren’t listening to the customer feedback!

For a growth-stage company, these were the ‘whys’ to start a VOC program. For us, it was all about helping these companies.”

So, once you know why, you have an objective and you have a problem statement that you want to solve. You know where you want to go!

How VOC can help you find your niche?

Did you know that an efficient VOC program can help you find your niche and even gives you an edge over your competitors!!

Well, there are three ways to find your niche.

  1. Internal research 
  2. Paid research 
  3. Through your customers 

Customers are the key here! 

They are the real people who are actually utilizing your products or services and they know what is good and what is not in your products or services as compared to your competitors! And if you are able to solve their pain points in a distinct manner then you’ve found your niche. 

Sharing his instance of finding the niche, Tanuj says, “When we started, it was all about CX platform that can take any kind of customer feedback from surveys at any kind of channel. But once we went to our clients with it, they asked me a simple question. 

They said, ‘This is all good but this is one part for us, Tanuj.’ So I said what do you mean by one part? To this, they said, ‘Customer feedback by taking surveys is just one part. We have so much feedback from the support calls, chatbot centers, social media channels, App Store reviews, which we are not asking directly but they are still giving it.’ 

They wanted to understand the feedback that they are getting indirectly from the customers as well. And I thought why not! We were already doing text and sentiment analysis for open-ended feedback. So once I showed them that, they said why can’t you do this for App Reviews or chat conversations and I was like, they are right! 

So that’s where we got the idea that why not do a complete voice of the customer tool, rather than making a tool just for surveys.

That helped me find my niche! 

If we hadn’t spoken to them, we would have never known and we would have just continued going with just the customer feedback platform.”

How to set an objective for your VOC program?

Suppose you want to reduce your churn rate. You cannot reduce the churn by the next hour or the next day or the next month. To do that, there are two types of objectives that you should set!

  1. Short term objective 
  2. Long term objective

And they are subjective to what you want to achieve and whether you want to achieve it in the next six months, next year, five years and it goes long term. So in terms of VOC like if we have a bigger goal of five years, we also have to have a short-term goal for three months and six months that also makes us feel happy about it. 

Setting short term objectives helps you track your progress and identify your mistakes.

  • It helps you show everyone in the organization how important VOC is.
  • With early-wins, it tells you what you are doing is correct and motivates you to take the next step
  • It allows you to review what you have achieved and help you learn from your mistakes

Long-term objectives can be achieved by winning the short term objectives. They

  • Gives direction to your VOC program
  • Help you create #milestones
  • Help you plan an efficient VOC program.

The long term requires long term commitment and people will ask you,

  • Hey, how many resources are required? 
  • How can we do this? 
  • How much cost is required?’ 

And all of this comes to the ROI of the program when you start planning it a big. So, if you plan it big for the first stage, it is quite complicated and not agile. So it’s better to start slow and then grow it up step by step.

How to select the right business metric to measure your short term objectives?

Quantitative measurement is important to understand the efficacy of your tasks and assess the performance.

And while the right business metric can help you gain invaluable insights, track your progress, and meet your goals quickly, the wrong metric can skew your progress into a guessing game!

That’s why picking up the right metric is not as easy as it seems!

So make sure that you choose a top business metric and just focus on that. And then you can add up on your other priorities that you have. So, the first thing you should do is set up a North Star metric. It leads to revenue, reflects customer value, and aims for the company’s long-term success.

Who approves the metrics of your VOC program in your organization?

If you are defining a short term and long term goal, it has to come from the top leaders. Each of your organization leaders has to take this call and need to be involved in this discussion. The product, support marketing, and operations shouldn’t have a different thought. It needs to be overviewed and brainstormed together to make sure that all of them agree that this is the right North Star metric that you want to achieve. 

That’s how everyone will focus on one single goal.

How to get cross-functional buy-in from all departments?

The VOC Program is not run by just one department. It is cross-functional!

And if you are a small firm it’s easy to get the buy-in from all departments! All you need to do is gather all the Head of Departments over one or two coffee meetings, share your points, and you are done. 

However, the situation is difficult for multinational companies that are sitting in different locations.

They should start early with a few people at the same location. And when things evolve and you start seeing results, that’s the time to scale it up and align more people with it.

That’s where the short term and long term objectives help you in. The early wins help you pull in and align more people with your VOC program to achieve the longer objective.

Who drives the VOC program in a company?

There is a reason why there is only one steering wheel in a car!

Because you’ll never reach your destination if everyone steers it.

And that’s why your VOC program requires a driver – A Champion!

Be it the Customer Experience Manager in a big company, or a Product Head or Sales Head or Marketing Head in a small company. 

There is one person who owns the VOC program and gets cross-functional buy-in from each department to run it successfully across the organization. And then make the onus on it and create the champions within the organization. 

How can B2C growth stage companies identify the reason behind customer churn?

The best approach is to go to the direct source – Customers!

Interview the customers you’ve already lost! It may sound weird, but all you need to tell them is ‘I know that you’ve left and I am not calling you back. All I want is to understand what could I have done better? We are just trying to make sure that we are not making the same mistakes again’ 

A B2C growth stage company has a lot of data from the app reviews, social media channels, NPS surveys, CSAT surveys, and more. The second approach is to run a Text and Sentiment Analysis, gather all of this data in one place and understand their feedback. It will help you

  • Identify the top 5 challenges that your customers are facing 
  • Identify the reasons for disengagements
  • Identify the negative sentiments in the comments
  • Give you intelligent predictions.

That’s all for the second episode!

In the next episode Chapter 3: Define your Customer Journey’, we are talking about what a customer journey map is and why it is important.

Click here to listen on Spotify!

Click here to listen on Youtube!

Stay Tuned! 🙂

Manisha Khandelwal

Senior Content Marketer at SurveySensum

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