“How are your clients using customer or employee insights to drive positive change?”
When speaking with business leaders about engaging Satrix Solutions for a voice of the customer or voice of the employee program, I’m often asked a version of this question.
I genuinely enjoy being asked, partially because we have so many great examples, but more because it reveals an important mindset of the prospective buyer: they understand why feedback from relevant groups should always be considered when making important decisions. They recognize strategic planning must include an examination of how any change enacted will affect customer or employee sentiment.
Many of us in the customer experience community like to tell the Amazon “empty chair” story as a particularly effective way of maintaining this focus. Therefore, when someone asks the question above, I consider it to be a strong indicator that person, like Jeff Bezos, “gets” it.
Actioning Customer and Employee Feedback
The dialogue that ensues also lets me know whether the company recognizes they will have to do the (sometimes) challenging work of actioning the feedback they’ve received.
The truth is, customer experience and employee engagement programs should be viewed as process improvement and change management initiatives. When soliciting candid feedback, there’s a good chance you’ll learn something significant that needs to be addressed. For example, such effort(s) may require financial resources to be allocated, staff to be trained, a product roadmap to be refined, the service or support team to be refocused, or incentive programs to be added or restructured.
For many companies, this is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. Taking the right steps will strengthen relationships with your customers and employees, engendering loyalty, trust and engagement, and bolstering your company’s reputation.
By not actioning the feedback, you run the risk of increasing frustration among customers and employees, fueling negative word-of-mouth and damaging your brand.
Baseline Requirements for Feedback Driven Change
In order to best position your organization for success, it’s a good idea to evaluate your existing practices and prepare the organization for what’s to come. At a minimum, you should have confidence that:
1) Your customer or employee feedback endeavors adhere to best practices. That means targeting the right people, at the right time, and asking carefully crafted and relevant questions.
2) Your feedback collection efforts result in a strong data set that is representative, reliable, and trustworthy.
3) You have a process for ‘closing the loop’ with the audience you engaged, thanking them for their candid feedback, and using the follow-up as an opportunity to probe, listen and create a plan for improving their experience.
4) You have a means to analyze and interpret the aggregated feedback – without bias – so the prominent drivers of satisfaction and frustration can be identified.
5) That you can assemble a cross-functional team that is empowered to address the most significant pain-points uncovered from your feedback program.
Common Examples Feedback Driven Change
Referring back to the question I shared earlier, what are some examples of how our clients have used the insights we’ve delivered to drive positive change? Here are just a few:
- Training the service team on emotional intelligence (EQ) concepts to improve customer listening, responsiveness, and communication
- Accelerating a feature enhancement that was requested by a surprising number of customers
- Adding a reporting view/template that was previously only available through the CSM
- Modifying the approach of customer Executive Business Reviews (EBRs) to cover a specific value driver that was widely perceived as central to a successful engagement
- Addition of a training session during implementation to cover functionality that was commonly needed but not often used
- Adding a support ticket system so customers had better visibility into outstanding requests and timelines
- Clarifying the pricing model to reduce confusion during the sales process and for upgrades and add-ons
- Increasing communication with customers with more frequent updates on the product roadmap and important strategic initiatives impacting the customer experience
- Establishing a coaching program for Managers who have lower employee engagement among their team
- Instituting departmental surveys to measure satisfaction levels of internal “customers” following a meaningful interaction or service request with another group (such as IT, HR, Procurement)
While this list only scratches the surface, these activities exemplify how Satrix clients have leveraged the findings, insights, and recommendations we have delivered to guide their improvement efforts.
Our clients are proof that if you do these things well, your organization will reap the benefits. After all, it has been well established that companies that routinely incorporate customer and employee feedback into their decision making are rewarded with higher growth rates and premium valuations in the private and public markets.