When it comes to delivering exceptional customer service experiences, frontline employees play a critical role. But this group can also play a vital role in your Voice of the Customer program.
As a former frontline facing employee, I’d like to share a story about a time I worked for an office furniture company. In my position, I greeted prospects and customers as they walked through the door, answered incoming phone calls, and responded to online inquiries.
During my tenure, I learned a valuable lesson – front-facing employees were able to provide insight into the customer experience from a viewpoint that might not be gathered through other feedback collection methods.
Relying on Frontline Feedback
For example, my role required that I take showroom visitors around the store and point out various products that might fit their needs. One of the more popular desk models included a handle so you could raise and lower the worksurface. During product development, it was decided that the handle would be removable. This design feature was created so that the handle could be stowed away, allowing for a two-sided work surface.
But as I took customers to demo the desk, I received a lot of feedback that the handle had either “fallen out” or “broke.” Customers were unaware that this was an intended feature. Once I explained this to the customers, they found it to be both innovative and a benefit.
After several similar encounters, I brought this to the attention of our product and marketing teams. Much to my satisfaction, they used my feedback to revise our marketing materials and write blogs on the benefits of the product’s design features. No longer were customer confused.
Creative Ways to Gather Customer Feedback
Why am I sharing this story?
On a daily basis, your employees are making observations and having interactions with customers that could impact the business. To be effective, frontline employees need a time and place to share these stories across the organization.
Some simple ways to do this can be:
- Creating an employee suggestion box
- Encourage regular story-telling during meetings / huddles
- Using collaboration tools such as Slack
- Employee Opinion Surveys
Employees on the front lines are ideally positioned to recognize patterns based on their conversations with the numerous customers they engage with. Not only can they identify common issues, but they can also assess how important these issues are to your customers, help to understand what is causing them, and provide insight as to how customers would like to see those issues corrected. When combined with quantitative data analytics, your company has the ability to act on and resolve issues much faster.
Maturing Your Voice of the Customer Program
Bottom line: Involving your frontline staff in your Voice of the Customer (VoC) program leads to program maturity.
In the story I just shared, the feedback I gathered lead to increased customer engagement and enabled me to speak to a key product feature – resulting in higher overall levels of customer satisfaction. When my colleagues and I saw that my voice was making a direct impact on the company, we became more engaged, productive, and inspired to become advocates for the organization.