Voice of the Customer Alone Isn’t Enough For The CX Journey

Customers journeys and customer experience make a huge difference for brands. While simply managing crisis was sufficient in the past, building a great customer experience is now a key marketplace differentiator. What sets businesses apart today is not price, but rather how they listen and adapt to customer needs. While there is a lot of buzz around journeys as a concept, it’s more than simple hype. Investing in better experiences delivers better business results. Forrester reports a nearly linear increase in revenue when compared with higher CX ratings.

You should care about the customer journey not simply because of the financial advantages to your business, but because of the qualitative organization value added here as well. How you manage customer journeys affects not only your customers but every employee in your business. Because every employee impacts your product and how smoothly the business runs, even employees who don’t interact with customers directly have a tremendous impact on the eventual experience that customers have with your brand.

Excellence in customer experience can only be delivered when every department is aligned. This requires the brand and its employees to support a CX-driven strategy across each department. When integrated with Voice of the Customer (VoC) prorgrams, this data proves even more powerful.

The Importance of Voice Analytics For the CX Journey

To understand what happens along the journey, you need to listen. Customers, your employees and your own processes all can reveal truths about customers journeys at your business. Today, many companies use Voice of the Customer data to reveal what customers are thinking, what their intentions are and how they react to different experiences. This is extremely useful data that unfortunately can also be misleading.

To capture a bigger picture and the larger truth behind your customer data, you need to incorporate not only Voice of the Customer, but also Voice of the Process and Voice of the Employee. The wide-angle lens of customer data through these “voices” will give you a 360-degree view of your customer experience and empower your team to make the necessary changes for a great experience. Each voice adds a particular type of value to your understanding of the customer experience at your business.

Voice of the Customer is Only the Beginning

Voice of the Customer programs aren’t new. In fact, 95 percent of businesses use some form of Voice of the Customer feedback, but only 11 percent actually use that data to impact their business.

So why do so few businesses use the data they gather? The fact is that while results are often good when applying VoC data, customers often lie. They do not intend to mislead businesses most of the time, but customer preferences expressed in feedback surveys not only are self-selecting for a particular type of customer, but also are often not true expressions of the customer’s opinion. Related to this challenge, even when customers intend to tell the truth and deliver on that intention, it can be difficult to generalize out to a larger business strategy. So why collect voice of customer data at all?

There is a huge value in collecting voice of customer data and it lies in the possibilities for personalization. While some of the more advanced survey tools do allow you to send the results of customer feedback surveys directly to a CRM, if this data reflects a poor experience, it can often take someone manually reviewing the form to actually fix a problem.

This misses something critical. What’s missing is the real-time context that caused a certain customer response. To get the most value out of VoC efforts, you need to integrate it within your larger CX program. As important as the customer’s voice is, it isn’t enough to manage the customer experience all on its own. To understand their journey, businesses need to see not just what customers say has happened, but what they actually did.

Voice of the Process Reveals Hidden Intent

Voice of the Process has traditionally been a highly technical practice, built from roots in Six Sigma, risk management and production. Essentially, Voice of Process means listening to what your processes are telling you. When systems underperform or overperform, that tells you about the strength of the process and therefore of the outcome.

This is essential knowledge for the customer journey. Each customer journey is made up of steps. Each of these steps needs to be understood to see the overall picture the customer journey. The challenge is that they can only be seen when you look at the processes that make each step happen. This is where customer journey analytics comes in.

Customer journey analytics and journey discovery are tools and methods that allow you to see how the overall flow of the journey is impacted by specific steps. Journey analytics is listening and understanding each of these steps in the overall context of the customer journey. Businesses can listen to systems to learn where gaps in the customer journey occur and bridge them.

When combined with VoC data, the results are even more powerful. By incorporating Voice of the Process data into your understanding of customer behavior, you can understand not only what customers say, but how they’ve truly behaved. This provides a deeper view than voice of customer alone.

Voice of Employee Builds Ownership Across the Business

While many businesses have made the strategic choice to pursue customer excellence, only a few leaders are beginning to involve voice of employee in their CX efforts. Managers and executives need to not only promote CX thinking amongst their employees, but also use employee feedback to shape how they understand the customer experience.

Traditionally, listening to employee feedback has often been more of a concern for HR. No longer. Today, the fact is that every employee contributes to the customer experience, even if they’re not customer-facing.  Not only that, but employees often have bottom-up insight that managers can miss. When they relay information in feedback surveys or reviews of company processes, employees provide additional angles of analysis. When there is a disconnect between employee and customer perception, this implies a larger gap in the experience as well.

Meanwhile, when customer and employee experiences align, both feel they’ve had a successful and valuable interaction. This is why Voice of the Employee has a definite place in creating a culture of customer experience and excellence. By tying the customer experience and employee experience together you create synergies.

One example of this is in the customer service space. Service representatives may have an easier time understanding customer problems when they have all the information about a customer’s previous interactions. Meanwhile, marketers can see how certain customers behave once they’ve been acquired, helping them target the most valuable people in the future.

Conclusion

Like three voices in harmony, the voices of customer, process and employee are greater than the sum of their parts. Even more than that, these voices only make sense when you listen to them together. Voice of customer allows marketers and CX leaders to understand individual experiences. Voice of the Process can help you see trends and pinpoint where experience gaps occur. Finally, Voice of the Employee allows you to get feedback from the people who impact the customer experience every day.

It’s not easy to get the most value out of these processes. Even the most common of these practices, listening to the voice of customer, only gets applied to processes 11 percent of the time. Meanwhile, it takes all three to build the most powerful customer journey and deliver the best experiences.

Want to best practices for delivering amazing customer journeys? Download our State of the Customer Journey report for 2021.