While Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs have long been recognized as good tactical tools, they are also beginning to come into the realm of fundamental infrastructure for companies. The reason? Their impact beyond simply providing data for decision making to having broader strategic impact — including at the brand and employee level.
Perhaps the most underestimated aspect of VoC programs is the underlying message they send to key audiences. Who are those key audiences?
One is obviously your Customers and a well executed VoC program is a powerful tool for sending them a strong brand message. Iceland, the leading frozen food retailer, found that a deep VoC program helped them to position the brand more effectively, engraining in customers a perception that company cared about and was built around their needs.
The second audience is your Employees who are often strong beneficiaries of an effective VoC program. The impact is often 2-fold:
1. Motivation. Seeing strong efforts come back in the form of recognition by customers and management is the most powerful driver of employee efforts.
2. Empowerment. Often the biggest gap in workforces, companies often face the challenge of employees seeing gaps and opportunities to fix them but doing little about it because they underestimate the overall business impact of their efforts.
Iceland’s management highlighted that "The new programme has also proven to be hugely motivating and empowering for our employees, as it allows customers to identify where they have received exceptional service and feedback to individual members of our team. The Empathica system generates a customer 'WOW' and flags up the comment to the store manager, which has helped massively with getting buy in from our store teams - the programme has quickly become part of the Iceland DNA."
This example stands out for two reasons:
1. Goal Setting:
The company set the bar higher — seeking to bring customer focus into the DNA of the company and engraining a powerful belief among team members that generating exceptional CX = value for both employee and company.
2. Getting Critical Success Factors Right:
Empowered by its partnership with Empathica, Iceland was able to nail two key success factors.
a) Empowering customers to feedback anytime, anyway — ensuring a continuous line of communication between customer and company.
b) Having a real-time system for tying exceptional customer experiences to specific locations, teams and team members.
Going halfway on goal setting or execution doesn’t yield the same impact — especially in VoC programs. Their opportunity and potential business impact are both very deep — and deserve the kind of effort that Iceland has put in to achieve them.