All you have to do is listen to your customers

listen to the voice of your customersVoice of the Customer; a catch phrase commonly uttered in offices around the globe. But what does it mean exactly? Where does it come from? How does a business decipher constructive (and valuable) feedback from noise?  It is not uncommon to hear a manager say that you need to listen to the voice of the customer (VOC), but often that’s where the initiative stops.  Proclaiming the need to listen and actually listening are two very different things.  So is acting on the information heard.

One of our clients focused on turning such a proclamation into action and made some changes to the internal processes causing customer dissatisfaction.  The External Quality Monitoring program using a post-call survey methodology revealed that only 51.6% of their callers stated that their question or problem had been resolved on the first call.  With barely more than one out of every two calls yielding a resolution, FCR was obviously an extremely costly issue for them because repeat calls have direct and indirect costs.  It was definitely time to take action.

CTA-frost-and-sullivan-application-of-the-yearCustomer experience analytics clarified a common theme from the callers who reported that their issue had not been resolved on the call. Callers frequently stated that they had to call back to check on the status of the application because the agent they had spoken with did not have a way to check.  “Wait and see and call back” is not a good answer for these callers.  How can this information about an issue that increases the customer effort be alleviated within the internal process(es)?  After taking a hard look at the outcome of this internal process from the customers’ perspective, a strategy was developed to dedicate a specific team of representatives to support the call center agents behind the scenes.  Frontline agents could not have access to the needed information but this support team had the resources to review a caller’s application, claim and status.  The agent can now provide the information needed to the caller upon request and eliminate the need for many customer repeat calls.

How did the illumination of a customer experience issue impact the business?  The numbers were immediately indicative that listening to the voice of the customer is paying off.  The EQM post-call survey results after two months since the process change yielded an 8% improvement in first call resolution.  The process change was definitely a move in the right direction for the company AND the customers.

While improving the customer experience with the company was an important gain, it is not the only one achieved.  Using a hypothetical cost of $7.00 per call (actual cost would be calculated based on employee wages, building rent, monthly utilities, office equipment and supplies, software and technology) and a hypothetical monthly call volume of 30,000 where 60% are calling for the first time, there is real value in call avoidance from unnecessary repeat calls.  As shown in the table below, the monetary impact is an impressive return on the initiative at approximately $10,080 per month.  This assumes that no repeat calls are avoided for those calling for the second, third of more calls which there certainly would be a number of those as well.

 Voice of the customers

Stats like the ones discussed above prove that turning proclamations into action are worth it.  If you take the time to truly listen to the voice of your customer, you can not only improve customer satisfaction, you can improve your company’s bottom line.  Who can afford to waste $XXX every year on one customer experience issue?

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