Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs in contact centers have been around for more than twenty years. When you tally the analysts in the industry, they will tell you that only a small number of contact centers are reaching a state of maturity using the voice of the customer to generate actionable insight. They will tell you that the VoC execution gap, taking information and converting it into action, in contact centers is huge and there are a multitude of root causes for the lack of VoC maturity in contact centers.
Some of the reasons often sited are lack of buy-in, lack of investment, limited resources, and insufficient software tools. They will also say that there is a lot of change occurring in contact center customer experience focus and investments. But before you focus only on what an analyst has to say, let me share with you what I have seen on the front line.
Unorthodox gap closer
I have seen some amazing things happen as to how contact center leaders were able to close the execution gap in their VoC programs. Some things are counter intuitive to the conventional ways of managing a contact center. They are unorthodox. I totally understand that following the less traveled path can be a risky decision for you, but closing the gap makes the risk worthwhile.
As a former contact center leader, I was often challenged by wanting to be exceptional and successful compared to my peer group while being afraid not to follow the norm. Ultimately my fears were unfounded as I witnessed over and again that it was never the average folks that led the outstanding contact centers. It was the unconventional leaders that led the exceptional contact centers. I finally realized with trepidation that I needed to seek the exception to be the exception.
No more hesitation
Over the years the realization that unique approaches generate unique outcomes is no longer met with hesitation. I seek them out. I have analyzed those leaders and contact centers that are most successful in closing the VoC execution gap and they are not average.
For these leaders, the journey has not been all that easy, but it’s not because of the reasons you might suspect. Their primary reason was because they did not have role models, they needed to beat a new path. They had to act small to change the big picture. They had to trust their instincts and press forward when met with obstacles. They had to be brave.
Two of these leaders are Dee Kohler and Chuck Udzinski. Dee realized there was something missing in her Quality Assurance program and she needed to close that gap. She shares her journey in Thriving in Contact Center Performance. Chuck took a different path after being met with organizational constraints. He shares his story in Building an Award-winning Contact Center.
Defining the VoC Execution Gap
Most contact centers claim to have a VoC Program. Most contact centers have some type of understanding of the Customer Experience. They may capture customer insights in the form of internal quality monitoring, customer complaints, operational metrics and/or customer surveys. Some survey programs are annual, quarterly, monthly, or daily. Some are post-transaction.
Let it be known that even when a contact center posses all of these elements it is not a guarantee that they are able to convert information into action. They may still have a large VoC Execution Gap and struggle to find success. A lot of inputs do not translate into an output that is maturity.
Mature is misleading
One report revealed that when you compare contact centers that have a mature and successful VoC Program to the average, you start to question why some have an execution gap. The majority of organizations, 80%, listen to the Voice of the Customer. They use unstructured feedback in their VoC Program. However, only around half have the ability to make sense of this data to understand and interpret the feedback in order to take action and move forward. Less than 20% systematically act on the insights. That is a lot of wasted opportunity from something that is right there and ready to go.
For most centers, the execution gap is not a tool issue. Buying software will not fix your information to action problem. Your VoC Execution Gap is a people issue. It is a skill and an art issue. It is an ownership issue.
Closing the Execution Gap
One of the biggest maturity issues in contact centers is recognizing that no tool will help to close a performance gap. In my youth, I had contact center software envy. I thought that I needed to have the tools that other contact center leaders got to play with.
Through the years I have come to realize that “people” was the most important thing for me to focus on. And it’s really kind of ironic. You’d think that being in a contact center that was all about being in the “people” business, I should have known that people were the way to close the gaps.
I needed to change my mindset and working with fantastic leaders, like Dee and Chuck, helped me to see more clearly. Both Dee and Chuck always seek to find a way for people to have ownership. One of their key accomplishments was to change philosophy to evaluation from the traditional form of survey. They embedded in their quality assurance program and agent training and development a focus on customers grading the call. This change prompted agents to own the Voice of the Customer. They successfully created an environment of collaboration instead of command and compliance. They closed the VoC Execution Gap using their people.
- Avoiding Pitfalls of Customer Satisfaction Surveys - July 19, 2017
- Why Customer Experience is Like Sex in High School - January 11, 2017
- VoC Execution Gap in Contact Centers is Huge - June 29, 2016
- How long should my contact center survey be? - June 7, 2016
- Stop the Freaking Customer Feedback - April 27, 2016
- What is your Contact Center Top Priority? - April 11, 2016
- Nine words to stop using to describe your quality assurance program - March 10, 2016
- What NOT TO DO with your contact center budget - March 9, 2016
- What to aim for with your Contact Center Budget - February 15, 2016
- 3 Strategies for Handling Peak Season Call Volumes - February 15, 2016