The Future of VoC: Insight & Action, Not Feedback

The vendor market for Voice of the Customer (VoC) products and services has been heating up, with numerous acquisitions and mergers. All of this is happening as companies are trying to figure out how to run successful VoC programs. It appears that we on the verge of the next stage in evolution for VoC. So I decided to step back and look at the overall market.

VoC Programs Need To Grow Up

Our research shows that nearly three-quarters of large companies rate their voice of the customer (VoC) programs as being successful (only 8% say that they’ve been unsuccessful). That’s great—infusing almost any type of customer insights into a business can add value. 

Level of Maturity for Voice of the Customer (VoC) Programs in Large Enterprises

However, companies aren’t close to reaching their full potential. Only 14% of companies have reached the the two highest levels of Temkin Group’s VoC Maturity Model.

One of the reasons for this immaturity is a simple fact: creating and managing great VoC programs isn’t easy. They take significant leadership commitment and a  variety of expertise. In many cases, however, companies don’t redesign their approach to customer insights, they simply end up updating and automating many of their historical practices.

The big change for VoC programs is that they must focus more on enabling action across their organization. We found that only 24% of large firms think they are good at making changes to the business based on the insights. For VoC programs to fully mature, they need to become hyper-focused on generating insights in the right form at the right time to help people across their organizations make better, more informed decisions.

As if that’s not enough to work on, companies will need to address Six Customer Insight Trends that will reshape VoC programs: 1) Deep Empathy, Not Stacks of Metrics; 2) Continuous Insights, Not Periodic Studies; 3) Customer Journeys, Not Isolated Interactions; 4) Useful Prescriptions, Not Past Descriptions; 5) Enterprise Intelligence, Not Customer Feedback; and 6) Mobile First, Not Mobile Responsive.

VoC Vendors Need To Grow Up

In 2010, I rejected the label “Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM)” that was being used to describe vendors that provided technology and services for VoC programs. Instead of EFM, I labeled them as Customer Insight and Action (CIA) Platforms and here’s why:

To some degree, surveying functionality is becoming a commodity. Organizations are recognizing that feedback is not valuable on its own; it only becomes valuable when it’s used as an input to insights which drive some type of action. So the focus is no longer on feedback, but on insight and action. Hence, Customer Insight and Action (CIA) Platforms.

Fast forward to 2018 and I think that CIA Platforms is still the correct name for these offerings (from vendors such as Confimit, InMoment, MaritzCX, Medallia, and Qualtrics). They continue to evolve towards this description I used in 2010:

CIA Platforms need to support closed-loop voice of the customer (VoC) programs that are going beyond structured, solicited feedback (traditional surveys). With the maturing of text analytics and the rise of social media, companies are increasingly mining insights from unstructured, unsolicited feedback like customer comments on surveys, notes and verbatims from contact center conversations, inbound emails, online chats, social media sites, customer feedback comments, etc

But new channels of feedback (also called “listening posts”) are not the only element that distinguishes CIA Platforms from their predecessors. These applications also provide actionable insights by:

  • Incorporating non-feedback data like customer profiles and transactional history
  • Distributing tailored, contextual insights across an organization
  • Providing alerts based on specific criteria
  • Supporting workflow associated with taking action based on the insights
  • Integrating with other applications like CRM and workforce management

Next Generation CIA Platforms

Okay, so we got that right eight years ago. What’s next? Here’s where I think the market is heading for enterprise CIA Platforms:

  • Advanced analytics. We’ll see a considerable increase in the use of predictive analytics and the use of speech analytics to unlock insights from invaluable contact center conversations.
  • and way smarter analytics. The current set of analytics are mostly designed for analysts to uncover insights, but we’ll see more “packaged” analytics that mask complexity to provide tailored recommendations that improve high-impact decisions across the enterprise.
  • More focus on casual users.The days of generic metrics and dashboards will hopefully be a thing of the past. The information provided to people will be specific to their roles, and will proactively highlight the information that they need to know. It may take the form of highly customized dashboards, but it could also be a monthly infographic that can be posted in the lunchroom for hourly workers.
  • Less surveys, but more data. We already see in our research that organizations are becoming less reliant on surveys. This feedback will become less about understanding what’s being said by individual customers, and more about using the insights in predictive models to extrapolate what it might mean across entire segments of customers. This will require companies to integrate feedback with lots of customer data from other systems.
  • More selective, targeted feedback. Companies will get better at strategic sampling. What is this? Being smarter about who they get feedback from and when they get that feedback. The current approach of trying to hear from as many customers a possible in as many places as possible is conceptually attractive, but it’s an inefficient use of internal resources, and it puts a strain on an even more important commodity—customers’ time and attention.
  • Easier to use, but less “self-service.” In many cases, large enterprises lack the internal skills and know how to create and sustain a strong VoC program. While the technology platforms will continue to become easier for companies to administer and use without vendor support, strong VoC programs will increasingly recognize the need to tap into externally provided support across a number of areas, including:
    • Program setup
    • Data management
    • Sampling strategies
    • Dashboard design
    • Analytics
    • Insight distribution
    • Operational redesign

The bottom line: VoC programs and vendors need a makeover.

Report: Tech Vendors: Product and Relationship Satisfaction, 2018

We just published a Temkin Group data snapshot, Tech Vendors: Product and Relationship Satisfaction of IT Clients, 2018.
During Q3 of 2017, we surveyed 800 IT decision-makers from companies with at least $250 million in annual revenues, asking them to rate both the products of and their relationships with 58 different tech vendors. Google, Oracle outsourcing, and Microsoft servers earned the top overall scores, while Autodesk, ADP outsourcing, and Fujitsu […] Continue Reading…

12 CX Factoids: Ratings, People, and Leadership (Infographic)

It’s hard to keep up with everything that Temkin Group published in 2017, so we put together a couple of infographics to highlight some of the key data insights. The initial infographic examined CX efforts and ROI.

In this infographic, we examine 12 factoids on CX ratings, people, and leadership. Below the infographic you’ll find links to download the graphic (as well as a poster), along with links to the […] Continue Reading…

Off Topic: A Handful of Super Bowl LII Thoughts

First of all, I want to say congratulations to all of the Philadelphia Eagles fans out there. Your team won a great game that capped off an amazing season!

I was lucky enough to attend my third Super Bowl (SB LII) yesterday. Unlike the endings in Super Bowls XLIX and LI, my Patriots did not win the game. Here are a few quick thoughts about the experience:

Minneapolis was a […] Continue Reading…

Report: Customer Experience Expectations and Plans for 2018

We just published a Temkin Group data snapshot, Customer Experience Expectations and Plans for 2018.
In December 2017, Temkin Group surveyed 145 respondents – each from a company with $500 million or more in annual revenues – about their customer experience efforts over the past year and their plans for 2018 and beyond. We compared the results of this survey to the results of similar surveys we’ve conducted over the previous […] Continue Reading…

BlackRock CEO Shares A Sense of Purpose. Hallelujah!

Every once in a while, there’s a signal that things are changing. I hope that this is one of those moments.

Larry Fink, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BlackRock, recently sent out his annual letter to CEOs. This year, it was titled, A Sense of Purpose. I urge everyone to read it. Here’s an excerpt:
Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose. To […] Continue Reading…

Customer Empathy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Qualtrics X4

I love it when my work overlaps with some of my other passions. Well, it’s happening in a big way at the Qualtrics X4 Experience Summit in Salt Lake City on March 6th through 9th. I’ll be skiing in Deer Valley before the event, I’ll be speaking about customer empathy at the event, and Lin-Manuel Miranda will also be speaking.

Did you hear me… Lin-Manuel Miranda!I’m not just a fan of […] Continue Reading…

Report: Channel Preferences Benchmark, 2018

We just published a Temkin Group data snapshot, Channel Preferences Benchmark, 2018.
Here’s the executive summary: 
In Q3 2017, we surveyed 10,000 U.S. consumers about their channel preferences when performing 12 different activities – such as selecting a life insurance policy or applying for a new credit card – and compared their responses to the results of a similar study we conducted in Q3 2016. This data snapshot examines how channel preferences […] Continue Reading…

CX Institute Fills Customer-Centric Transformation Gap

For years, Temkin Group has worked with organizations that are looking to become more customer-centric, providing guidance to the executives and teams who are responsible for driving this change. But over the last couple of years, we’ve noticed a shift in our work. It’s no longer just about providing our clients with the skills and knowledge they need to be masterful CX professionals. We are increasingly helping them train […] Continue Reading…

15 CX Factoids: Customer Experience Efforts & ROI (Infographic)

It’s hard to keep up with everything that Temkin Group published in 2017, so we put together a couple of infographics to highlight some of the key data insights. This first infographic looks at CX efforts and the ROI of those activities. Below the infographic you’ll find links to download the graphic (as well as a poster), along with links to the referenced content.

Here are links to download different […] Continue Reading…

Free eBook: The 6 Laws Of Customer Experience

This is an update to the original eBook that was published in 2008. It has been downloaded and read by tens of thousands of people around the world and is likely one of the most-read documents ever published on the topic of customer experience.

So enjoy the updated eBook: The 6 Laws Of Customer Experience: The Fundamental Truths That Define How Organizations Treat Customers

Just like the three laws that govern all of physics, there […] Continue Reading…

Happy MLK Day in The Year of Humanity!

Happy MLK Day!

Source: Wikipedia

Every year on this day I like to celebrate lessons that we can learn from Martin Luther King, Jr. This year, I’ll focus on this quote:
“We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools”
This line is from King’s commencement address at Oberlin College in 1965 titled, Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution. Here’s a bit more of the speech that surrounded that […] Continue Reading…

CX ROI: Better Customer Experience = More Recommendations

In a recent post, I showed the correlation between customer experience and consumers’ likelihood to repurchase.

Since that post was so popular, I decided to once again tap into our survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers to analyze the relationship between CX (Temkin Experience Ratings) and likelihood to recommend.

To determine likelihood to recommend, we asked consumer how likely they were to recommend the company to friends and family. We calculated the […] Continue Reading…

Report: Lessons in CX Excellence, 2018

We just published a Temkin Group report, Lessons in CX Excellence, 2018. The report provides insights from six winners in the Temkin Group’s 2017 CX Excellence Awards. The report, which has more than 70 pages of content, includes an appendix with the finalists’ nomination forms. This report has rich insights about both B2B and B2C customer experience.
Here’s the executive summary:
This past November, we named six organizations the winners of Temkin […] Continue Reading…