Voice of the Customer (VoC), a new feature for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

March 1st, 2016 by Stephen Jones Leave a reply »

On Feb 19, 2016,the General Availability of Voice of the Customer (VoC), a new feature for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, was announced. VoC empowers organizations through feedback and survey tools that provide general sentiment, contextual insights and transactional understanding throughout the customer journey. The survey analytics included with the Voice of the Customer solution help you use customer feedback to identify gaps in service, run targeted marketing campaigns, and send offers to increase sales.
This robust solution will help businesses win more deals faster, particularly when there is an identified need to better understand individual customers, or to programmatically respond to market demands.

Most companies want to know what their customers’ want—but often than they have an incomplete view. The disconnect degrades product R&D, marketing communications, sales effectiveness, services delivery and customer experience (CX) objectives. The negative financial impact incurred in any one of these areas is a significant hidden loss than goes unrecognized by most business leaders.

Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs are a strategic tool for forward thinking customer-centric CEOs, CMOs and customer experience leaders. These programs improve the customer dialogue and tabulate what customers most want from their suppliers.

VoC program.

1. Assess your culture. Everyone claims to be customer focused -so why are there so many unhappy customers? In practice many companies are product-centric, not customer-centric. Its not enough to write a vision or a goal or even to listen – what you do is what matters. So the foundation of a VoC program has to be there already in the corporate culture. As a simple test email your own sales team, contact your own support centre, and review the QA complaints, be your won mystery shopper, try using your own products at home.

2. Assign a champion. Just as with an erp implementation, strategic business initiatives require executive sponsorship. Additionally, a designated resource must be tasked to design the VoC methods, data schema and use cases if its going to have any substance and be delivered in a reasonable time frame. Your customer data resides in multiple systems, a VOC business analyst has to understand business processes and build relationships that cut across functional departmental boundaries. .

3. Set measurable objectives, owners and time frames. VoC will capture, categorize and prioritize customer expectations and preferences (by customer segment, ) so that the company can orchestrate the right mix of culture, people, processes and technology in a coordinated effort to consistently satisfy their customers. It may be helpful to organize preferences in a hierarchy with related preferences linked together.

4. Business processes. VoC is not about technology, but its a lot easier with the right tools. Manual methods include: focus groups, customer interviews, mystery shoppers, or referral programs. Such methods deliver qualitative analysis, but are not so easy to scale across a group, nor are the outcomes easy to analyse. VoC automation can continuously gathers customer input so that it can be easily analyzed and acted upon and even predict future trends.

5. Segment your customers. Customers are seldom homogeneous. The dame customer may interact differently with different lines of business so VoC programs should define customer attributes and segmentation. B2B companies might segment customers using both explicit data e.g. demographics , and implicit data e.g.. transactions and complaints . B2C customers might include key performance indicators such as RFM (Recency, Frequency, Monetary), loyalty program activities and social media behaviors. Solutions like Dynamics Ax Retail and Dynamics CRM Social monitoring incorporate such features..

Customer segmentation should also have categories both for target prospects, and lapsed customers. The lapsed group may be a company’s single biggest customer segment and can offer some valuable insight; and a reactivation strategy can bring big addtional revenues.

6. Maser Data management. Leverage as much customer data as possible that si key to a VOC programme . Is yoru data split between many applications: ERP, CRM, billing, marketing, service management, email apps, survey tools, Excel , shadow systems and many more. Disparate data siloes need to be bridged to make sense of the customer relationships.
Consolidate, standardize, persist and distribute customer data throughout the business that is accurate, complete and consistent. Understand the data requirements and challenges. before you begin a VoC program.

7. VoC Tools. VOC Hubs are often differentiated by their preference for inbound or outbound methods, i.e. the ability to capture data either directly, or through third party systems, and integration capabilities. VoC applications use many techniques such as email or online surveys, web self-service, website analytics, chat, Quality Monitoring, EFM (Enterprise Feedback Management), text mining, speech analytics, case management insights and NLP (Natural Language Processing) Knowledge Management.

8. Integrate to CRM. Voice of the Customer software should integrates with your customer system of record, i.e. your CRM system which is now available with Dynamics CRM. Send VoC questionnaires or surveys from CRM and receive returns to the CRM application. Automate the process and personalise the correspondence based on the customer data (i.e. products purchased, prior VoC input, etc.)

More personalized surveys improve response rates and make the feedback actionable. CRM applications cantabulate VoC data from multiple data sources, append customer feedback directly to the company or contact record, update the account’s activity feed (i.e. Yammer), distribute notifications when customer problems or exceptions are identified, create and assign tasks for follow-up, roll the data up into KPIs and reports, and expose patterns and correlations among customer feedback and company attributes (people, products, departments, locations, day of the week, etc.)

9. Engage your customers. Whatever engagement method you use, use closed questions to confirm facts, and open ended questions designed to understand the customer’s vision, objectives, partnership preferences, frustrations and measures of success. Research shows that how you ask the question will affect the result. Askign which product do like most? and “Which product do you dislike most?’ may get the same answer. Ask “Which one would you buy? and the focus is on reasons to buy. Ask “Which would you not buy?” and the focus is on reasons not to buy and again the same answer may be given to both questions. So test.

What customer touch points (email correspondence, call center recordings, social media comments, marketing conversions, sales win/loss analysis, customer on-boarding, user group interactions) can contribute to a holistic view.

10. Measure the results. How will you know that your VOC programme delivers a payrback? . Customer satisfaction measures such as NPS, CSAT or customer loyalty, should translate into hard bottom line performance metrics sales revenues and ROI — that come from customer up-sell/cross-sell, customer retention, customer referral, reduced complaints, better product design, and enahnced Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).

Time stamp and baseline your key metrics so . Customers evolve, the get older- change jobs, move house, get ill, get married, and that affects their needs and preferences and income .

An accurate, complete and continuous Voice of the Customer may never be attainable but getting close supports strategic customer strategies rather than tactical ones. When you really know what your customers, your business strategy, messaging and products and services resonate with customers and increase marketing effectiveness, sales conversions, satisfied customers and ultimately Customer Lifetime Value.

What’s not to like about that?

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