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Business Growth Stems From Getting the Right Customer Feedback. Here's How to Get It. Here's one of the most effective strategies in the pursuit of making customers happy when their expectations are constantly changing.

By Phil Prosser Edited by Kara McIntyre

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Are you seeking to foster growth and achieve better results for your business this year? In a world where customer expectations are rapidly evolving, the importance of creating a customer-centric culture cannot be overstated. One of the most effective strategies in this pursuit is the implementation of a Voice of Customer (VoC) program. However, it's not just about launching a program; it's about using it smartly to drive growth rather than just incurring costs.

What is a Voice of Customer program?

At its core, a Voice of Customer program is a vehicle through which customers provide their valuable feedback, insights and opinions about their experiences, needs, wants and expectations in relation to your products and services. It serves as a direct line of communication between your business and your customers, enabling you to tap into their thoughts and feelings to inform and enhance your strategies.

Related: 5 Counterintuitive Ways to Transform Your Customer Care Experience

The pitfalls of ineffective VoC programs

Despite the popularity of VoC programs, many of them fail to deliver the intended benefits. CEOs often struggle to justify the ongoing expenses associated with these programs due to a lack of discernible return on investment. What should be a robust tool for insights and growth often turns into a one-dimensional process that merely yields scores and basic insights. So, why do these programs fall short?

The number one reason for the ineffectiveness of many VoC programs is the failure to ask the right questions in the right manner. A successful VoC program — backed by our global experience over two decades — recognizes that customers are diverse and their interactions with your brand are unique. Therefore, a personalized approach to gathering feedback is essential. Rather than asking every customer the same questions, tailor the questions to each customer's experience. Keep the feedback process concise, interactive and relevant, allowing for real-time adjustments. Aim to uncover the "why" and the behavioral aspects behind their feedback. Leveraging technology, such as text, audio and video responses, can enhance the depth of insights.

Take continuous action over passive insights

To derive value from a VoC program, it's crucial to prioritize taking action over merely collecting insights. While measuring customer attributes and tracking loyalty drivers are important, they shouldn't be the end goal. Instead, focus on identifying the most pressing customer-led priorities and addressing them promptly. By honing in on a single priority, it becomes easier to transition from data collection to impactful actions. Measure success based on individual and team improvements, aligning these improvements with sales growth and customer retention. By translating enhanced customer experiences into tangible business outcomes, the program's value becomes undeniable.

The role of program leadership

A successful VoC program isn't a set-it-and-forget-it endeavor. It necessitates robust program leadership and engagement. Collaboration with experienced partners is key to tailoring the program to your business, from setup to implementation and ongoing management. Software systems alone are insufficient to drive the program's success; customization is essential to align the program with your specific business needs. A holistic approach, including ongoing management of the customer journey, actionable results and integration with sales KPIs, is the recipe for meaningful change.

Related: Customer Centricity: What It Is, Why It Matters and How to Improve Yours

Feedback ASAP: Driving real change

In the quest for growth through a customer-centric culture, the "Feedback ASAP" program — getting feedback as soon as possible — stands out as a testament to the power of a well-executed VoC strategy. Rather than relying on generic solutions, this program capitalizes on personalization, actionable insights and robust program leadership to deliver tangible results. By identifying missed sales opportunities and offering real-time solutions, it empowers teams to improve their skills and capabilities through targeted eLearning.

This integrated approach aligns changes with overarching strategic goals, making the entire business ecosystem work in harmony toward growth.

The road to growth in today's business landscape is paved with customer-centric strategies, and at the forefront of these strategies is the Voice of Customer program. While its popularity has grown, so has the realization that the key to success lies in asking the right questions, taking continuous action and having strong program leadership. The paradigm has shifted from collecting insights to driving results and the Feedback ASAP program exemplifies this shift. The time has come to embrace a customer-centric culture and unleash the true potential of your business through the power of your customer's voice.

Phil Prosser

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO of Feedback ASAP

Phil Prosser has over 25 years of global success in over 74 countries in customer experience-management and net-promoter score, turning feedback into action to boost results. He works with leading brands such as McDonald’s, YUM, Shell, AT&T, Apple, UPS, RadioShack and Starbucks.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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