Whether it’s coming from contact centres or social media channels, marketers now have more data on their customers than ever before.

How are they making this data actionable to drive changes in their organisation and what’s driving this focus?

According to a recent Econsultancy report Voice of the Customer: Listen, Measure, Act, the most progressive organisations are setting up Voice of the Customer (VoC) programmes, using insights to drive change outside the customer services silo. 

Highlights of this report were reiterated during our Voice of the Customer roundtable hosted at the Econsultancy office this week. 

Attendees came from a wide range of different companies and roles within the industry, and here I’ll be sharing some insights from the session.

I’ve got enough data already – get me a tool, now!

A common challenge reported by all in attendance was that they had a lot of data, but it was hard to make actionable – either because it was held in silos in different parts of the organisation, or that it was hard to compare datasets from different CRM systems

As a result there was an eagerness to learn from others of potential systems that would allow companies to reduce time spent trying to make sense of the data, identify actions based on analytics and build a more accurate customer journey.

What are the benefits of a VoC programme?

Attendees reported that it was increasingly challenging to connect to customers because relationships were much more nuanced “with a lot more shades of grey”. 

VoC programmes were seen as crucial in bringing a new understanding of the consumer, enabling marketers to understand needs and respond with relevant, personalised, communications.

The more progressive companies in attendance were using VoC to create more emotional connections with customers, using the information to steer the whole customer experience strategy.

Others just starting out were keen to make better use of data to identify customers that wanted a relationship and those that preferred something that was more transactional – so as to make best use of marketing budgets.

Getting buy in from the c-suite

Attendees further down the line with their VoC efforts reported the effectiveness of case studies as a way of initially introducing the strategy to senior management. Those with more budget had commissioned external research, in the form of focus groups, to bring to life the voice of the customer.

Another had considered creating life-sized cut outs of the typical customer in the boardroom to create a more visually engaging presentation.

Amazon was used as an example of best practice, with Jeff Bezos making senior managers join the customer services team at intervals to observe and take calls, and a number of attendees reported similar systems to break down the head office/front line divide.

Some of the advantage of initiatives, reportedly, had been greater investment in staff and tools, as well as greater ownership of VoC programmes across the organisation.