The Case for VoC Strategy: Selecting a Platform

Author: Paige Burdick Blazei and Antje Helfrich, CCXP
11 / 15 / 2017

VoC programs add a customer-centric lens to product and service development and uncover new business opportunities. VoC technology solutions, commonly referred to as customer feedback management (CFM) platforms, offer a number of capabilities, most notably:

  • Customer feedback collection and analysis
  • Integration with other data sources
  • Closed-loop action management
  • Reporting and dashboards

As we outlined in part 1 of this blog series on The Case for VoC Strategy, a CFM platform does not offer a shortcut to a VoC strategy that outlines how to effectively integrate customer feedback into the business and drive action and results. However, once that strategy is in place and the organization is set up to act on the data that gets collected, implementing a CFM often marks a pivotal point in an organization’s customer-centricity maturation. In part 2 if our series we dive more deeply into the considerations for researching technology vendors and making the business case for investing in a customer feedback management (CFM) platform.

What is a CFM platform?

A CFM platform automates and centralizes VoC activities across an entire organization. It is the technology foundation enabling your VoC program. Core capabilities of a CFM platform include:

  • Automatically requests feedback from all transaction channels and service center interactions to calculate touchpoint NPS
  • Sends regular surveys to predefined or randomly sampled cohorts to calculate relationship NPS
  • Monitors change in NPS over time, and measures success of VoC activities to evolve and enhance the program
  • Flags detractors in real-time
  • Enables end-to-end management of closed-loop follow up within a single tool
  • Uses text analytics to analyze qualitative and quantitative data
  • Provides dashboards and reports with real-time data, robust filtering, and role-based views

Why implement a CFM platform?

We see organizations implement CFM platforms when they have VoC programs they want to evolve, expand, and standardize across an organization. CFM platforms collect, analyze, and report large magnitudes of cross-channel customer data without expanding VoC team size, providing a scalable approach. CFM platforms also increase the speed of an organization’s response to service issues, giving them the ability to respond, pinpoint, and analyze trends in customer comments all in real-time. Additionally, VoC teams can connect customer-level data to insights in segments, category, and lifecycle.

CFM platforms create reporting that is relevant across the whole company and accessible to frontline employees and executives alike, propelling action as a result of the common view. Most significantly, a CFM platform centralizes and automates solicited and unsolicited feedback collection across stores, website, social media apps, and the service center to provide insight into the entire customer journey.

During our work with a North American outdoor retailer, one of the most significant benefits of a CFM platform to them was consistency in the data collection and avoidance of sample bias, as in-store feedback was previously gathered manually by retail staff. The team also gained a shared view of positive and negative member feedback across the organization. Previously, executives only heard the voice of the customer selectively through the escalation of service center comments, and frontline employees through inconsistent in-person interactions. The CFM platform allowed these employees to listen and respond to the customer voice systematically and in real time, and gave them an efficient tool to quickly close the loop with detractors.

How do you build a business case for CFM?

Sell your executives on the return on investment of a CFM platform by creating a business case. Most of the cost drivers of a CFM platform are the initial implementation fees and the recurring software costs. Regardless of which vendor you choose, these are both are significant investments and will require consideration. Fortunately, there are significant benefit drivers of a CFM platform that should rapidly account for the costs. Improved customer experience drives customer retention, enrichment, and advocacy loyalty, which leads to revenue growth. Operational efficiencies – like improved service recovery and company-wide alignment to prioritize business decisions based on customer preferences – reduce cost and grow revenue. You will also see cost savings from technology that will be replaced by a CFM platform, as well as from any resources you currently put towards sending out or conducting customer surveys via outdated, labor intensive methods.

How do you select a vendor?

Exploring CFM platform tech vendors can be daunting due to the sheer number of providers in the market, but is crucial to find the best match for your organization. Look for the platform with the relevant capabilities for your organization, whether that be unstructured data analysis, easy reporting, or great data visualizations. Determine if your VoC team would want to customize a platform and how much program support they need. For example, would they author their own surveys? Would they get value out of a self-service platform without much support? Another differentiating factor of some CFM platforms is their additional expertise in CRM and market research capabilities, which may impact your decision if your organization is interested in several offerings from one vendor.

Feel ready to implement your CFM platform? Our next blog covers structuring your program to ensure it drives outcomes. This step is crucial to make sure your VoC program creates desirable business impact, so read the last in our series The Case for VoC: Driving Outcomes.

About the Author

Paige Burdick Blazei is a Consultant at Lenati with background in building customer-centric experiences in B2B and B2C enterprises, start-ups, and non-profits. She is passionate about working with companies to better understand their customers and determine how to use customer feedback to positively impact business results.

Antje Helfrich is a Senior Manager at Lenati and brings over 20 years of experience developing B2B and B2C customer-centric marketing strategies. She has led successful initiatives with well-known brands including Starbucks, Microsoft, T-Mobile, SAP, AT&T and more. Antje is passionate about the intersection across business, customer, and marketing technologies. As a leader in Lenati’s Customer Experience Practice, she helps clients create meaningful customer experience programs that drive loyalty and generate business growth.

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