There is a value proposition in doing so and the “cost of doing business” attitude of some companies show up in delayed recalls, skyrocketing customer complaints and a belief that the product is greater than the sum of the people that it is intended to serve. I had the difficult challenge of establishing a foundational framework in support of a fledging voice of the customer initiative for an insurance company and what I found was alarming. I was brought in to support remediation activities associated with regulatory fines attributed to poor marketing and service practices.
If you want to really know what your customers are thinking, go to your call centers and look at the unstructured data in your service system. Sometimes companies either can’t handle the truth or they simply don’t know what the truth is so they stay in denial mode far longer than they should. I consolidated all data from a sample set of calls associated with 10,000 service issues and used a number of tools that scanned for frequency of words and combinations of statements and I was quickly able to see a pattern emerging that began almost 6 month after the initial sale of the product. Customer complaints told a story that either was being ignored, misunderstood or simply untold when customers started to call.
While having the ability to produce analytics that help you understand the needs of your customer base is foundational to an effective customer service strategy, you also need to have the infrastructure in place to help quickly action changes in your product configuration and business processes before things get out of hand. Slow and inadequate responses hurt sales and second purchase opportunities and crushes the company’s reputation. If you find yourself in a situation where you are losing your customer base and your voice of the customer program is struggling, remember that customers speak in different ways and if it’s a negative story, there is a high likelihood of deeper impact as word of mouth begins to tear away at prospective sales.
Reach out if you are interested in understanding the power of unstructured analytics as a compliment to your operational reporting strategy and voice of the customer strategy.