In today’s competitive banking environment, understanding your customers is critical to success. Getting inside their heads begins with comprehending the customer experience they expect and how it matches up with what they actually experience with you.
Knowing how to measure customer experience and keep management’s finger on the pulse of what customers are thinking, however, is not easy. Neither is finding opportunities for differentiation or facilitating positive ROI changes.
The impact of this confusion cannot be overstated. New and innovative products come out , and companies that don’t provide complete customer satisfaction are left behind. There’s simply too much competition in the banking market (and too much innovation coming down the pipe) for those in the financial services industry to be complacent.
The Voice of the Customer (VOC) metric is designed to provide an answer – and an edge – to these questions by quantifying what customers tell a company about their experiences. Let’s look at the data that goes into measuring the VOC, and then I’ll give an overview of how it should be used.
Identify the Critical Customer Journey Touchpoints
Let’s start at the beginning. The single most important element to properly measure VOC is identifying the critical parts of the customer journey. This can take a number of forms depending on the products and services a financial institution provides.
For example, if a company finds it’s struggling to deal with high attrition rates at the top of the sales funnel, VOC data harvesting should be focused there. If customers are doing business for a bit with a company and then leaving, the problem is down funnel.
Starting with an understanding of critical touch points yields more beneficial data and saves a lot of time.
How To Collect VOC Data
Once the critical touchpoints are established, it’s time to collect data from them. VOC data collection takes two main forms: proactive and reactive.
Reactive VOC data is when the customer comes to the business of their own volition. It’s most commonly associated with negative things such as complaints, returns and even warranty claims. But it also encompasses any contact the customer initiates, including simple email feedback or social media comments.
Proactive VOC data is when the company actively seeks out the customer’s opinions. The most common form is customer feedback surveys but other forms include customer support discussions wherein the representative actively asks questions or focus groups.
Common VOC Metrics
Once methodology is complete, it’s time for the nitty gritty of the types of metrics VOC entails.
The nature of VOC means that it requires a diverse range of data and measurements which produce a picture that is as broad and comprehensive as possible. In that sense, the VOC can be thought of as a conglomeration of several different measurements put together to create a bigger picture.
The most common of these metrics is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This tried and true measurement determines whether a customer is happy or not. It simply asks if their experience was good enough to recommend the company to a friend. This is the broadest metric, butit’s the perfect barometer of overall success.
Another good metric is the Customer Effort Score (CES). If NPS is the biggest picture, CES is (in a certain sense) the smallest. It measures the customer’s perception of the amount of effort required to get a problem solved.
In the financial services industry, this type of information is particularly suited to complicated banking matters, where customers look for a company that provides them with clear, actionable advice.
Finally, financial institutions can use the Key Buying Factor Analysis (KBFA) to get actionable items for improvement. This measurement identifies the most important factors of a customer’s decision to remain with a company or take their business elsewhere.
But beware — with great power comes great responsibility. Be sure to take time getting the touchpoints right with this metric, or it could end up doing more harm than good.
Tying VOC to ROI
ROI is the lodestar of VOC metrics. Ultimately, institutions need to give deep thought to their customers’ journeys. An understanding of what’s important, where it’s happening and how it impacts perception is critical for success.
Financial institutions which take time to really listen to customers on the issues that truly matter to their purchasing decisions will find themselves sitting amidst a wealth of data to drive ROI… both by retaining current clients and attracting new ones.