Small and large organisations throughout a diverse range of industries are starting to adopt Voice-of-the-Customer (VoC) initiatives, with 95% saying their existing programmes are either breaking even or generating positive value, according to a study from Verint Systems.
The survey, conducted with Peppers & Rogers Group and 1to1 Media, aimed to gauge the current state of VoC initiatives, and found that even though linking VoC results to bottom-line metrics can be difficult, most companies have an overwhelmingly positive view of the value of their VoC initiatives.
Data mining was cited as the highest priority for existing VoC initiatives, while budget was of the least concern. Nearly 50% of the marketers surveyed said that the greatest challenges of a VoC initiative were all data related: collecting the right data, getting data out of departmental silos, analysing and acting on collected data, and leveraging data across the organisation.
Other challenges included assigning ownership and enlistment in VoC initiatives (including buy-in from senior leadership and frontline staff) at 31%, selecting success metrics and connection to ROI at 15%, and budget issues at 5%.
The marketing department owns the VoC initiative by nearly a 2-to-1 margin, but the need for a dedicated VoC department continues to emerge. Some 25% of respondents indicated that marketing takes the lead on managing the VoC programme, but 42.8% indicated that VoC initiatives had been assigned to either "a specific customer experience department", "a specific VoC department", "a cross-functional team of leaders from across the enterprise", or a "C-level executive".
The study also found that the 'cycle time' for customer feedback is shrinking. In survey questions focused on recommendations for building a VoC strategy, one key finding pointed to the need to quickly leverage customer data to adapt to changing circumstances and customer attitudes.
The study concluded that, as long as companies aim to enhance their customers' experiences, improve customer loyalty, and increase profitability, there will always be a demand for VoC programmes and their supporting tools. According to Nancy Treaster, general manager of strategic operations for Verint Enterprise Intelligence Solutions, "The issue of customer loyalty and the need for organisations to understand how to best meet their customer needs is a strategic imperative for all organisations."