Flexibility and Agility: Catalysts for Transforming Customer Feedback into Business Success
In a recent interview with ASQ, Travelocity and Kayak.com founder Terry Jones discusses the value of voice of the customer (VOC) in creating services that meet customer demands, and thus generate a successful revenue stream. While his experiences have largely reflected the unique dynamics of web-based brands, he touches upon themes that would apply to customer experience strategies beyond that sphere, as well.
Jones makes several compelling points, and I would suggest that following through on his VOC vision would be best served by technologies satisfying these two requirements:
- Flexibility – Will the application allow users to try different things, adapt to changing circumstances, and support a multitude of business objectives as they arise?
Agility – Will it allow the business to perceive customer sentiment in a timely manner, shift strategies effectively, and meet new challenges without complication?
“If you look at a web company, today it’s all about prototyping,” says Jones. “You can prototype and test so quickly; twenty percent of what you see at Kayak every day is a test. Twenty percent of the people are seeing something that eighty percent don’t. We were constantly testing, usually failing, but always learning. You put the word ‘beta’ on something, it allows you to quickly put something up, and boy do (prospective customers) vote with their mice very quickly. You really learn what’s good and what isn’t.”
The same principle applies to surveying customers directly and explicitly. Will customers be most responsive to a certain set of questions instead of another? Are they more likely to engage via SMS-based surveys, or via online popups, emails, or others? Which customers prefer one over another? At what point in the customer journey should they be engaged?
When designing an effective customer experience program, one should take into account the value of trial and error, and adapting methodologies to account for emerging realities or patterns, not to mention handling unique circumstances appropriately.
Amidst today’s hyper-connected landscape, being able to swiftly capture, understand, and act upon the customer’s voice is critical to ensuring customer satisfaction, and therefore a thriving business model.
“These customer feedback loops are so short now, we can actually learn from the customer very quickly what they think quality is, and what they perceive as good and bad, in addition to our ethos of what quality is,” says Jones. “You can let the customer vote so quickly in this world, that I think it really accelerates quality. If we hadn’t had that short feedback loop, our quality would’ve been poor because we’re building a product that people didn’t want.”
To capitalize on short customer feedback loops, a best-in-class voice of the customer program eliminates barriers to action. When something isn’t working, change the routine. If marketing messages no longer resonate, change the message. If customers want something else, give it to them. An effective VOC application will support these actions, not hinder them.
By taking advantage of flexibility and agility in its voice of the customer operation, Kayak.com redesigned its mobile offering and gained 50 million new users. Is your VOC operation positioned for that kind of breakthrough, and if not, what’s standing in your way?
Read about how NICE Voice of the Customer helps businesses turn customer insights into valuable actions, and continuous improvements that delight the customer, eliminate inefficiencies and generate revenue opportunities.