Customer Experience Measurement

Do You Need a Survey Tool or a VoC Partner?

Often, people think they can create a world-class VoC program themselves using a low-end technology tool, but this can be risky⁠—especially when building your initial program...

Sean McDade, PhD

Sean McDade, PhD

Founder & CEO, PeopleMetrics

Unless you’re working in a very small company, the full spectrum of VoC responsibilities are usually too much for one person. Often, people think they can create a world-class VoC program themselves using a low-end technology tool, but this can be risky⁠—especially when building your initial program.

In the beginning, your best chance at success is to partner with an organization that has done this before, is an expert in VoC, and can help you get off to a good start. This expense will pay for itself ten times over.

When you purchase a tool, you’re essentially buying software licenses so that your team can configure and manage your VoC.
In this scenario, you figure out the touchpoints and the questions to ask customers. You create dashboards that your stakeholders review, and you add user credentials. You are responsible for managing the whole process as well as analyzing the data and organizing it into artifacts (usually PowerPoint decks) to present to the executive team. It is a really heavy lift.

Finding outside help that works for you

In most cases, you are going to need a VoC partner to help you.

Your first decision is this: Do you want a firm that is an order taker or a value-added provider?

If your VoC program is more mature or you have experienced CX and VoC resources at your disposal, then an order taker that executes flawlessly makes sense.

If you are just starting out or your industry has gone through rapid change, partnering with a firm that can provide expertise within CX and VoC will be well worth the investment.

Check off the essentials

No matter what, your VoC partner should certainly have an implementation team that sets up your VoCincluding survey design, programming, dashboard creation, user setup, and ensuring your customer list is ready to go once you are ready to begin.

People within your organization must be able to log in and see their VoC data and results—if they can’t, they need to be able to call someone to help them, and that someone cannot be you!

As the customer experience lead, you need to focus on how to improve the customer experience rather than managing a complex software process and providing technical support.

Prove value right away

A good value-added VoC partner can also help you identify specific things you can do immediately to improve the customer experience.

It’s difficult to review VoC data by yourself in the beginning, and to understand what is really important and tell a story about what is going on with CX within your company. With a value-added VoC partner, you can be confident that your program will work well from the start.

Leave some things to the experts

A value-added VoC partner is also helpful when you run into the challenges that you will inevitably face. For example, when your partner is able to speak the language of IT, this will save you countless hours and potential roadblocks. The bottom line is that experienced partners can be invaluable.

As the leader of CX at your company, you need to focus on what you do well and not get bogged down by tactical details that a value-added VoC partner can handle. You were not hired to be an expert in VoC program design and software configuration.

Your unique ability is likely to be a customer advocate for the organization, identify ways to improve the customer experience across the enterprise, and ensure business results are positively impacted.


A final word on the value of a good VoC partner...

Do not discount the power of telling a good story to your executives around how your customers are feeling, and what you can do now to improve the customer experience.

At PeopleMetrics, not only do we help our clients design a world-class VoC program, but we also help tell the story via various analytical techniques. Our goal is always to make our clients the heroes of their organization by arming them with CX stories that they can share with their VoC sponsor and the entire organization.

The CX story you tell executives must reinforce the program’s ROI. And be specific. How many customers has the VoC program saved? How many positive social reviews has it generated? How many new business leads have been generated as a result of VoC? If this step is not taken, ROI will be more difficult to prove in the future, and the program will become little more than a data collection exercise.

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About the Author

Sean McDade, PhD is the author of Listen or Die: 40 Lessons That Turn Customer Feedback Into Gold. He founded PeopleMetrics in 2001 and is the architect of the company’s customer experience management (CEM) software platform. As CEO, he guides the company’s vision and strategy. Sean has over 20 years of experience helping companies measure and improve the customer experience. Earlier in his career, he spent five years at the Gallup Organization, where he was the practice leader of their consulting division. His company offers CEM software with advanced machine learning solutions and hands-on analytical support to help companies make sense of their CX data. Sean holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration with a specialization in marketing science from Temple University in Philadelphia. He has published eight articles in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and has taught over 25 marketing classes. Sean was named a 40 under 40 award recipient of the Philadelphia region. He is an active Angel Investor, including investments in Tender Greens, CloudMine and Sidecar.

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