Listen or Die

The One Relationship That Determines The Success of Your VoC Program

No matter how talented you are as a customer experience professional, you need a team to create a world-class VoC program - starting with IT, Legal and Procurement...

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Sean McDade, PhD

Sean McDade, PhD

Founder & CEO, PeopleMetrics

No matter how talented you are as a customer experience professional, you need a team to create a world-class VoC program.

In this blog post, we are focusing on the internal help you will need.

The Information Technology (IT) Department

Let’s begin with the information technology (IT) department. IT should be your best friend in making your VoC program happen—as long as you keep an eye on the costs.

IT should be your best friend as you make your VoC program because IT controls the most up-to-date information you need about the customer experience.

In a telecommunications company, for example, the IT department has a system that houses all the technician appointments for the day, including specific customer information such as email address and phone number.

They can also tell you how long someone has been a customer, how much they pay for service each month, and their billing trend over time.

As the lead of the customer experience team, you have to be multi-functional, with the right mindset and communication skills to connect with different personalities. This will help when interacting with your IT department, in that you’ll have to be incredibly specific about what you need.

If you allow an IT department to lead the conversation about what could be available, the bill will likely be too high and the timeline will probably take too long. IT might say, “That’s not possible,” when what they really mean is, “I don’t want to do that.”

The minimum support that you actually you need from IT is something called a flat file. This is often an Excel or CSV file that contains a list of customers who recently had an experience with the company. Once you specify how frequently you need this information to be collected—such as daily, twice a day, or weekly—you can request it from IT, and then upload the flat file with customer information into your VoC software platform so you can start sending out surveys.

IT can also help create an automated system for this process, such as connecting a point-of-sale system or CRM to your VoC software platform via an API. Automated this process can make it so that you or your team don't have to manually upload files or check them for accuracy.


The Analyst

In addition to IT, you’ll need assistance to help you understand what all of this customer feedback means.

Sometimes, you’re fortunate to have your own analyst.

If not, look to your company's business analytics and/or business intelligence department. They can be very helpful in connecting the dots and making sense of customer feedback.


Legal & Procurement 

The other internal departments that you will likely need to interact with are legal and procurement.

At times, legal will need to approve the questions that you are asking customers. This is especially true in highly regulated industries, such as pharmaceuticals.

Legal will also come into play if you decide to engage with a third-party partner. Legal can help you create a contract with that partner.

A related department, procurement, may also get involved if you decide to go out to “bid” for VoC software and services. This group will help you craft a Response for Proposal (RFP) that you can send out to multiple VoC providers.

Procurement will help you ask the right questions, consolidate responses, choose the right partner, and negotiate the cost/terms of the program.


Internal stakeholders are often forgotten when creating a VoC program. Keeping them top of mind will pay huge dividends.

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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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