Friday, 04 May 2012 09:03
If Voice of Customer is so 21st Century, then how come my Granny was an expert?
Comment by MIke McMaster, head of products and services at Rapide
At the end of the 20th Century we all changed from ‘consumers’ to ‘customers’. And the early 90’s saw papers published under a newly labelled phenomenon—the “Voice of the Customer” (earliest Wikipedia reference I could find was a University of Chicago paper in 1993).
But for most of us, it all really got going this century. The last decade has seen an explosion of VoC conferences, tools, papers, theories and more surveys than you could score on a scale of 1 to 10.
So as we are bombarded with more surveys through a whirlwind of technology and multi-channel implementation, it is a little odd that my mind jumps back 18 months to lunch with my (90 year old) Granny.
It was Granny’s favourite Sunday lunch venue. She preferred it over a number of other restaurants across Birmingham – we had tried small bistros, large stylish restaurants, Italian, French, Indian, Thai and Japanese, but whenever we asked, she always wanted to go back to the same place.
Now that sounds a lot like customer loyalty to me. Repeat purchases, preference for the brand, and an active advocate. Granny would recommend this place to anyone, and dragged distant relatives along every time they visited.
With a customer survey in place, surely this was a fantastic opportunity to find out what really pushed Granny’s buttons, and why she came back time after time.
So how did the company attempt to find out?
A telephone survey. Which took over 12 minutes to compete.
Granny didn’t care whether the waitress was wearing a name badge or if the menu was available on the table. She had no interest in providing a score from 1 – 5 on the car park facilities. Or pressing buttons on her phone to enter reference numbers, dates, her age and the number of people in the group.
And even if she had struggled all the way through to the end of this tortuous and irrelevant process – the company still would not know why she really loved the place.
I found out the answer in just one question.
For Granny, what made the visit perfect (or ruined it on the rare occasions that the restaurant got it wrong) was... the hot butterscotch sauce on the ice cream. And if the waitress recognised her (which they often did) then she got extra butterscotch sauce as well!
Not relevant to your business? Fair enough.
But the question that generated the insight is probably very relevant to your Voice of Customer programme. Because it should find out everything that you need to know without huge surveys, multi-point scales, check boxes or endless nonsense that is almost designed to annoy, infuriate and obstruct the very customers you want to hear from.
That MUST be what Voice of Customer is all about – capturing true insight into what drives customer behaviour and empowering the client to act on that insight.
“Granny, you always like coming here for Sunday lunch...Why?”