smiling employee waving from window of a restaurant (food truck?)
PHOTO: JuniperPhoton

The old adage “measure twice, cut once” has taken on new meaning as companies and individuals continue to prioritize data-driven approaches. Companies are looking to capture voice of the customer (VoC) data and act on these metrics to improve their customer experiences. And while having the desire and budget to measure the customer experience is a great start, it's more important to understand what is actually valuable to measure. To realize the value of customer experience metrics and achieve long-term success, proper planning is essential.

So how can you plan what to measure and how to measure it?

What Does VoC Success Look Like to You?

The first step is to define what "success" looks like for your company. Every company has different goals, and every product or service is different, so the VoC metrics that are important to your company will be unique. Consult with the relevant stakeholders and teams to come to an agreement on what success is for your company, understanding what metrics are most important to collect — not only today, but also a year or two down the road.

A number of default metrics are available, including familiar names like NPS, CSAT and retention rate. Using popular measurement mechanisms like these give the advantage of one-to-one comparison because industry and general data for these metrics is publicly available. The disadvantage, however, is generic metrics may not appropriately capture what is important to you in measuring your customer experience and setting you up for success.

Another option is to define your own custom metrics specific to your KPIs and your product or service. While this makes industry-wide or general comparison practically impossible, these custom metrics allow you to track your own progress internally over time. A simple way to bootstrap your own set of metrics is to start with a generic set of metrics and adjust them for your purposes. 

There is also a third option. As is often the case, a hybrid approach is a great compromise: create your own benchmarking metrics and add a couple of generic ones as well.

Related Article: The Secret to Actionable VoC and Customer Journey Mapping Programs

Now Collect – and Act – on Customer Feedback

Once you have decided what success looks like and what metrics are best for your company, you will need to agree on how to gather the information relevant to the KPIs and metrics you’ve picked. Your choice of approaches will depend on the type of information you are looking to gather. NPS, for example, is self-reported by your customers during an interaction with your brand. Depending on the touchpoint, the information can be gathered through an online survey, a pop-up or by a customer service representative.

The last step is in deciding what tool you should use to capture all this information. Here, you will want to do your due diligence and remember the two sides of the equation: gathering the data and digesting the data. Make sure to choose a tool that fits both these needs.

Voice of the customer data can be extremely valuable if used effectively. Just remember that collecting data for the sake of collecting it will only serve to frustrate customers and keep your experiences static. Metrics are the most valuable way to measure your customer experience over time. When time and effort are put into defining the right metrics and planning your measurement strategy, putting VoC data into action can have a positive impact on your company’s bottom line.

Related Article: Data for the Sake of Data Is Useless: Rethink Your VoC Approach