Learning Your Customer’s Language

How to become fluent in the Voice of the Customer and deliver more value

I transitioned my first consulting client into Agile/Scrum about one year ago. The most rewarding part of the process has been to see the team mature into a sustainable cadence of value delivery and continuous improvement. Recently, I learned that the Product Owner had not been able to keep up with the teams’ new pace. Facing this challenge, we started a new engagement focused on building a closed-loop of customer feedback to drive new backlog items. Through this article, I will walk you through the steps we took to succeed.

My first step was to research companies that successfully overcame a similar challenge. One case study that stood out was Medallia’s work helping one of Mexico’s largest banks, Banorte (you can read the full case study here). Here’s an excerpt articulating a similar need:

“Banorte needed a solution for getting feedback from customers and to collect insights that would help with strategy planning and making operational changes, as well as the ability to look at the 360-degree profile of each client during every interaction. It became a large priority to develop a voice of the customer program to enhance operations and meet ever-changing client expectations.”

After securing executive buy-in, I leveraged best practices to create a voice of the customer (VoC) program. Qualtrics is a leader in the space and provides one of the best process overviews I came across (available here). In the interest of clarity, the definition of Voice of the Customer I used is below:

Voice of the Customer (VoC): a term that describes your customer’s feedback about their experiences with and expectations for your products or services. It focuses on customer needs, expectations, understandings, and product improvement.

Before the engagement, the client had an omnichannel strategy in place as well as a surveying tool. For our project to be successful, we had to ensure we could leverage insights across all existing platforms. Some of the considerations we had about our surveying included: a) easy to replicate, b) good customer experience (e.g., short), c) translatable into user stories. Based on this article from the Harvard Business Review, we went with the Net Promoter Score metric.

The project wrapped up relatively quickly, which was a relief to the fast-moving development team. Today, the Net Promoter Score and supporting observations get consolidated into the CRM, where the Product Owner runs monthly reports. The reports are then leveraged in sessions with different teams, leading to new user stories being consistently created. Long story short, the team had become too Agile for the Product Owner, but then we got the Product Owner up to speed.

Simplifying best practices to enhance Customer Experience