We’re frequently being told about the importance of the Voice of the Customer, but it’s not enough just to collect information – organisations also need to convert feedback into actions that will improve the customer experience.

Of course that’s easier said than done, particularly with customer journey teams now focused on integrating digital more prominently into the feedback loop. Combining online and offline feedback can be challenging, but it’s essential if you’re serious about improving omnichannel customer journeys.

Making sure feedback reaches the right stakeholders is clearly important. This article in Inc. at the end of January, highlights the need to tune in to the Voice of the Customer, with a particular focus on Problems, Praise and Opportunities, while Pelorus Research advocates the art of effective listening, with customer experience employees trained to probe for the root causes of customer issues.

However, new research quoted in the Harvard Business Review this month suggests that over-empathising with customers can actually backfire, especially if you’re still apologising after the first 7 seconds of an interaction. Insight gained from filming customers at US and UK airport service desks found that it’s far better for service employees to focus less on finding the right ‘relational’ language and instead just dive in and start working on solving the problem.

The key here is to make sure that your voice of the customer data is combined with other data sources from across your organisation to understand the causes of good or bad sentiment. When issues occur, reach out to customers to apologise, resolve and demonstrate that you care. Using your data in this way can turn a poor experience into a brilliant one. We’ll be exploring this subject at our Sabio Executive Forum dinner in a couple of weeks, with an award winning case study from The Co-Op. Can’t wait!

In this week’s SabioSense we highlight the rapid growth in biometric voiceprints, identify a major potential disruptor in the healthcare sector, and ask whether smart devices are really helping when it comes to reducing friction in our daily lives.

  • Biometric boom accelerates as voiceprints pass 300 million – According to Biometric Update, while Nuance took 15 years to scale to 150 million voiceprints, broad customer availability has seen the number double to 300 million since 2016.
  • Transforming or disrupting the healthcare sector? – News that Amazon is partnering with one of the world’s largest banks and a leading conglomerate with insurance and reinsurance interests to create a not-for-profit business aimed at developing long-term solutions to rising healthcare costs shows that disruption can work both ways…
  • Do smart devices really help to reduce daily friction? – Interesting VC insight into whether smart home devices exist to reshape the customer interface – or just to make the Amazon, Apple or Google ecosystems more sticky.