Author’s Note: This is the sixth of a series of six posts about Why You Shouldn’t Be Surprises Your VOC Program is Failing.
Failure is only permanent when you decide it is.
That statement holds true in any scenario and the truth of it burns deeply when you realize that failure, like success, is ultimately your choice.
If your Voice of the Customer (VOC) program is one of the more than 70% of programs that are not delivering actionable results, then you have a program that is currently a failure. If you want, you can decide to try again to achieve success. This is an often sobering, but very necessary conversation that I have with clients.
During my years of building VOC programs, I have been asked several times for a list of characteristics leaders should look for in new employees who will be hired to work in their VOC programs. I’ve decided that my first recommendation is, by far, grit.
Becoming an expert in VOC and then applying that expertise to build a successful VOC program requires vast amounts of learning, experimentation and failure. It requires that you be realistic about outcomes and confident in your ability to learn what is required to achieve those outcomes. It may require long nights of learning followed by long days of analysis. Being a great VOC analyst or leader is not for the timid. In my mind it is one of the most challenging jobs that exists in the corporate world today.
Think about it this way.
You will read thousands or even millions of comments from customers who are hurting, who feel they’ve been victimized, who feel that they have been ‘robbed.’
Then, you have to convince your leaders or peers to invest in improving things that show up again and again in complaints by what seems to be a small number of customers instead of investing in the new sexy feature that the designers or engineers have come up.
After that, you have to collaborate with other teams who have their own agenda and probably don’t want you giving them direction on what to improve or how to improve it.
Finally, after the improvements are made, you need to ensure that people remember you were a key part of the success so that your program and team are funded for future efforts.
It is a tough job. You are changing the culture of your company. You are challenging beliefs and traditions. You need to be gritty.
What is the reward for being gritty?
- Personal growth and emotional mastery that can transfer to so many areas of your life
- Professional recognition as a VOC master because you outlasted the others who were unwilling to do what it took to succeed at the level you did
- Customers who are grateful for the improved experience, even if they don’t know they have you to thank for it
- Maybe a raise or a promotion or an offer from a company that values what you can do even more than your current employer
- The opportunity to get a peek into your true potential and who you could become if you get even grittier.
Grit is one of the least available resources in the marketplace today. You can train someone to be a data scientist or an analyst or even a behavioral psychologist far more easily than you can train a person to be gritty.
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