I Have Executive Sponsorship... Now What?
When you begin setting up a Voice of the Customer (VoC) program for your organization, one of the most important steps is to find Executive Sponsorship. Without it, the program may have a difficult time succeeding – or worse, getting off the ground at all!
But what happens after you find that valuable executive who agrees to sponsor, support, and advocate for the program? Chances are the next step will be to set up the program governance. This is an essential step for a couple of reasons.
First, a Voice of the Customer program is a major enterprise undertaking – it is a combination of projects that bring about significant business and process improvements. As the program progresses, it needs to have linkage mechanisms that ensure alignment with stated business objectives. These mechanisms provide oversight to the program during the initial setup phase, as well as during execution. Most importantly, linkages help adjust the program to maintain alignment as the business strategies evolve.
There are many models for Voice of the Customer program governance. Following is one model that has worked for many organizations:
- Executive Sponsorship (direction & oversight)
- Set program strategy and objectives
- Resource Customer Experience Program Management Office (PMO)
- Receive bi-weekly status updates from Customer Experience Team
- Executive Team (alignment & advising)
- Set strategy and ensure that customer experience measurements drive results
- Develop VoC program with VoC Program Management
- Monitor CSAT for their functional areas with responsibility for making improvements within those areas
- Determine cross-functional initiatives and provide resources for those customer experience initiatives
- Meet quarterly to review CSAT reports, monitor functional progress, and assign cross-functional projects
- VoC Program Manager (management & integration)
- Develop regular (monthly/quarterly) dashboards for the Executive team
- Define customer experience metrics for the company
- Develop customized VoC reports for different functional and project-based groups across the company
- Maintain list of top customer issues across the company
- Lead multi-disciplinary customer experience team and initiatives
- Make recommendations for improvements within different groups based on VoC analysis
- Track progress of VoC improvement programs across the company
- Train and coordinate VoC advocates across the company
Once the governance structure has been defined, the next step is getting organized. Because of its organizational reach and responsibilities, a VoC program is not a single structure, but a series of integrated structures. Besides the PMO, there will need to be a multi-disciplinary team that reviews VoC data and analysis (we call ours the Vovici Customer Insight Team). In our case, they actively participate in identifying and solving customer process issues, and represent members from the sales, marketing, customer support, and product development teams. They also serve as internal advocates for the VoC program.
Establishing a governance framework is one of the most significant efforts for a successful VoC program. This framework helps support the long-term success of the program because it provides for alignment to business strategies, establishes clear decision making authority, and provides effective oversight and leadership.