Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs ensure customers are top-of-mind when utilities develop detailed roadmaps to define critical improvement projects for upcoming years.

Utilizing a Next Generation Voice of the Customer Program to Identify and Drive Business Improvement Opportunities within the E&U Industry

By Torin Lacher, Tory Paez and Paul Hagen

Let’s face it – the utility industry rarely conjures visions of amazing customer experiences.

Yet, many in the industry are coming to grips with digital disruption and the changing customer expectations that leaders like USAA, Amazon, Disney, Apple and Southwest are driving.  Numerous organizations have started revamping key processes, like meter-to-cash, to focus on customer needs, not just internal goals. Improvement efforts range from developing responsive mobile websites, increasing self-service applications, and utilizing customers’ historical information to tailor to service delivery. But simply chasing the latest digital fad is recipe for misguided efforts and wasted money that fails to deliver the desired results.

So what’s the secret for success? It starts with a solid foundation of listening to customers: Voice of the Customer Programs.

Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a term to describe the strategy, processes, people and technology utilized to capture customer perceptions about interactions within an organization to drive and prioritize resource allocation for continuous improvement. A VoC program helps organizations create customer advocacy, enhance operational efficiency and improve financial performance through a structured, consistent, and purposeful approach to capturing, analyzing and enhancing visibility of customer perceptions.  Furthermore, VoC programs provide the foundation for a data driven roadmap for short-term and long-term enhancements within your organization.

VoC programs ensure customers are top-of-mind when utilities develop detailed roadmaps to define critical improvement projects for upcoming years. This is very different from the status quo, where internal stakeholders and objectives rule and often do not drive value to the customer. For example, when a leading credit card company started listening to its customers, it realized that of its nearly $150 million annual capital spending budget, only about $2 million was allocated toward projects that eased pain in one of the most important customer interactions that created or destroyed customer loyalty. And, that $2 million failed to address the most important problems with the interactions. Good VoC programs continuously identify pain points and opportunities to serve customers across their interactions. For utilities with strategic goals of improving the customer experience, it provides a metrics-based approach to improvement.

Utilities can measure the results and impact of their completed roadmap projects.  After every improvement, utilities can then quantify the impacts on their customers and act accordingly to ensure they addressed the anticipated benefit. VoC Programs bridge the gap between what utilities believe to be important and what customers believe to be important.

If you're interested in learning more about Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs, please register for next month's webinar!

If you have any questions about VoC programs, please reach out to Tory Paez, Sr. Consultant at tpaez@westmonroepartners.com or Paul Hagen, Sr. Principal at phagen@westmonroepartners.com