voice of the customerTwo things jumped out to me as I read some customer service quotes from some notable and successful business leaders.  I’m not going to tell you what resonated with me until you read the quotes below and make up your own mind.

Take a look at and see if the themes you identify are similar to what I discovered:

  1. Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.
    Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft
  2. Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers.
    Ross Perot, Founder of EDS
  3. The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.
    John Russell, President, Harley Davidson
  4. Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business.
    Zig Ziglar, Author and Salesman
  5. There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.
    Sam Walton, Founder of Wal-Mart
  6.  If you’re not serving the customer, your job is to be serving someone who is.
    Jan Carlzon, ex-CEO SAP Group

What did you decide is important in these quotes?

What I see are: First, listen to your customers, especially unhappy ones, and second: Respect your customers; they are the boss and they will tell you what’s wrong. If this is wisdom that we should emulate, how are you performing in your company? Are you listening to your customers? And if you are listening, are you creating action plans to correct problem areas?

More and more, we at Genesys are turning our focus to helping our customers listen to their customers better, evaluating what is heard, using analytics to help make intelligent decisions, and using software and training strategies to improve the customer experience.

Can you listen better?

The following are a few things that contribute to helping you listen comprehensively in complex customer communication environments, and then being able to take action to correct customer experience issues over a variety of channels:

  1. Create a culture of customer focus and respect – Recently I wrote about the Publix Super Market Guarantee which states: “We will never knowingly disappoint you.”  If you shop Publix, you will see that guarantee right by the front door and employees appear to live it daily as they have the best customer service in my area. Great service starts with culture.
  2. Make sure you are listening to the Voice of the Customer – One method to gauge customer satisfaction is to use customer satisfaction surveys that are linked directly to customer interactions. Surveys in context provide one of the best options to listen more carefully to learn how to improve from your customers.
  3. Analyze the true meaning of customer conversations  By using speech analytics, key phrases that convey the true meaning of a conversation can be uncovered. One customer, for example, discovered the root cause of many of their repeat calls by analyzing key phrases and then made corrections to their service procedures. 
  4.  What are people saying via social media? – Having a sound social strategy starts with social engagement software that automates the process of listening to what people are saying, analyzing posts, and prioritizing and routing them to the right employees to take any needed action. You can then respond in the right way to strengthen the customer relationship and brand. With social engagement software, you can integrate social media interactions across marketing and customer service, maintaining a single customer service conversation.  
  5. Create a baseline and show improvement with key performance indicators – Do this by defining your KPIs and measuring them to provide a baseline for continuing improvements.  It’s tempting to pick classic KPIs like Revenue, Margin and SLA, but also investigate Net Promoter Score, which many people believe best represents the true customer experience.

To learn more about Voice of the Customer best practices, click here.

Let us know what types of things you are focusing on to listen better and make corrections.

Dudley Larus

I'm passionate about improving the customer experience Dudley Larus is a senior principal consultant in the Genesys Professional Services organization working with customers on their cx projects as a business analyst. Previously, he was part of the Genesys Product Marketing...