While intelligent people do their best to avoid stereotyping people, the image of the opinionated American is hard to shake off. Compared with our British cousins, we tend to speak out more, both in opinion and in volume. For companies with both British and American customers, this can present a bit of a cross-cultural challenge.
In general, Americans are not known for holding back with opinions and complaints. This is to the benefit of companies that like to listen to their customer’s feedback. If your business depends largely on reticent British customers, however, it’s a bigger challenge. A recent study of 1,000 British consumers carried out by Ipsos MORI for contact center solutions provider Verint (News - Alert) together with the UK’s Customer Contact Association (CCA) found that fewer than a quarter of UK customers (24 percent) believe that companies take notice of their views, and only 29 percent feel valued as a customer. In fact, about half as many British customers as Americans (16 percent versus 34 percent) will post grievances on social media.
This comes during a time when companies are beginning to recognize the value of listening to the voice of the customer (VoC). What’s apparent is that companies serving British customers will need to listen a little more carefully and encourage customers to speak out. It’s not only about spotting problems; it’s also about building customers who are positively vocal about a brand.
“The study affirmed that not all consumers fit into one basket,” wrote the report’s authors. “More specifically, it surfaced significant and very different groups of customers. One of which, if properly engaged and incentivized, could act as powerful drivers of loyalty and growth – Brand Champions. In fact, collectively over 33 percent of customers would, if properly engaged and rewarded, stay loyal for several years and actively endorse the brand to friends, family and social media followers. Today, only 13 percent of customers in the UK GB could be considered Brand Champions.”
Customers will be more likely to offer feedback and praise, or identify problems, if doing so is convenient for them. Many companies make the mistake of trying to survey customers in ways that are convenient for the company, rather than the customers. It’s about meeting customers where they “live,” whether this is via social media, mobile app or webchat. Depending on your business and the demographics of your customers, the best places to encourage their “voices” will be different.
It’s certainly true that any contact center devoted to listening to the voices of its customers must engage in social media monitoring. But beyond that, it’s also critical to reach out and engage customers via these channels. While they might be reluctant to take the initiative to speak out, a small amount of personalized outreach can make all the difference.
Edited by Blaise McNamee