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  • September 1, 2014
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

When VoC and VoE Combine

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but there will be more alignment of the two," she says. "VoC and VoE are coming together as one program or as a coordinated effort between teams."

The good news is that the change is being driven from the top down and from the bottom up, Cottle says. "The C-level, especially, is realizing that the voices of the customer and the employee matter," he states.

That's really the only way for these types of programs to succeed, according to Mike Maughan, product marketing manager for employee insights at Qualtrics, a provider of enterprise surveying platforms. "It needs management buy-in," he states emphatically.

Cottle sees two elements contributing to the convergence of VoC and VoE that is underway. The first is demand, driven by a change in how companies approach customer feedback. "In the past, there was a lot of focus on an outside-in approach," Maughan explains.

Companies developed an obsession with external voices. They allocated—and still allocate—great amounts of time and money trying to talk to and engage with customers, developing command centers, social media programs, micro-sites, communities, in-person events, unique loyalty programs, and a host of other things to find out exactly what customers think of them. In the process, they often overlooked their employees.

"Now, we're seeing more of an inside-out approach," Maughan says.

Stucki agrees. "There's more of an interest in getting transactional feedback, like after a customer calls into a contact center," she says. "And [companies] are giving employees the same level of importance as customers."

Stucki has also observed "a lot more effort to align VoC and VoE, and a lot more attention on using both together to help the business focus on the areas where it can have the greatest impact."

Another factor is a desire to get as much information as possible. Stucki notes that this is one of the biggest changes she's seen in the VoE arena. "A lot of companies only focused in the past on annual surveys, but now we're seeing a lot more of a focus on pulse surveys," she says. "In addition to annual surveys, they're reaching out more often to get at important issues within the company."

The other driver is the technology itself. "The [software-as-a-service] model has democratized it," Cottle says.

What typically happens now, Cottle points out, is that one division within the company buys the platform and then other groups 

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