FEATURE1 May 2019

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When businesses carry out ‘voice of the customer’ programmes, the questions they ask must be carefully considered. It’s not about getting the answers a business wants, it’s about getting the answers it needs. By Tim Phillips.

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When Rosemary Hadden, head of research and insight, joined npower six years ago, the company propped up the Which? annual survey of customer satisfaction for utility companies. “We were bottom of the pack – and by quite some way, ” she recalls. 

A programme to improve the customer experience was in place, but its results were hard to understand because – as Hadden describes it – “the view was nearly everything was broken”.

Listening to the voice of the customer (VoC) for a company in npower’s situation is messy and challenging. “In the energy sector, everything you measure is interrelated, ” Hadden says. “All of the touchpoints influence one another, so it’s important – from a voice of the customer perspective – to look at the way you analyse and interpret the data, rather than do it in silos.” For example, unhappiness with price affected the rating for customer experience. When bills went up across the industry, negative sentiment on ...