Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"Follow the Leader", Featuring Erica Mancuso

What is one thing every company can immediately do, to improve their Voice of the Customer program?  

There are some elegant ways to improve VOC, and then there’s effective, yet less than elegant ways. My experience in startups and small businesses has taught me that sometimes you need to be resourceful - or downright scrappy - to get certain things done. Scrappy, of course, in an entirely professional way!

During a time of significant transition at a former company, our customer focus was somehow lost in the shuffle. Our product developers were making decisions with the best of intentions, but without the customer point of view in mind. As a result, deliverables were tossed over the fence from development, half-baked, and both clients and employees were frustrated. Death by a thousand paper cuts, we’d say. No one was set-up for success. We were in desperate need of a healthy dose of “Voice of Customer”.

Now, back to the scrappy part. Fortunately, my peers across the organization had already agreed that this was a problem that needed to be solved quickly. To get our developers thinking about the needs of the customers, developers started rotating through the contact center for a half day at a time. While they wouldn’t handle calls, they were paired up with an agent and listened to every single call. Through this, they heard the good, the bad, and the ugly. Agents, with whom developers didn’t typically interact, would explain the issues and their implications. 

Developers started to understand the impact of decisions made at the product level – and, more importantly, why they needed to get it right for the customers. They’d go back and tell their colleagues in their department, and soon, everyone was thinking more in terms of what’s best for the customer. This was a lovely, organic way to quickly inject VOC into the parts of the company that needed it the most.

Erica has over 15 years of experience building and leading customer facing teams for entrepreneurial software companies. In her current role as Director of Customer Success at Straightaway Health Careers, she is establishing all client facing programs, including implementation, support, and customer success. Outside of work, Erica is busy training for the Chicago Marathon and enjoys traveling, good food, and being active with her family. 

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