Who. What. When. Where. Why. You don’t have to be a journalism major to recognize these elements as the fundamental tenets of a news story. Heck, the closest I come to formal training in reporting is my extensive collection of Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen comic books, and that list has been ingrained in my consciousness via osmosis.
But those five Ws aren’t just for carrot-topped cub reporters; they’re also the core fundamentals when planning out your Voice of Customer experience. They provide a perfect framework for focusing your thinking as you prepare your comment card and your plans for what you’ll do with the data you’re going to be receiving.
The Who bit might seem fairly obvious, and many times it will be: you want to leave the VoC welcome mat out for all of your users. But you need to think about the demographics of your visitors and how different segments use your site. Your front page is going to be visited by a different base than is a technical document or specialized product offering. So it makes sense to differentiate the VoC comment card that you serve to each of them.
What are you trying to learn? If you’ve got a problem pipeline on your site that you’re trying to diagnose, you need to make sure that the card you’re serving is facilitating that goal. The questions should be succinct but pointed, and you might want to use an invitation or event-driven comment card to get opinions from users who might not know that you’re actively soliciting them. On the other hand, if you’re just keeping your ear to the ground, make sure that your card is simple, direct, and omnipresent.
The When element is another that seems fairly obvious: when do you want to open up VoC channels? NOW! But you also want to think down the road, to new product rollouts, site additions, or other special events. These are great opportunities to collect feedback from your users; when you stir the pot, you want to be there to see what’s bubbling up! Don’t just “fit it and forget it”, allowing your feedback link to become the equivalent of that dusty old wooden “comments” box screwed into the wall. Look ahead for opportunities to keep things fresh and proactive!
Where are your users on your site when you ask for their feedback? Someone trying to pay a bill or buy something from a store is in a “getting stuff done” mode and might not be willing to answer a bunch of questions, but may be happy to leave a comment or give a general assessment of their experience. Someone perusing your information pages may be in a more contemplative mood, and more amenable to having their brain picked in a little more depth.
Lastly, of course, Why are you doing this? How are you going to use the data that you collect? Think about who needs to get the data you’re receiving and how they’ll get it. Will you send alerts to them as comments roll in, or will there be a gatekeeper who collates and distributes the information manually? Each approach has its benefits, and you should talk to your Client Experience manager to make sure that once you’ve collected all that great data that you’re best able to use it.
So go on out there and gather your requirements. And just like Jimmy Olsen, know that if you ever get in over your head, OpinionLab is here to duck into a phone booth and save the day!