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3 Tips to Manage the Voice of the Last Lost Customer

Jim Tincher Jim Tincher 10/23/2020

As CX practitioners, we work to uncover the Voice of the Customer (VoC) and use it to drive the company to improve. We combine qualitative and quantitative methods to understand what customers need and communicate this to the rest of the company to ensure we remain relevant to customers. 

But if you’ve ever worked within a B2B company, you may have come across another source of feedback that, if you’re not careful, can trump your VoC – the VoLLC. You may not have heard of this term – largely because I just made it up – but it’s certainly something you’ve run across. The Voice of the Last Lost Customer. 

Because B2B relationships are few and precious, each loss hurts. Your sales team can work for months on just one deal, and losing it stings. So much so that they want to prevent it from happening again. So they share any problems the customers mention as a way to push the organization to improve, preventing this from ever happening again. 

Sales is the power center in many B2B companies, and ignoring their feedback is a mistake. But so is basing product and service decisions off a single lost account. So, what is a B2B CX leader to do? Here are three tips to ensure that the VoLLC informs your program, rather than railroads it. 

Talk to sales often 

One reason VoLLC can trump VoC is because it follows a different path. Salespeople are often drivers. If sales feels that you’re not listening to them, they will find another avenue to share their message. Instead, meet with them and incorporate their feedback into your VoC channels. While sales has a narrow and specific view on the market (since they typically focus on those who aren’t your customers, which may be distinct from those you serve), it’s still an important input. Make sure they know you’re listening. 

Go on account calls 

Yes, right now they need to be virtual visits. But the B2B CX leader who doesn’t spend time with sales is the B2B CX Leader who is six months away from a job search. As sales is a typical power center, it pays to spend time with them – and it also helps to gain in-depth information on what a segment of the market feels. Even better, sales talks to your customers’ executives, whereas other VoC channels typically focus on users. So it’s a golden opportunity to gain a holistic view of your customers’ needs. 

Use it as a hammer – but only when your problem involves a nail 

Sometimes, sales’ VoLLC is off the mark. They could be trying to sell to somebody who isn’t your core customer or is non-strategic, but large. Or an individual salesperson may lose a few deals for the same reason and assume this is true of all accounts. It’s natural for one individual who works with a small set of companies to assume a pattern exists where there is none. But often they’re right. When the VoLLC matches up with your VoC, this is a powerful opportunity. Not only do you get to show the power center that you’re listening, you also gain a powerful ally in the pursuit of customer-focused changeSo take advantage of that when it happens, and have sales trumpet this critical need. 

Most CX leaders focus on customer loyalty, which is rational. Our tools are attuned to solve this problem, so it’s where we focus. But we know from our survey of CX leaders who are effectively driving change that they focus on sales as well as onboarding and service. So pay attention to the VoLLC, and use it to drive (soon-to-be) customer-focused change! 

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