Canadian Transit Forum - February/March 2015 / février/mars 2015 - (Page 19)

Feature ELEVATING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE: COLLECTING THE VOICE OF THE CUSTOMER By Chris Fairhall, Business Solutions Planner, Metrolinx and Devon Khusial, Senior Project Officer, Metrolinx AT CUTA'S FALL CONFERENCE & Trans-Expo 2014 in Niagara Falls, CUTA's Customer Orientation Task Force (COTF) shared another way to raise the bar on customer service: using the voice of the customer. The "Voice of the Customer" workshop is COTF's third session on how transit companies can make changes to improve their customers' experience. It followed the "Passenger Charter" and "Wayfinding" sessions at previous conferences. The workshop, facilitated by Devon Khusial, the Senior Project Officer of Market Research and Insights at Metrolinx, focused on highlighting the importance of collecting and incorporating the voice of the customer into decisions affecting customers. We've heard it all before, there's no budget for anything but keeping our buses and trains moving. The workshop challenged that position and offered some suggestions that any company can do even if there is no budget. It defined what "Voice of the Customer" is, why it's important, and identified some challenges companies face and offered ways to overcome them. Some may say that voice of the customer (VOC) is feedback gathered from surveys, and while that is basically accurate, VOC is much more than this. In its simplest form, VOC is a term used to describe the stated or unstated wants and needs of customers gained through direct or indirect questioning. Seventeen highly effective ways companies Devon Khusial, Senior Project Officer at Metrolinx and facilitator of the Customer Orientation Task Force Voice of the Customer Workshop hosted at CUTA's fall conference in Niagara Falls can collect customers' feedback were introduced in the session. One of the first steps to becoming a customer-focused organization is to start using the insights gained from listening to customers. This is something that all organizations can do and once underway, the rewards of using VOC become clear. Transit agencies have used VOC to: * save money by minimizing complaints and escalations * demonstrate a commitment to customer service and establish customer advocates * help prioritize initiatives and allocate resources to initiatives that help customers * build a reputation for good customer service and attract investments Although VOC can be captured in many ways (surveys, focus groups, online panels, customer advisory committees etc.), what's important to know is that VOC is: * Attainable: All organizations can participate in VOC - no matter the size of the company or its customer base. * Affordable: Many tools can be used at low or little cost but lead to a high return on investment. * Adjustable: You can customize the size of the research based on your need. There is no set plan, as it depends on your business, your customers, and your needs. * Actionable: Insights should be used to drive change and influence decisions. If an organization is thinking of using VOC to inform decisions it is important to consider the following: 1. WHO you get feedback from is just as important as HOW you get feedback: It is important to ensure that you have accurate representation from the customers providing feedback. If you are looking to get feedback on a particular issue that affects all of your riders then you need to This handy How to Guide contains market research best practices. It introduces 17 market research tools with details about when and how to use them and identifies some low cost options make sure that the customers you talk to represent your entire customer base. 2. Define your objectives and stick to them: Sometimes a company will want to ask customers as many questions as possible when they have the chance. However, this leads to a scattered questionnaire that lacks focus and fails to provide actionable insights. Always make sure to define a clear set of objectives for the research. 3. The research experience reflects on you so make it a good one: Capturing VOC is another way a company interacts with their customers. When reaching out to customers a company needs to treat them as they would when serving them; make sure the research experience you design provides a rewarding experience. continued on page 21 No one can tell you more about your service and how to improve it than the people who use it. canadian transit forum | forum canadien sur le transport collectif 19

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Transit Forum - February/March 2015 / février/mars 2015

Message from the President: Civic Engagement – the Key to Political Profile
Message du président : L’engagement civique – la clé pour une dimension politique
The Mississauga Transitway – Making it Faster and Easier to Travel Across the City
Le Mississauga Transitway – Parcourir la ville plus rapidement et plus facilement
Greening Transit
Un transport collectif écologique
Elevating the Customer Experience: Collecting the Voice of the Customer
Rehausser l’expérience client en recueillant la Voix du client
Industry Trends: Member Funded Research: A New Demand Forecasting Tool for Specialized Transit
Tendances du secteur : Recherche financée par les membres : une nouvelle demande pour outil de prévision du transport adapté
Marketing in Transportation – Air Canada and the STM
Le marketing en transport – Air Canada et la STM
Index of Advertisers
Index des annonceurs

Canadian Transit Forum - February/March 2015 / février/mars 2015

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