Recap: VoC for a Customer-First Culture with Kristi Faltorusso

7 min read

Recap: VoC for a Customer-First Culture with Kristi Faltorusso

Jun 18, 2020 6:04:00 PM

Last week we welcomed Kristi Faltorusso, VP of Customer Success at Intellishift, as our speaker for Signal VoC’s inaugural Member Spotlight event.

Kristi is a renowned CX expert who has revolutionized the Customer Success function at a number of organizations. As the definition of VoC continues to evolve, Kristi says that we need to “figure out what good looks like” for each of our organizations and then make a plan to achieve that. 

In her presentation, Kristi shared her framework for setting up a successful VoC program, and her plans for the Intellishift CX strategy going forward. If you didn’t have a chance to join us, here’s what you missed.

VoC is essential to a Customer-First Culture

To be a successful business, customers need to be at the center of your organization. To achieve that customer-first culture requires an organizational commitment to VoC. Every department contributes to the customers’ experience, and every department needs to receive VoC data to operationalize it.

We know, we’re preaching to the choir.

But by integrating VoC across the company, you reap even more benefits. For example, the customer’s voice is developed from their conversations with sales, before they even become a customer. As Kristi explains, this how companies can become trusted advisors to their customers. “When you collect feedback and act on it, and when you hear from customers and do what you say you’re going to do - your customers will start to trust you, and that becomes a strategic relationship.” 

In the breakout session after the presentation, one audience member suggested “farming the system” as a method to build customer-centricity across the organization. When folks on the support team are able to easily move into other roles in the company they bring with them the empathy of the support experience. Their deep product knowledge and customer-centric perspective can make other teams more receptive to VoC initiatives. 

VoC needs to be integrated into the whole customer journey. 

If there’s one point to remember from Kristi’s presentation, it’s this: 

“VoC is not NPS”

Why not? NPS is just a slice of the data available to you. With NPS, you’ll only ever achieve a 20-30% response rate on surveys at the most. What does the other 70-80% of your customer base think? If you’re relying solely on NPS surveys for feedback, do those other customers not have a voice? 

As Kristi reminds us: “NPS is a tool, not the outcome.”

When you’re building a comprehensive VOC program, it’s essential to collect data from across the customer journey; usage data, customer conversations, review sites, and social monitoring are all great inputs for a more holistic understanding of your customer’s experience. 


Kristi made sure to point out how critical it is to capture support team data in VoC. “Let’s be honest: in some organizations, your support team might be engaging with your customers more than any other department. It’s the things that your customers are asking for, the struggles that they are having, the pains that they are experiencing; all of those are such important conversations to have to make the customer successful.” 

In the breakout session, attendees chatted more about anticipating the "silent but deadly" response (or lack thereof) to surveys. It's the customers that you don't hear from that you need to worry about. There is no playbook for unknowns because they are unknowns. As a result, the more data-driven you can make your process, and the more important data sources you can unify and represent in your analysis, the more prepared you will be to address those known and unknown customer experiences, and you should see fewer unknowns in general. 

In addition, one attendee wisely pointed out that most teams focus on the extremes when, in reality, they could have predicted those outcomes easily. He emphasized that it's the "neutral" middle that teams need to be concerned about. “Those negatives and positives were once neutral. You can only influence outcomes effectively if you're paying attention before they suddenly identify as super positive or super negative.”

Building Blocks for a VoC Program

Collecting the data is only the first block of an effective VoC Program. Once you have the data, you need to be able to operationalize the data and take action. This is where Kristi says it’s important to show restraint as you’re developing your program. There might be other places to get data, but if it’s not actionable, it’s not helpful. 

Instead, focus on building a program with the data you have. Review insights early and often. Share these insights with cross-functional teams so they can learn as well. Most importantly, take action and respond to the data you’ve found.



A strong VoC program will provide customer insights that power your business in a number of different ways, across different stages in the customer journey: 

  • Roadmap: customer insight informs and influences the product roadmap
  • Renewals: real-time data helps navigate opportunities to keep customers for life
  • Relationships: enable proactive and timely conversations with customers
  • Growth: identify opportunities for upselling and expansion
  • Referrals: find your most supportive customers for referrals
  • Case Studies: develop success stories and share them with your audience

Watch the Session


Q&A Highlights 

After Kristi’s presentation, she answered the following questions from the audience: 

How do you approach the quantitative aspect of measuring impact? 

“Create baselines across all of the different components. Is the number of customer advocates growing? Am I increasing product adoption and usage? Am I reducing customer support tickets? Ultimately, what are the things I want to measure? Start by creating a benchmark measurement for each so you can measure your impact over time.” 

When you’re aggregating data from so many sources, how do you view it in a digestible format to be able to make decisions? 

“At Intellishift we’re using Gainsight as our CS and product experience platform. We’ll also be setting up Frame AI to aggregate and bring our data together in a meaningful way. We know that without a way to view it, this data we’re collecting isn’t helpful. At the moment we’re taking action, but not at scale. Frame AI will help us get those bigger insights from our data.” 

What best practices do you have for prioritizing actions moving forward? What action items do you take on as a team? 

It’s important to be disseminating data to the right people so they can make the decisions. For example, all product data goes to the product team so they can act on it. These are not my priorities, they are the business’ priorities so everyone has to be held accountable.

Have your own thoughts to add? 

Missed it? Join us here to get on the list for the next one, and to share your own experience and perspective.

Mary Cleary

Written by Mary Cleary