The debate is fierce – do off-the-shelf solutions work or are bespoke programmes the only way to truly listen to and engage with your customers?

By Watermelon | 13 October 2016

Voice of the Customer programmes can be confusing, especially if brands haven’t got anything in place, and they can become very time consuming for the organisation. This is where off-the-shelf solutions are a perfect fit; they can provide a ready-made solution which is fool proof. Clients can feel confident that a tried and tested approach will give them results as to how they are servicing their customers and where to focus their attention. Financially, off-the-shelf solutions are cost effective, especially for smaller businesses.

What an off-the-shelf approach doesn’t always provide companies with is a solution that is appropriate for their customer base, both in terms of the method used to engage with them and the measurements used. Nor are they necessarily a comfortable fit with business objectives, the organisational structure of the company or the sector in which they sit.

By designing a bespoke programme solution we are able to cater for the nuances of individual businesses, their various customer types and their short and long term objectives. We can ensure that the data that we capture is relevant and actionable, and that the tool that is provided delivers real benefit to different users across different levels within the organisation, as opposed to a more rigid one size fits all approach that an off-the-shelf programme typically offers.

One of the biggest challenges of VoC programmes is establishing a regular, timely supply of customer information. Using a bespoke solution means there are a variety of ways the data can be received, such as setting up a live API connection to ensure feedback is gathered when it matters, in real time, regardless of the infrastructure in place.

Bespoke solutions also allow other data to be integrated into the programme as appropriate. This can include social media data, sales data and information from other CRM systems that may be in use.

In terms of reporting, a bespoke dashboard to deliver the data will display only relevant information for users and can cater for a wide range of roles and responsibilities. A hierarchy feature can control what different users see, for example someone in the call centre will need a very different viewpoint to a CEO. This importantly allows for tailored action management processes to be followed too – the right people within the organisation are able to follow up with customers and address their specific individual issues, rather than trying to handle them in a generic way.

Our partners at Watermelon Research believe there is a place for both methods and given every business is different, the strengths and weaknesses need to be considered for each and every individual programme.


Watermelon are our partners in the Voice of Customer space, offering a range of off-the-shelf and bespoke solutions to help you improve your customer experience.

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