Editor’s note: Phil Durand is the director of customer experience management at research firm Confirmit, London. 

There is almost no such thing as a green field site for customer insight and voice of the customer programs. Whether you are running your own customer experience program, or doing it on behalf of a client, you have almost certainly inherited some legacy elements from a previous initiative. Some give you a great foundation to build on. Other aspects have seen better days. Is the customer experience program you’re dealing with more of a fixer-upper than the envy of the neighborhood? 

Like any renovation project, it’s important to take a step back and see which walls are worth repainting and which should be torn down. But first, be sure to pinpoint if and why the house needs more than a spring cleaning. A CX program requires some TLC if:

So, what’s the best way to begin a CX remodel? Start with a listening inventory and a renewed focus on connecting (not collecting) data. A listening inventory zeroes in on the parts of the business CX teams need to know about, and which areas should be part of the relationship survey. This is essential for creating a framework, so the right people are asking customers the right questions at the right time. 

One thing to bear in mind – you might think you know all the feedback mechanisms that exist in your business. You’re the experts, right? I hate to break this to you but you’re almost certainly wrong. Almost every company I know that has conducted a really thorough listening audit has uncovered a number of entirely ad hoc, self-contained and, in some cases, downright rogue surveys, feedback requests and questionnaires. Brace yourself, there may be a can of worms awaiting you!

Don’t let this put you off. Start off by looking broadly at customer touchpoints – don’t add too much detail too quickly. Audit where there are feedback channels t...