I recently examined Forrester’s data to find out how consumers provide feedback about bad service experiences. (For my full analysis, see: "How Consumers Complain About Poor Service.") The big takeaway is that consumers are much more likely to provide feedback directly to companies through relatively traditional channels (surveys, phone calls, email, surface mail) than provide feedback publicly through social channels (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, review sites). More specifically, 71% of US consumers provided feedback through at least one traditional channel (including email), while only 16% provided feedback through any of the social channels we asked about.

This may not be a huge shocker, but it is hugely important for customer experience leaders building out voice of the customer (VoC) programs. Most companies already use surveys extensively, and social media is now a hotbed of VoC activity. Yet the contact center is still largely untapped. That’s a shame, considering the mountains of valuable unstructured and unsolicited customer feedback buried in calls, emails, and letters.

Customer experience leaders need to step back for a minute to align their VoC efforts with their customers’ feedback behaviors. If there’s customer feedback gold in your contact center — and there probably is — you should mine that resource.