As customer experience grows in importance for today’s companies, so too does capturing and acting on the Voice of Customer (VoC).
It Starts with Customer Experience
CX is the sum of how customers perceive all of their interactions with your company. It includes everything from how much they enjoy dealing with your employees, to how well your product or services meets their needs, to whether or not they like your logo.
The way a customer feels about your people and products forms their view of your brand and impacts their happiness and loyalty, and ultimately, your bottom line.
Customer Experience has quickly become a key competitive differentiator, making it impossible (or extremely unwise) for organizations to ignore its impact on their success.
So What is Voice of Customer?
Voice of Customer is essentially the collecting of feedback from customers about your business. It’s listening to what they have to say about interacting with your company, understanding what they like and don’t like, and using that information to improve Customer Experience.
Companies that do Voice of Customer well also gather and address feedback at an individual level. Instead of sending out a survey and getting thousands of anonymous responses, they connect with customers one-on-one and respond to each of them, confirming that their input is being heard and addressed.
Why is Voice of Customer Important?
First, Voice of Customer improves your overall CX and helps you retain customers. This is because really listening to and taking action on what they have to say makes them more likely to feel a strong loyalty towards your brand.
Second, the feedback you receive from customers can help you build better products and deliver better services. That in turn also works to retain customers, as well as attract new ones. It’s a beautiful cycle that unlocks huge benefits for your business.
How is Voice of Customer Done?
Gathering Voice of Customer data includes soliciting feedback through email, your website or SMS. It also includes paying attention to unsolicited feedback (primarily social media).
Compiling both solicited and unsolicited feedback will give you a more complete picture of the overall experience customers are having with your business.
To do this successfully, the first step is building a Voice of Customer Program that provides a framework for how you’ll gather and use VoC data. Once that’s in place, you’ll be able to act quickly when needed to drive significant impact.
Voice of Customer Programs – The Basics
There are many factors that go into creating a successful Voice of Customer Program. Thanks to technology, complicated tasks like aggregating data and reaching out to and replying to thousands of customers can be fully automated.
The simple goal of a Voice of Customer Program is always to collect feedback from your customers. Some of the most common ways to do this include:
- Surveys: This includes quick pop-up questions to customers browsing your website, follow-up surveys after a purchase or experience, or direct interactions via in-person or phone conversations.
- Social media: More than just listening to and interacting with customers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., you can also gather feedback from online forums, blog comments and product review sites.
- Interviews: This approach requires a little more effort, but is often worth it since in-person interactions can be more revealing about a customer’s true feelings.
- Indirect feedback: This is generated to collecting information on how customers are interacting with your product via usage data, support data and behavioral metrics.
The Benefits of a VoC Program
Yes, a VoC program will ultimately improve your customer experience. But there are some key impacts that can bolster the success of your organization overall:
Improved Customer Service
Having knowledge of real customer opinions and expectations will help your organization directly address the things that matter to them. When that happens, you’ll see big improvements in customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention.
Better Brand Management
A VoC program provides a direct line of communication with customers. Through social media, you can gain insights into how they interact with your brand. If these channels are closely monitored and properly managed, you can head off any situations that may be damaging to your brand, as well as use positive feedback for continuous improvement.
Keeping your ear to the ground will help you understand customer pain points, what they value and what they’re looking for. You can then use this information to identify new trends and spark innovation in your products and services.
Creating loyal customers is a cheap and very effective way to market your business. Highly satisfied customers will often shout your praises to everyone they know, and potential customers are more likely to trust their opinions than manufactured messages that come from your marketing team.
Building a Successful VoC Program
Effective VoC programs help identify trends, creative individual customer profiles and engagement scores, and more.
Your VoC program should help you accomplish the following:
- Provide your customers with frequent opportunities to submit meaningful feedback
- Respond quickly to feedback so customers feel heard
- Determine your progress and track improvement, while targeting and addressing problem areas
To make sure you have a strong strategic foundation on which to build your VoC program (and ensure its success), thoughtfully answer these three questions:
- What business objective do you want to achieve? Are you more interested in benchmarking or making continuous improvements?
- What information do you need to capture? Opinions? Behavioral data? Demographics? Impression of the brand? All of the above?
- What kind of technology can best help you accomplish your goals? How simple or sophisticated does it need to be?
Best Practices for VoC Programs
Every organization is different, but there are some best practices that help ensure the success of any VoC program.
Continuosly Capture Feedback
Customers are always engaging with your brand, which means you should always be paying attention. Through continuous monitoring of their feedback, you’ll be able to respond and resolve any complaints faster, as well as stay connected with their needs, wants and expectations.
Monitor Every Touch Point
Customers interact with your business in many different ways, whether it’s shopping online or in-store, on social media, or talking on the phone with customer service. To get a complete picture of your customer experience, it’s important to collect insights and feedback on all of these touchpoints.
Understand Your Data
Gathering feedback is just the first step. It’s important to analyze and truly understand what your data is telling you about your customers’ satisfaction, expectations and values. A VoC program that collects and presents everything in one place is helpful so you can easily compare measurements and filter data.
Act on Your Findings
If gathering feedback is step 1 and understanding feedback is step 2, then acting on what you’ve learned is step 3. In order to do this, your organization must have processes and teams in place to respond to feedback and initiate growth and improvement.
Share VOC Information Across Your Organization
All of your employees should understand the importance of CX and do their part to foster an engaged, happy customer base. Voice of Customer insights should be easily shared across the organization so that everyone can use them to elevate your customer experience.
How Worthix Does Voice of Customer
The best way to ensure you’re implementing a solid Voice of Customer Program that works for your organization and fulfills your goals is to hire experts to do it.
At Worthix, we augment your VoC to give you an additional view of your customers that is not available with your current tools.
We do this by adding AI to the front end of the process, creating personal conversations with as many of your customers as you want. This outside-in approach avoids the limitations of relying solely on static surveys and gives you qualitative responses at a quantitative scale.
When you combine that kind of conversational approach with your current survey technology, you truly get a full 360-degree view of your customer that sheds light on the blind spots that exist in current VoC technology.
The results give you a stronger understanding of your customers’ decisions and deliver specific, actionable business insights throughout the year.