Did you know that a whopping 83% of customers feel more loyal to brands that respond to and resolve their complaints? Now, we’re not saying that people are going to complain about your company, but if they do, wouldn’t you want to know what’s got their goat, how common a problem this is, and how your customers would like you to handle it?
Understanding the very valid, very valuable viewpoint of your customers can stand you in good stead for making product improvements, service enhancements, and even launching new lines. And the best way to get to the bottom of those incredibly insightful opinions is with a trusty VoC (Voice of Customer) program.
What is a Voice of Customer program?
What’s a Voice of Customer (VoC) when it’s at home? So glad you asked (because it’s rather nifty)!
A Voice of Customer program is an effective way of engendering positive change in your business by gathering, analysing, and acting on feedback from your customers (although you must do the ‘acting’ bit). It takes feedback from all manner of sources – because a single customer survey is never enough – and puts them together to give you visible insight of what your customers think and feel about your brand.
The best VoC programs will centralize all that complex data to give you fast and easy access to what’s making your customers happy, and what’s causing them concern. In fact, a great VoC program (like the one we use here at Forsta) will take the hard labour out of the insight process and leave you with only what you need: patterns to be proactive about, and examples to act on.
Transform your business with an effective VoC program
A Voice of Customer program is ultimately aimed at making your customers’ needs centre stage. Understanding what makes people tick when they interact with your brand (and its products, services, employees, and platforms) can help you to create the sort of service improvements that lead to a winning customer experience – and one that beats your competitors’ hands-down.
You might already send out customer surveys to get a feel for what you’re doing well and where you’re going wrong, but you need to cast a far wider net to gain the sort of valuable insight that can really transform your business – and if you’re casting that net as wide as you should be, having a centralized program to analyse and make sense of that data is crucial.
If you’re not sure why appealing to and appeasing your customers is so important, it’s worth noting that 65% of customers have changed to a different brand because of a poor experience, while 78% have backed out of a purchase because of it.
People care about the experience you’re giving them. They also care about how you handle issues and resolve complaints (so much so that 90% of consumers worldwide consider issue resolution as their most crucial customer service concern).
With a robust and reliable VoC program, you can capture the level of feedback you need to make considered improvements to every aspect of the customer experience – boosting your profits and setting you apart in a saturated market.
Ready to find out how?
How to improve your voice of customer program?
Follow our seven steps below and you’ll be well on your way to creating a VoC program to be proud of.
1. Create a solid VoC foundation
You need to think about what you’re going to measure, how, and how often. Constant monitoring is necessary if you really want to make a difference to your business, as you’ll be able to spot patterns and trends, and you’ll never miss a beat. A great VoC program will lead to actionable insights for improvements, but if you’re collecting data from large numbers and across various platforms, finding a reliable VoC partner will pay dividends in the long run.
2. Gather info from a variety of sources
You can’t just send out one survey and base your future business plans on that. You need a good mix of customer experience surveys to give you a complete picture. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you’re covering relationships and transactions: a ‘relationship’ survey (such as NPS) focuses on how your customers feel about your brand; ‘transactional’ surveys (like CSAT and CES) look at specific interactions. See? Balance.
3. Map out your customer lifecycle
Your customers have multiple touchpoints with your brand – from advertising and interactions on social media, to your company website and aftersales care. Identifying each of these touchpoints will help you to hone in on areas where feedback could lead to an enhanced experience. You should also think about the teams responsible for each of these interactions – from your salespeople to your digital marketing team.
4. Tap up your employees for feedback
Yes, your customers are a goldmine of information – but so are your employees! Happier employees tend to lead to happier customers, so making sure your business works for the people who are running the daily show is a great way to engender positivity. You can easily gather feedback from your employees by asking how likely they’d be to recommend your workplace to friends or family – and introduce an anonymous suggestion box.
5. Capitalise on every customer interaction
Whether you operate entirely online, or you have a bricks-and-mortar store or office that your customers can come along to, you need to factor in feedback from every type of interaction. From online surveys to printed marketing materials, you should be monitoring every touchpoint.
6. Factor reporting into your VoC program
You need clear goals in mind before sending a single survey; you also need to consider which team will act on the feedback. One of the most beneficial things about working with a bonafide expert to get your VoC program on point is the inbuilt reporting. A reputable VoC program will take every avenue of data available to your business and generate insights that you can act on – now.
7. Make it a habit
Gathering, analysing, and acting on customer feedback isn’t a one-time thing. Just like your products and services are always evolving, the needs and wants of your customers are forever changing. It’s crucial that you stay one step ahead of the curve, and make it a habit to collect feedback, understand those insights, and put plans in place to support growth.
Bonus tips to outperform your competitors
We’re going to let you into a little secret: your competitors might be monitoring their customer feedback with the utmost vim and vigour – but they could be falling into any one of the most common pitfalls of implementing a VoC program. Luckily, you have us to steer you in the right direction, and away from these costly mistakes:
1. Avoid talking to the wrong customers
Who are your ideal customers? Which group is going to benefit your business and bring you in reach of your goals? Find them, then focus on them. Don’t waste your time targeting customers that you don’t even want to reach, and who’ll never do business with you because they fall outside of your target market.
2. Avoid asking the wrong questions
You can’t just ask any old question; this is far more than just a tick-box exercise! Ask the deep and meaningful questions that will get you to the heart of your customers, and never ignore the complaints; that’s where your most transformational feedback will be found.
3. Avoid skewing your answers
We get it. You don’t want negative feedback to reflect badly on the team; and hey, who likes criticism? But you won’t feel any benefits from this process if your bias comes into play. Let the results speak for themselves and embrace everything as an opportunity for growth.
4. Avoid poor data distribution
To really get the best from your VoC program, you need to share feedback far and wide – from the boardroom to your customer service team. Everyone in the business needs an understanding of brand perception, and the part they play in helping to shape it.
5. Avoid sitting on feedback
There’s absolutely no point in implementing a VoC program, then doing little to nothing with the feedback. A VoC program is only effective if you act on the insight – even if it uncovers necessary changes that you’d rather not make.
How can Forsta help?
If you want to cut your costs with centralized data, see the entire customer journey in one complete platform, turn data into invaluable insight, and take action that drives real change, Forsta can give you all the tools to understand and improve every aspect of your Voice of Customer (VoC).
With Forsta’s Voice of Customer software, you can make sure your digital customer experience is up to scratch – quickly, efficiently, and in a way that places you ahead of the competition.
We believe in asking the right questions, and making the answers count. So, if you’re ready to listen to your customers – across every medium, and in every language – let us take you beyond the data, and into the heart of human experience.
Request a demo to see what we’re all about (and how we take the hard work out of uncovering your customer insights).
Your customers are talking: are you listening?
Having a clear understanding of your customers’ buying patterns, preferences and deal-breakers puts you in an exceedingly strong position. This level of insight allows you to communicate with and respond to your customers in a way that keeps them happy – and makes them want to do business with you again (instead of running off into the sunset with your competitors).
A great VoC program helps you to remain relevant, competitive, and appealing to your customers (y’know, all those things that boost customer loyalty, and keep those niggling complaints at bay). And the great news is, you don’t have to do it by yourself.
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