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5 Strategies to Capture and Use the Voice of the Customer
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Have you ever wondered how you could get into your customers’ heads and know what they care about the most? What are they looking for when searching for a product like yours? What is their mindset, and what makes them choose a product over others?
Although it’s practically impossible to get into your customers’ minds, it’s possible to listen to their voices and guess what’s on their minds. Voice of the Customer (VoC) is an area in customer research that deals with how you can capture and understand your customers’ pain points, needs, preferences, sentiments, etc., and use them to create a great customer experience.
In this article, we’ll explain what the Voice of Customer (VoC) is and how you can capture and understand it to make better strategic decisions.
Table of Contents
- What is Voice of the Customer (VoC)?
- Voice of Customer use cases
- 5 Strategies to capture the Voice of Customer
- Wrapping up
What is Voice of the Customer (VoC)?
The Voice of the Customer describes your customers’ feedback about their experience with your brand. VoC brings valuable insights into what customers need (preferences, pain points to be solved, etc.) and their actual experience. Businesses listen to the Voice of the Customer to identify and close the gap between their expectations and reality.
Capturing the Voice of the Customer is the best solution to all businesses’ problems. Using text analytics and sentiment analysis technologies, you reveal invaluable information from interactions between you and your customers. It helps increase customer retention and improves customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Voice of Customer use cases
Usually, it’s the marketing department that takes a look at the VoC. Yet it should include all stakeholders right from the beginning. Marketing, sales, development, customer support, and other teams should contribute to its development. Let’s see some of the use cases for the Voice of Customer.
1. Increasing the efficiency of marketing campaigns
A solid VoC strategy helps you identify your customers’ pain points and use them in your campaigns to increase engagement. Here’s what I mean.
Learning what encourages customers to choose you helps you in finding new customers. You understand what type of messaging better appeals to your audience.
For instance, easy setup is a significant concern for many businesses looking for B2B solutions. It’s very likely that your prospects have used your competitor’s products and are comparing your solution against theirs and other available alternatives. Collecting feedback allows you to gain insights on making your solution more user-friendly if needed.
VoC helps you know what’s important to them. For example, some markets are incredibly crowded, making buyers considerably price-sensitive. Running an interactive ROI calculator ad can be of great help if your audience is generally price-savvy. Using this information, you can polish essential points in your marketing campaigns or assign relevant content to your content calendar to get more traction.
2. Increasing onsite conversations
Onsite conversations help you understand customer problems as they happen. Real-time communication lets you figure out a solution immediately, which is a great way to know where the frictions lie.
If you show customers that you’re listening, it’ll encourage them to join onsite conversations via your blog, chatbot, live chat, and online events. They’ll be more responsive to your next interaction.
VoC research is beneficial in encouraging onsite conversations. The results of VoC research will help you tailor your message to your audience.
Say, for instance, your customers and prospects participated in a webinar you organized. It would be a shame not to listen to their suggestions over chat and Q&A sessions because they’ll share what they thought about the event and ideas for future events.
The next time you interact with them, you’ll show them you paid attention to the previous conversation. What’s the hottest industry trend everyone is curious about? Cover that topic in your next webinar. Were there any technical issues some attendees experienced? Solve the problem before the next event and send the attendees a ‘thank you for letting us know’ email. Taking these steps will carry your customer relationship to the next level.
A contact center AI tool can assist with several things, from automating processes to providing real-time chat via virtual agents or chatbots and delivering predictive analytics on customer attitudes and experiences.
3. Improving customer experience
Today’s consumers don’t want to be bound by the rules of businesses anymore. Offer customers choices at different stages of their journey. They should be able to navigate through their journey as they wish.
Analyze their choices through VoC research and see how they impact their experiences. Take, for instance, the difference between the lifetime value of customers that found you via ads versus the lifetime value of organic leads. If the organic numbers win by far, you know you have to invest in organic lead generation.
To cover all bases, you must have a comprehensive feedback collection plan. This Customer Experience Landscape template can help you create one:
From negative feedback, you’ll derive issues and fix them for future interactions. From positive feedback, you’ll gain customer insights into successful journeys and solve frictions in poor ones. In short, you’ll discover positive and negative elements that influence customer journeys. Some excellent customer onboarding tools allow you to collect customer feedback at every stage of the onboarding design process.
4. Helping with product development
VoC research is critical to the success of your products and services. When VoC is absent in the product design process, the end product might not be compatible with your customer’s expectations and needs. MIT Sloan Management Review’s study found that over half of products across industries fail, and the primary reason is failing to understand customer needs.
Your Voice of the Customer program must include product performance characteristics, operability, product labeling, and pricing. Designing desirable experiences across these areas calls for some guidance from customers. They are the ones who will use your products and services.
VoC is important in your product development process’s validation/testing phase. This is the phase where you validate “the product in the eyes of the customers.” The finished product may be available for initial feedback from paying customers at this stage.
When you listen to the VoC, you can make an educated guess about what customers expect from you and at what price. Your market positioning and relative price offer need to meet their expectations. Otherwise, you either miss out on sales or profits.
Of course, VoC remains equally crucial after the product launch. Analyzing conversational data reveals where customers see the value and where problems stem from. This, in turn, helps businesses prioritize needs and drive product development in the right direction.
5 Strategies to capture the Voice of Customer
First, identify your goal for implementing a VoC program. It could be any of the use cases explained above or to tackle a specific problem:
- Why is our new feature not used by customers?
- Why do users quit our app when searching through our products?
- Why is our churn rate above industry average?
Or, you could simply be measuring the performance of a current strategy or process. For instance, how do the visitors like the new chatbot we’re using on our website?
The channel you should use for your VoC program depends on your customers’ preferences. Look at your company data to see which channels have the most engagement. According to Aberdeen Group’s survey, the following are 5 of the most popular channels used for VoC data collection:
1. Online surveys (69% of respondents)
Over 2/3 of businesses use online surveys to capture Voice of the Customer data. The best part of online surveying is that there are multiple channels over which you can survey customers. If a customer uses email as the primary channel, Google Forms and other survey software provide email integrations. For those attending virtual events, you can use survey modules offered by streaming platforms to capture their experience.
Start with topics that you have very little insight into. Encourage customers to express their perspectives on those topics. Ask clarifying follow-up questions to ensure they are comfortable and deliberate in their explanations. Try not to force the respondents to confirm your assumptions. Instead, they should show what they think and feel.
2. In-person surveys (58% of respondents)
In-person surveys are great tools for B2B marketing. Mainly because they are imperative to account-based marketing.
Account-based marketers and sales reps ensure that every request put forward by their key accounts is addressed immediately. In-person surveys offer a proactive approach to customer success. By surveying key accounts regularly, account-based marketers identify upgrading opportunities and prevent negative experiences from becoming recurring problems.
More importantly, in-person surveys help businesses answer questions that shape their positioning strategy:
- What problems did customers have that led them to look for a solution like yours?
- What solutions did they previously use to satisfy their needs?
- How well did those solutions overcome their pain points?
- What feature/unique value proposition has led customers to choose your product over the others?
- What more can existing products (including yours) offer to improve their experience?
Schedule in-person surveys with customers willing to join a call with your teammates. Offer a small gift card/discount/feature access to show your appreciation for their time. If you’re using a small business CRM to manage your customers, then this would be an easy process for you.
3. Social media (42% of respondents)
Social media is an excellent source of genuine customer opinions. Tap into relevant conversations on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn platforms to observe or participate in discussions. You’ll get to know about your customers and the trends they follow. And you’ll have direct, unfiltered feedback from customers.
However, keep in mind that turning these complicated findings into insightful data can get challenging. Make sure your CRM or marketing automation software integrates with your social platforms. Social listening tools are available that monitor brand sentiment and keep an eye on your social accounts.
4. Feedback/complaint forms on the company website (39% of respondents)
Feedback and complaint forms are perfect for collecting opinions about the experience you offer. Create forms via your CMS—any CMS should have this function—and have them embedded in any landing page you want. Build automated feedback workflows that are triggered by customer action. To visually design these workflows, you can use a workflow diagram software tool that makes the process very easy.
For example, redirect customers to a feedback form page when they go through a relatively complicated process on your website. Or, when a customer comes out of a meeting with your team, ask them how it went. You can use form pages, chat, pop-ups, or email in your automated feedback workflows.
5. Dedicated email inboxes (33% of respondents)
Assign an inbox that only captures customer feedback.
So, let’s say you’re using [email protected] in Gmail. Using a customer support solution like Hiver, you can manage this ID as a shared inbox, assign teammates to specific conversations, and have them use Notes for quick and seamless internal collaboration. The tool also offers you the convenience of handling live customer support chat inside Gmail and saves you the trouble of switching between platforms back and forth.
Hiver comes with another feature that’ll make life easier for you: you can attach customer surveys to your emails with just one click. You can personalize them for added context and create custom-made forms for specific purposes.
The Voice of the Customer is an essential aspect of running a successful business. Without it, your decisions are made in a void and might have adverse effects on CSAT (customer satisfaction). On the contrary, understanding your customers’ wants and pain points could help you in various areas such as your marketing strategy, conversion optimization, customer onboarding and experience, and product development.
The most common ways to capture VoC are online surveys, in-person surveys, social media, website forms, and dedicated email inboxes. The last one is significant because people are still used to sending complaints through email, so you must respond promptly.
Hiver helps you offer delightful customer service experiences right inside Gmail. It allows you to delegate tasks with two simple clicks, will enable you to communicate with your team on an email with internal notes, allows process automation, use email templates, track and measure performance with insightful analytics, and offer personalized experiences to your contacts, among others.
Sign up for a free 7-day trial to see how it works for you.