A satisfied customer is a regular customer. To really understand where you are doing best in customer satisfaction, you need a Voice of the Customer Program (VoC). An active and planned VoC program informs your company about customer satisfaction and can help improve your products or services overall.
What is VoC and how can you improve your customer relationships?
What is the customer’s voice and why is it important?
Voice of the Customer is a market research term for the process of collecting, analyzing and implementing customer feedback data. A company will use a VoC program to better understand its customers. Using survey methods such as surveys and reviews, the data is then analyzed and distributed to the relevant departments. If you’ve shopped online in the past few years, you’ve most likely come across a brand’s VoC program in action.
This feedback loop benefits multiple departments and can lead to innovations such as new products and changes to the customer experience. For example, a product development department at a shoe manufacturer might want to know what color the next shoe would be. A VoC program can be used to collect data from customers on shoe color preferences, which can then help the department make a decision.
What are the 3 main phases of a successful VoC program?
A successful VoC program starts with the right questions. These questions change based on the needs of a department and affect how you collect customer data.
Questions can be as broad or detailed as:
- Why is the steak dish in this restaurant so unpopular compared to another place?
- How constant is our customer service quality?
- What is the most popular feature for our app?
Once you have questions, it’s time to move on to the first phase: collecting.
VoC Level 1: Collection
There are many ways to gather customer feedback that we will get into in more detail later. Some survey methods, such as Yelp and TripAdvisor Reviews, are constantly collecting feedback without your direction. Others, like surveys and customer interviews, require a more active approach. In either case, you should investigate all of the collection methods that are available to you. Customers are not on every platform. If you limit yourself to just those with whom you are familiar, you will only return to the same customers while ignoring those who comment on other platforms.
After a customer purchases online and delivers the product, RoomMates sends an automated email asking them to review the product. This is a common survey method for online retailers.
VoC Level 2: Analysis
In the analysis phase, you sort the data you have collected to find the metrics that can be used to answer your questions. The analysis is then presented to the relevant departments to help them move on to the next level.
Let’s take a look at one of the sample questions: “Why is the steak dish so unpopular at this restaurant compared to another location?” The capture phase uses social listening, review pages, and on-site survey cards. In the analysis phase, similarities within the collected data are examined. After reviewing the data, you can conclude that the recipe is wrong or that the dish is not being advertised enough that customers don’t know.
VoC Level 3: Implementation
You have the data and the analysis, now what? It’s time to make some decisions about what changes, if any, need to be implemented. Customer behavior analyzes are added to social media personas, product feedback evaluations are integrated into new products, and quality checks by customer service compensate for friction losses in the service process.
you asked and we heard … pretty clearly. T-Mobile customers can choose between a free Whopper or a free Impossible ™ Whopper with an order over USD 1 and #TMobileTuesdays.
Not valid in AK & HI. Download and registration of the BK app required. Qual’g plan required.
– Burger King (@BurgerKing) September 22, 2020
From a customer perspective, you usually only see the direct results of a VoC program if the brand mentions it. In this case, Burger King describes a popular customer inquiry as having a direct impact on the partnership with T-Mobile.
Voice of Customer data collection techniques
There are several VoC data collection methods available to you, some of which are easier to implement than others. As a consumer, you have likely come across most of these methods in one way or another. Fortunately, these days we have more technology than ever to collect data.
Some methods are more effective in the immediate sense when the customer’s experience is fresh. For example, if you want to know what a live music event was like for an attendee, taking surveys on the spot can get you more results than weeks later. However, if you have a service that takes a few weeks to complete, then it doesn’t make sense for you to ask how the customer’s experience was during the process. Timing is everything and sometimes a follow-up is needed.
Social listening & social media
Social listening is the process of analyzing the conversations and trends that are taking place not just about your brand but your industry as a whole. Social listening is great for monitoring brand sentiment, understanding your customers’ needs and wants, and keeping an eye on your competitors. With these inputs, you can ultimately make better marketing decisions.
With the right social listening tools, you don’t have to worry about missing vital information online.
Direct questions work well on social media too. In this case, Olive & June is a nail polish and accessories company. Without the answers having to be part of the current product range, the company still receives information about the colors in which its customers are currently.
Have you ever got a “How did we do it?” Email pretty much immediately after a customer service interaction is over? Or have you seen suggestion boxes on the front door of a restaurant as a low-tech example? Both are survey and collection techniques for VoC programs.
Surveys like the first example are best done when you have questions that you want to answer on an ongoing basis, such as: B. “How well is your customer service team doing?” Customized software like Zendesk offers these automated options so you don’t have to worry about initiating them.
On-site techniques such as the suggestion box are open and passive. Whatever the customer is feeling at the moment goes into the box. For better feedback, ask simple questions like “How would you rate your food today?” This would help make your customers aware of what they want to know more about.
Online customer reviews
Online customer reviews on your own website can be easily requested with automation and incentives like receiving a discount on your next order. The first step in this process is knowing how to effectively ask for customer reviews.
Reviews hosted on external review sites will continue to build your reputation and are paramount in some industries such as food and beverage to maintain and respond to.
When you provide customer support, live chat is often a good option, especially if you have the staff and customer base who need it. With this survey method, a short customer satisfaction survey is often shown at the end of a conversation. Since live chat is the most commonly used support tool, the questions tend to be in the “Are you satisfied with the answer?” and “Was your agent helpful?” The answers in these two areas provide an indication of how helpful the entire help team is and how a person is acting.
In Sprout Social, you can use chatbots to create automated response flows for frequently asked questions and customer care issues (tracking orders, finding locations, etc.). These chatbots are integrated into Sprout’s Smart Inbox, so that a single team member can jump into and manage more complex questions at any time. As you set up chatbots, you can set up prompts that can also be used to gather feedback on how helpful the experience was or where there is room for improvement.
When you need to answer very specific questions, customer interviews are the way to go. You choose the customers you want to ask and then analyze the answers. Perhaps you’ve created a new product, but you want to make sure that the use case you envisioned for it is implemented in real life. You would select the customers you want to test the product and then conduct interviews. Interviews can be conducted at any stage of a product or service life cycle.
Other VoC methods
In addition to the collection methods listed above, other VoC techniques include:
- Website behavior: Look at website data to see how customers land on, interact with, and click through your pages. This will help you determine if pages need better designs or are easier to find in your website structure.
- Recorded call data: Quality assurance records are used for customer service calls. They help the company understand whether they are delivering the desired quality on both a departmental and an individual level.
- Emails: Emails are often automatically sent to customers on a schedule to check various data points such as product satisfaction and company satisfaction.
- Focus groups: When developing a new product or service, focus groups inform the product development team when they are on the right track.
- Net Promoter Score: The Net Promoter Score “measures customer experience and predicts business growth.” It divides your customers into promoters, passives and critics. The score reflects how your customers perceive your brand.
Listen to your customer’s voice
The satisfaction of your customers is crucial to the success of your brand. And the only way to really know what your customers want and need is to incorporate a voice-of-customer program. After you have identified questions that you want the program to answer, you need to develop the collection methods you will use. The more survey methods you have, the broader your customer coverage will be.
Do you want to improve your VoC game on social media? Learn 40 Unique Ways You Can Use Social Listening To Make Changes In Your Business.