The voice of the customer is one of the most radicalizing elements that’s responsible for developing an incredible customer journey for your business. Words spread like wildfire in the age of the internet, and if you wish to sustain your business, you must pray that the word of mouth around your business is good.
On the same note, customer experience is steadily overtaking the price factor and product usability as the key differentiator between brands. And that makes it crucial for you to improve your CX with everything in your power, and that’s where the voice of the customer or VoC comes into play.
According to Gartner, the voice of the customer programs can result in up to 55% greater client retention. But what is VoC? What are the most common mistakes brands make while implementing it? And how can you avoid those mistakes? Let’s find out.
What Is The Voice Of The Customer?
The voice of the customer or VoC is a phrase used to describe the process of weighing customer preferences and aversions against their experiences. It is a systematic approach to fetch feedback, mine it for insights, and use those insights to make informed business decisions. In other words, organizations leverage VoC programs to collect and analyze customer feedback which in turn helps in improving CX and the areas CX directly impacts.
It was as a result of VoC surveys that McDonald’s rolled out an all-day breakfast menu, leading to a 5.7% spike in the Q4 same-store sales in the US in 2015. In other words, VoC has already made its place in customer journey analytics and has a core role to play in determining customer motivations. No wonder why it’s one of the top fields being pursued by marketing leaders.
7 Common Voice Of Customer Mistakes And How To Avoid Them
For CX professionals getting started on their VoC programs, there are certain common mistakes they must be wary of. Let’s discuss some of them.
1. No Awareness of Goals
Every new venture begins with an end goal or end result in foresight, as should your VoC program. Given the fact that it is fundamental for improving common business functions like product development, operations, and customer success, you have to choose which problem you’re ready to handle.
Here are some of the common goals that VoC fulfills:
- Market Fit: The voice of the customer is an effective medium to assess your go-to-market strategy and will help you understand the psychographics of your market.
- Efficient Marketing: The insights received from your customers will help you create content that better resonates with your buyer personas.
- Product Innovation and Development: Customize products according to the needs of the consumer from the feedback received.
- Brand Management: VoC can help deal with issues related to brand awareness and perception — problems, which, when solved, directly lead to increased revenue.
- Service Improvement: The insights received from customers can go a long way to improve the communication strategies employed to provide above par service.
All in all, for any initiative you take, you must clearly outline your objectives and anticipate outcomes.
2. Poor Support From Management
Your VoC program indirectly affects everyone in your business, and so, everyone, especially the leaders of your organization, must support this routine. A voice of the customer analytics program single handedly pinpoints most of the customer experience loopholes. If there’s a lack of participation and support, the data collected will eventually become useless since you won’t have access to the resources necessary for mending things that customers tell you are broken.
Oftentimes, senior executives stick to their methods and processes and don’t admit there’s a problem. The solution here is to prepare them for criticism and negative feedback as it bursts the bubble, allowing them to better process the facts on the table.
Just as importantly, it’s part of the deal to train and educate your team about the sheer importance of data collected and how it affects every one of them.
3. Poor Selection of Channels For Getting Customer Feedback
The voice of the customer program is about listening to what your customers have to say, and hence you need to be available where they offer unsolicited feedback — advisory boards, social media, and live chats.
- Live Chat: You have a fantastic website, the traffic is amazing, the UI/UX is exemplary — it’s a dream, isn’t it? With the kind of websites we see today, it has become a go-to spot for customers, and they expect to find everything they need, including real-time support. And that’s where a live chat software comes in. But it has applications that go beyond support. Live chat gives you authentic real-time insights into your customers’ behavior while browsing and purchasing. Most people use it to discuss issues they’re facing, which include problems with pricing, out-of-stock products, or when something is buggy with the website.
- Web Behaviour: This is an optimal technique to analyze customer behavior passively outside of live chat and targeted surveys. It lets you know which of your products are the biggest hits and which need some resolving.
- Phone Support: Although less efficient and time-consuming, phone support is still relevant in certain sectors and provides deep insight into brand perception, and offers valuable feedback from customers. Many companies use business phone services to save costs while providing superior customer service.
- Social Media Listening Tools: According to data from Qualtrics, as many as 67% of customers are influenced by comments and reviews they read on social media. Given that millions of users are active on these platforms daily, you have a chance to track trends and collect unfiltered feedback. You can also address those issues while you’re at it.
4. Poorly Designed Voice of The Customer Programs
According to research from Gartner, CX drives two-thirds of customer loyalty, and the voice of the customer program aims at improving it by fetching actionable insights from the customers. That said, there’s no reason why the VoC programs shouldn’t be enjoyable too.
Calling the customers at inappropriate times, directly asking for data, running endless boring surveys will only frustrate them, creating friction in your relationship. Most of the surveys have issues with UI, navigation, and are riddled with poor grammar.
This is a time when you should be looking for level-headed responses instead of irritating them to the point wherein they’ll say anything just to be done with it.
5. Selection of Wrong Questions To Ask
Asking direct questions is a great way to receive feedback on specific topics from your customers. At the same time, it is important that the questions remain easy to understand and simple.
You can get started by creating different groups in your audience, segmenting them depending on whether their experience meets their expectations or not, bifurcating further as you go down. Henceforth, you can develop follow-up questions that will taper down your analysis as to why certain experiences may not be fulfilling. Some of the common questions include:
- Origin questions that delve deeper into the discovery phase. For example, “How did you hear about us?”, etc.
- Brand loyalty questions, and recommendation survey questions like Net Promoter Score. Examples include “How likely are you to recommend this product/service to others?”, and a follow-up question “What can we do to improve your experience?”, and so on.
- Questions that gauge brand image like “Where did you come across our brand recently?” or “What comes to mind when you think of our brand?”, and so on.
- Questions that measure the value received by your customers. Examples include “Did something stop you from finishing the transaction?” “Were we able to answer your question?”, and so on.
You must avoid asking questions, fetching feedback for things you can’t change. By doing so, you’re setting expectations that you’re willing to do something in that regard. And since you cannot, you must keep from disappointing your consumers.
6. Unavailability of Automation Where It Is Required
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with going out on the field to conduct personal customer interviews, except that it’s an outdated, and often inconvenient VoC tactic. You should always be on the lookout for methods that can automate the redundant tasks so that your team can focus on the implementation part of the program.
It is suggested to use marketing automation or CMS tool to automate the brunt of the outreach requests. It’s also suggested to hone the language of the message and incentivize the survey to encourage feedback.
7. Failing To Act Swiftly On Customer Feedback
Running a business is a two-way street. You sell a product to a customer; they pay you for it. The customers give you feedback; you turn it into action. And failing at your end will eventually lead to a lopsided and dissatisfying relationship with your customers.
Understand that just like customer feedback matters to you, sharing information holds value for the consumers. Hence, it’s crucial that you be proactive in taking actionable steps to address the pain points reflected in the feedback received, and keep it from getting shelved.
The information shared by your customers through your VoC program can significantly impact how your business functions today, regardless of whether it’s solicited or not. Hence, you must decide which team in your organization has the most to do with the feedback in question. If it’s positive, identify the teams making the most positive impact, and congratulate them. If it’s criticism, requires work to be done on your part, identify the cause of the misstep and see if the concerned team requires any support.
While your product roadmap isn’t driven solely on customer feedback, it is certainly the cornerstone for sustainable growth. Feedback loops with real customers with real voices reap infinite returns on the initiative. Hence, committing any of the common voice of the customer mistakes listed above can prove to be costly in the long run.