Listening to your customers is exactly what the phrase “voice of the customer” (VoC marketing) means. Customer feedback is gathered and analyzed as part of the VoC marketing process, which helps to directly improve both the product and the customer experience. This isn’t anything new, you’re presumably saying. Customers have been heard by businesses for years, and you’re kind of right.
In the past, gathering client input has been a crucial component of expanding a firm. However, VoC marketing focuses on gathering individual data rather than aggregate data. It places emphasis on “closing the loop,” or providing customers with evidence that their feedback has been taken into account while developing products and services. An ideal VoC marketing program will offer a framework for handling and leveraging customer input across the whole organization. VoC develops a plan that encompasses the entire business so that all departments may collaborate to solve the issue. As a result, your company may take a coordinated approach to enhance the customer experience, resolve problems, and foster growth.
Why is VoC marketing important?
By listening to their consumers, businesses may improve their offerings and create something that their target market will value and continue to spend time and money on. VoC concentrates on comprehending data rather than only gathering it. Why? Because if you are aware of consumer issues, resolving them should be your top priority. On the other hand, if you are aware of a place where people are enjoying your offering, you ought to want to learn why so you can build on it.
VoC marketing involves more than just distributing a survey and praying for a positive answer. You would anticipate that your coach would let you know when your form is poor if you paid them top bucks to train you with the goal of becoming a world champion gymnast, wouldn’t you? That’s because advancement requires constructive criticism.
VoC-recommended practices emphasize asking incisive questions rather than just positioning yourself for compliments (which can still be helpful, but we’ll get to that in a minute). Are customers dissatisfied with the price? Do they experience any issues utilizing your product? Does your service genuinely make their lives easier, or just add stress? Even while the comments might not be all smiles, they offer new perspectives that inspire change.
A company that is genuinely committed to its VoC marketing program would listen to each client, respond to their feedback, and use the data to refine its operations. By paying close attention and responding quickly, you may smooth out rocky parts for prospective clients and gain quick value from pleased clients. Without a VoC marketing plan, firms miss out on important chances to capitalize on delighted customers and appease displeased ones. The first can open up new commercial opportunities, while the second is crucial for decreasing churn. Customers are particularly receptive to both good and negative treatment, and both can benefit from little effort. According to an Oracle study on the effect of customer experience:
46% of consumers were pleased when an organization responded to a customer’s negative comment.
89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.
24% of consumers who had unsatisfactory service interactions shared their experiences through social networks in 2010.
What is the Voice of the Customer’s role in customer success?
You’re doing it completely wrong if your VoC marketing program isn’t linked to customer success. Customer success aims to assist users of your product in achieving their targeted results. These intended results are determined by the customer feedback obtained from VoC programs, making it an essential part of the Customer Success strategy.
The efficiency of your Customer Success team can be significantly increased by a VoC marketing program. Client Success Managers (CSM) are able to do their jobs more effectively thanks to the personalized approach to getting customer feedback. Ask inquiries like:
Is our product easy to consume?
Are we truly creating value?
How do you define success?
Are we helping you achieve that definition?
Customer Success Managers (CSMs) can start a conversation and set priorities on an individual, prescriptive basis with the use of the responses to these questions. CSMs gain a firm understanding of what success means to each customer so they can plan how to assist them in achieving it. VoC marketing fits into the same narrative as Customer Success, which is a corporate-wide initiative. All departments need to be aware of how crucial Customer Success and VoC marketing is. In order to provide clients with a positive experience from beginning to end, a full business is required, including sales, marketing, and product development.
The basics of VoC marketing programs
VoC marketing programs can involve a variety of duties, such as data collection, insight extraction, and application to customer lifecycles. We have developed a straightforward, three-step methodology on which you can construct your VoC marketing program. By adhering to this framework, you will have the ability to take decisive action and maximize the impact of your VoC marketing efforts.
Listen: Give your consumers regular opportunities to leave feedback in order to gather insightful input.
Act: Prompt follow-up will let clients know that you have heard them. A greater effect is produced by responding to client input more quickly.
Analyze: To keep the program on track, evaluate progress in relation to the goals and track improvement.
VoC marketing operations have been significantly streamlined by technological advancements. Many difficult operations, including reaching out to thousands of clients, responding to responses in bulk, gathering data, and much more, can be automated by software with VoC marketing capabilities. VoC data is a potent storyteller when used with Customer Success tools. Trends can be found, customer health scores can be generated based on comments, and much more.
3-Step Approach to Capturing Your Customer’s Voice
This succinct method for implementing VoC marketing builds on the three essential elements in order to proactively boost consistency, reactively close the loop, and predictably offer value.
Step 1: Listen
While it may sound like we’re exaggerating when we say, “This phase is incredibly crucial,” we really do mean it. The information acquired in this stage will decide the success of your entire VoC marketing program. Asking the right person the appropriate question at the right time is the first of three requirements for gathering relevant, actionable feedback.
Finding the right person
VoC’s best practices include developing consumer personas before you start randomly sending out surveys to everyone. Creating standardized personas makes it simple to describe who uses your product and how much they engage with it. Finding the appropriate individual to respond to your inquiries will become easier as a result of this. Just as you wouldn’t inquire of a CEO about the usability of a product they don’t commonly use, neither would you inquire of a project manager about the sales cycle.
Asking the right question
Asking the correct questions is much easier once your characters have been developed. Only asking a question that you’re prepared and willing to take the initiative to address, is an excellent rule to remember. We’ll be concentrating on two key sorts of feedback:
Direct feedback: direct customer feedback, frequently through questionnaires. NPS scores, CSAT scores across the lifetime, CSAT scores from transactions, community posts, etc. are a few examples.
Indirect feedback: Feedback obtained from customer interactions with your product. usage information, support information, and other behavioral variables, for instance.
When you combine direct and indirect input, you may get a comprehensive understanding of how someone views your product. Together, they help to fill in the gaps that would result from relying solely on one kind of feedback. For instance, a person can provide a poor NPS score as indirect feedback without providing any additional details regarding their decision. You see from their indirect feedback that they have several support tickets for a specific feature of your product. You can assume that their dissatisfaction is a result of the issues they’ve had with that aspect of your product and base a conversation on that assumption.
Finding the right time to ask
Just as essential as who you ask for feedback is when you ask them. The responses you get may be directly impacted by your timing. Align your surveys with significant customer journey checkpoints. This guarantees that a dissatisfied consumer won’t remain thus for an extended period of time. For instance, the period immediately following a customer’s implementation is a crucial point in their lifespan. Within a few days of the completion of their implementation, send out a survey to find out how they currently feel about the procedure and how at ease they are now that they are on their own.
Another custom is to send a short survey after each support ticket to complete the loop. You can determine whether you need to contact out and provide more assistance by asking them if they are satisfied with the support they have received. You’ve developed personas, chosen the input you want, and chosen the appropriate channels for requesting it. One last thing to bear in mind before we move you on to the next step: survey fatigue, the nemesis of VoC.
This can occur if you send out too many surveys at once or if you don’t accurately estimate how long your survey will take. Create a cadence for your surveys based on your personalities so you can be sure you’re contacting the correct folks at the right times. If a survey has more than one question, specify how long it will take so that respondents are aware of what to expect. If you don’t adhere to these two best practices, your customers might disregard your surveys and you won’t have any results to show for it.
Step 2: Act
The second step focuses on giving your consumers value. Value creation doesn’t have to be a three-year process that requires numerous approvals and is then tacked onto an annual plan. Value is immediately realized when it comes to VoC marketing at the grassroots level. To fully convince clients that you are paying attention and making adjustments, you need a quick response, effective strategies, and a common company culture.
Act on feedback immediately
Best practices for VoC marketing emphasize “closed-loop” communication, which calls for prompt attention to and resolution of all consumer complaints. Close the loop before Step 3 if possible. Whether it’s a good or bad circumstance, act promptly to capitalize on it. Positive responses that go unanswered are just as wasteful as negative ones. These Promoters are important brand evangelists, according to NPS. The longer you wait to express gratitude and fuel their advocacy, the more likely it is that they will turn into Passives or, worse, Detractors.
Customer outreach may be easier to understand by employing a high-touch/low-touch approach. Consumers with high levels of communication needs, or high-touch customers, typically get one-on-one service. One-to-many interactions are an efficient way to contact low-touch clients and smaller contracts that might not need as much care.
Provide resources that help close the loop at scale
It’s one thing to read about VoC; quite another to actually do it. And we understand that no one finds it amusing to spend the entire day being yelled at by dissatisfied consumers. It can be difficult to inspire your staff to work like that all day. We advise developing VoC marketing playbooks, or a collection of best practices so that your team can organize the way they respond to customer input. This is a very efficient method of standardizing client outreach that can develop alongside your business.
By giving your staff as many resources as you can, you can strengthen your playbooks and outreach tactics. Software for managing customer relationships (CRM) is a useful tool with a wide range of functions. It provides information about a customer’s health for your outreach team, which they may utilize as discussion points. Pre-populated emails provide team members confidence and save them time when mediating disputes rather than forcing them to rely solely on their own judgment. Team members may swiftly share support materials with clients who need them by keeping them structured and accessible.
Create a culture that values feedback
Your whole business, from sales to services to product development, must prioritize VoC marketing if you want feedback to become reality. For established businesses, this can be difficult, but it’s vital. Encouragement from management is essential for this adjustment in perspective to take place. The necessity for departments to understand the value of feedback and have the drive to act on it. Once this is realized, standards can be established, and feedback may be given without any problems.
Step 3: Analyze
You should have a sizable amount of data to deal with now that your feedback loop has been shut down. This stage has been broken down into three categories for ease of use: business analytics, outreach analytics, and program insights. All the metrics you wish to track and benchmark against are included in business analytics. Your teams will have something to report on and be held responsible for because it is for internal use. Trends in NPS and follow-up response times may be included in this bucket of data. Track your NPS score, for instance, to see how it changes from quarter to quarter.
The results of your consumer outreach efforts are reflected in outreach metrics. Utilize these data to maximize your outreach efforts in comparison to industry standards. Examples include how well surveys perform, how many people receive them, how many emails are delivered, how many are opened, and how many people unsubscribe. To construct a comprehensive health score across subjective and objective indicators, combine direct and indirect input. With the help of this health score, you will be able to see the overall health of your consumers and quickly spot those who may be at risk.
The number of respondents to your survey is an essential statistic to monitor. This number is occasionally disregarded unless it is startlingly low. Don’t disregard it. Instead, look further. If certain people aren’t engaging with your product at all, you may need to change your messaging or find a way to engage them. You only need to examine outreach analytical data from various angles to gain a wealth of knowledge because it is insightful and tells a story.
From business and outreach analytics, program insights are gleaned. To strengthen your entire strategy, identify strategic priorities using these insights. For instance, text-based responses might be very helpful but are challenging to analyze at scale. Some software includes analytics capabilities that aid in determining tone and intent. To acquire a better overall understanding of your customer experience, use this technology to find trends in client feedback. After that, incorporate these lessons into your approach and monitor your outcomes.