One of the most detrimental mistakes you can make in your business is making assumptions. Assuming that customers must be happy if they’re still buying from you, assuming you’re providing everything customers need, and guessing at what improvements will increase your customer loyalty can each leave you vulnerable, and as soon as a competitor with better market research appears, your customers will flee.
This is why a voice of the customer program (VoC) is so vital, regardless of your industry or business model. In this article, our customer experience experts are giving you a full view of how to run a voice of the customer program and how to make it profitable.
What Is a Voice of the Customer Program?
First things first: what is a voice of the customer program or VoC program? This is a program or campaign focused on one goal: customer feedback. It’s all about asking customers what they like and dislike about your business and how you can better serve them, allowing you to stop guessing and start making data-driven improvements to your customer experience that will pay dividends.
Key Methodologies for a Voice of the Customer Program
There are numerous ways to collect customer feedback within your VoC program, and an effective VoC program will put several of them to use together. Let’s explore the top methodologies for voice of the customer programs.
Surveys are the most balanced way to gather feedback: they can offer you useful, in-depth information but they don’t require too much time or financial investment. Creating a concise but well-constructed survey is the first step, and from there, you can send the survey to known customers, post it on your site, print it on your receipts, and use other strategies to motivate customers to respond.
Individual interviews are a more extensive way to gather feedback because they involve a two-way conversation. You’re giving one customer your full attention to get to the bottom of their experiences with your business, what you’re doing well, and what you could do better. As beneficial as these are, they’re time-consuming and costly because of the one-on-one nature, even if you’re conducting the interview by phone or via live chat instead of in person.
Online customer reviews are vital for every business to pay attention to, but you should do more than respond to each one and then move on. You should look at the feedback from those reviews as a whole to get a peek into what customers think about your business.
Social media is a modern-day town center where you can hear all the chatter and gossip, and it’s a fantastic way to see what people are saying about you. Make sure to pull comments and messages where customers have sent you feedback directly, but also regularly search for mentions of your business to see what people are saying about you to others.
A focus group is similar to an individual interview, but you’re sparking discussions among a group of customers and listening to how they discuss your business. Much like interviews, focus groups can offer outstanding insights but they’re difficult to coordinate, whether you’re hosting them in person or on a group video call.
Customers can tell you a lot without saying a word if you’re paying attention. Behavior mapping is a way of monitoring and analyzing behaviors like which pages of your site customers visit and the way they explore those pages, the traffic patterns they take when they visit your store, and so on.
Customer Service Interactions
When customers contact you for specific tasks, like requesting a return or asking about a service you offer, this is an opportunity. The language a customer uses can tell you plenty about their experiences with you and their satisfaction, even if they call to file a complaint. There’s a big difference between “I’m surprised by this issue because it’s the first time I’ve had a problem with you” and “I’m tired of dealing with this problem over and over.” Monitor and track your customer service interactions, whether they’re via phone calls, email, or live chat, and look for these types of comments.
Customer-facing employees know a lot more about your customers’ experiences than you might realize. They pick up on customers’ frustrations and comments, so interviewing these employees regularly can give you a great view of how satisfied customers are.
Why Are There So Many Methodologies for VoC Programs?
The list above isn’t exhaustive; there are countless ways to gather information about customers’ opinions and ideas. A well-rounded and effective voice of the consumer program should incorporate a variety of research tools.
This allows you to get information from as many customers as possible. Not all customers will take the time to fill out a survey or do an interview, for example, so analyzing their behavior patterns and finding out from the sales team if they seemed satisfied allow you to still get a glimpse into their experience.
Some of the methodologies are more appropriate for certain circumstances too. For instance, focus groups and interviews may make sense if you’re seeing a massive problem with customer retention and you’re trying to get to the bottom of it. For day-to-day customer satisfaction optimization, though, they may not be worth the cost. In this case, a survey tool may be a better option, especially if you choose one that can efficiently gather and process qualitative information.
Tips for Developing Your VoC Program with Multiple Methodologies
As beneficial as it is to use multiple methodologies in your VoC program, it can be cumbersome too. These tips can make it more manageable so you aren’t missing out on crucial information.
Choose Your Tools Wisely
The right tools can make all the difference in a challenging project like a multi-methodology VoC program, so dedicate time to finding the right ones that fit your needs. Take the GroupSolver survey tool for example. The AI-driven survey platform is unique in its ability to ask open-ended questions and guage respondents’ agreement in real-time. This allows for the collection of in-depth insights and quantifiable conclusions that you won’t get from traditional survey platforms. Look for similarly helpful tools for your other research methodologies and for tracking your progress.
Focus on Patterns
It’s easy to get lost in the swell of data you’ll be getting from so many different angles, but the key is to look for patterns and use them to prioritize your next steps. If one particular suggestion or complaint comes up over and over, make it a top priority to fix that first. That doesn’t mean you should dismiss outliers but place them lower on the to-do list.
Kicking Off Your Voice of the Customer Program
To start raking in the wealth of knowledge your customers can share, now is the time to begin designing your VoC program. As you’re building your strategy, check out GroupSolver and sign up for a GroupSolver demo to see how it can revolutionize your customer experience surveys.