Despite all of our different experiences in life and in the world, just about all of us can agree on one thing: the human mind is an absolute mystery. Just when you think you’re getting to know someone enough to anticipate what they’re thinking or feeling, they throw you a curveball and make you question everything you thought you knew. So if you can’t even read the mind of someone you’re close to, how can you read the minds of your customers?
Answer: you don’t. You ask them what they’re thinking instead. The most productive way to do this is with a well-developed voice of the customer program.
What Is a Voice of the Customer Program?
A voice of the customer program, often abbreviated as a VoC program, is a strategic program designed to collect and analyze customer feedback. Don’t mistake this for simply posting a feedback link on your website or waiting for customers to send you complaints and comments on their own. A true VoC program involves a strategically created survey, a campaign to actively recruit feedback, and a mindful process for putting that feedback to use.
Benefits of a Voice of the Customer Program
Why is a voice of the customer program such a vital program for your business to have? There are several benefits it offers that you won’t get anywhere else.
Get True Insights, Not Guesswork
There are countless strategies, tools, and tricks out there that claim to allow you to predict customers’ opinions and behaviors. The simple fact is that nothing works the same way as just asking the customers themselves. Yes, it can actually be that simple!
This gives you more accurate information about what customers want and how you can improve their experience, so the changes you make are more likely to have an impact on your balance sheet. On top of this, a smoothly conducted voice of the customer program can actually be easier and take up less time and labor than digging through research and statistics to try to predict buying behaviors.
Respond to Changes in Opinions Early
People change and your customers are people, so customer satisfaction is a moving target. To keep getting it right, you need a way to start seeing shifts in opinions and desires in the early stages. A VoC program is an excellent way to do that.
Through your customer feedback, you may start to notice more and more comments asking for a particular feature or exhibiting less enthusiasm for another specific feature of your product. If you pick up on those winds of change early, you can adapt and shift in a way to give customers what they want before they abandon your brand for a competitor that has what you don’t.
Essential Elements of a Strong VoC Program
What does it take to make your voice of the customer program successful? There are five key elements your program must have if you want strong results.
1. An Open-Ended Survey Tool
Not all survey tools are created equal, and one of the most powerful voice of the customer tools you can have is a survey program that really gets to the heart of what customers think. Multiple-choice surveys are extremely limiting. You aren’t getting authentic, unvarnished opinions; you’re getting the closest approximation out of the options you’ve presented.
GroupSolver, for example, is an AI-driven survey tool that gathers genuine insights from your customers in a conversational format, allowing them to simply say what’s on their minds. The AI technology behind the scenes then analyzes those open-ended responses and turns them into concrete, usable conclusions and data you can learn from.
2. A Well-Constructed Feedback Survey
To get the level of detail you want in your customer feedback, you need to ask the right questions. Instead of a generic “what do you think of our product” question, ask about specific features or specific elements of the customer experience and their opinions about your brand. You should also include market segmentation questions like demographic and geographic questions so you can see how different market segments’ opinions differ.
3. Active Feedback Pursuit Strategies
With your well-developed survey and your advanced survey tool in hand, your next must-have is a strategy for actively recruiting feedback. Maybe you set up an automation to send a feedback link after every customer purchase or after a period of time has passed since their purchase. Maybe you send the survey to your full database of customers. Whatever strategies you use, they need to be strategically planned to get thorough feedback from a variety of customers.
4. A Consistent Feedback Analysis Plan
Analyzing your customer feedback is the step that makes your entire VoC program worthwhile, but in reality, it’s the step that business leaders overlook most often. If you put your survey results aside to look at them “when you have time,” that time will never come.
To take the most advantage of your voice of the customer program, you need to be listening to those voices on a regular basis. Block off time in your schedule once per month or once per quarter, for example, to take a dedicated look at the results of your feedback program and form ideas for ways to improve the customer experience.
5. A Mindset of Proactive Growth
As abstract as it might seem, a mindset of growth and an openness to change may be the most vital tool you need for your VoC program. The objective of a voice of the customer program isn’t to pat yourself on the back but to look for ways to improve, change, and grow with your customers. Your business’s leadership must be actively seeking ways to improve and open to making changes if your VoC program will be fruitful.
Getting Your Voice of the Consumer Program Started
Excited to hear from your customers and ready to dive in? Now is the time to act! GroupSolver is the perfect survey tool to help you make your VoC program a success. Request a GroupSolver demo today to see what this tool has to offer and how it can make a difference in your bottom line.