The most successful businesses know just what their customers want; and they deliver on it.
In fact, whether you’re a marketing veteran or someone who has just joined the team, it’s safe to say that you will always be looking for more consumer insights. After all, insights are dynamic and feedback always keeps changing. So it’s essential to keep up with the evolving trends to ensure that you devise and implement the most effective strategy.
While quick and effective surveys are a great place to begin, even these come with limitations.
So as we wait on the technology that helps us read our customers’ minds, let’s work with something a little more direct – Voice of the Customer.
While surveys are more direct with pre-set objectives, the voice of the customer is exactly what it sounds like. It allows you to hear/learn what your customers are saying, and so it is usually a lot more ambiguous. You never know what it might reveal.
As a consequence, this information is more time-consuming to analyze (and significantly more valuable!).
Why Try to Hear the Voice of the Customer (VoC)?
Why do we need to know the voice of the customer? Aren’t surveys enough?
If you want to inform and enhance your marketing strategies, every bit of information counts. You need to be able to go into the microscopic details to truly understand how you can connect with a wider audience.
So it isn’t enough to know that your customers like you. You want to know why they like you – is it because of your service, your product, or your messaging? What is it that the detractors are complaining about and how can you make them your promoters?
Voice of the Customer (VoC) methods help you answer the critical questions to truly understand your audience:
- Why do your customers come to you?
- What can you do to improve the customer experience?
- What interests your customers?
- What are your customers looking for?
The answers you get can transform your business. By keeping a close eye on the VoC, you can find customer experience solutions by:
- Spotting red flags and address them before they turn into a crisis.
- Reducing customer churn and increasing retention.
- Predicting and understanding the potential success of new products.
- Developing product offerings that directly cater to your customers, increasing brand value and product champions.
However, implementing the voice of the customer (VoC) efficiently isn’t an easy task. In fact, this is where many businesses fail. So instead of floundering in the dark, we’ve gathered a list of the top 10 ways you can hear what your customers are saying.
Ear to the Ground: The Best Sources to Find the Voice of Your Customer
Your customers are constantly trying to tell you just what they need – are you listening?
Customers communicate in many different ways, it is your job to keep an eye out for it. This involves continuously seeking out, monitoring, and analyzing data across channels. Here are the places you can start with:
Looking to collect the most authentic real-time feedback from your customers? Why not do it when they’re most attuned to your offering?
Having a live chat feature on your website allows customers to immediately reach out to you – whether it’s because of dissatisfaction or just some clarification.
Giving them a quick and easy outlet gives you the opportunity to understand just what works and what doesn’t.
Social media is one of the essentials of modern life. Not an experience goes by that isn’t posted online. So when you want to hear your customers’ opinions, this is definitely one of the best sources.
It allows you to have unfiltered, real-time conversations with your audience. Engage with them or just listen to their feedback. You may discover insights regarding concerns you hadn’t even thought about.
Recorded Call DataCustomer service calls are usually recorded, but going through these can be nothing short of a monumental task.
However, these calls will give you historical data to understand not only what problems customers face the most, but also what they expect from your brand.
Make notes as you comb through these, and you might discover a new angle to improving your services and marketing strategy!
Website BehaviorYour customers don’t always need to talk to you to get their feedback.
In fact, their behavior on your website can reveal a lot as well. Is the UI easy to navigate? What features do your customers access the most? Which pages seem to captivate their attention?
The more information you get, the better you can make your offering.
There are several tools to analyze customer behavior on your website, so check out which one suits your needs and begin gleaning behavioral insights straight away.
Online Review WebsitesMost unhappy customers will just leave without telling you why. So while there are several things you can implement to give them an outlet, the first thing you can begin with is review websites!
These third-party platforms enable customers to give their opinions – and give you a fantastic store of raw data to draw from. Look out for what customers are saying on platforms such as TrustPilot, Capterra, and more.
Even if it’s negative, it can help focus your marketing strategy and understand what needs your attention. And while you write it down, don’t forget to engage the customers and show that you care!
Seeking Answers: Actively Engaging Your Customers
When you look at what the customers are already saying, you never know what insights you will get. But not all voice of customer (VoC) methods is as ambiguous. Here are a few practices you could try out to get more focused feedback instead:
Customer InterviewsIn order to get more qualitative data and understand the big ‘why’ that plagues every business, customer interviews are a must-have.
These can help you understand opinions about an upcoming product, gain insights about what can be improved about your existing services, and more.
Customer interviews are usually conducted on a group of customers with similar attributes or even individual customers to dissect the feedback you receive from various audience segments.
These can be on call, in person, or even via email.
Focus GroupsWant insights into your product or brand? Get 8-10 people together to have them freely discuss what they think.
Unbiased opinions are often the ticket to improving your brand.
Focus groups are used – usually after interviews – to get a holistic overview of popular market opinion. So you can call in people perhaps based on certain pre-set criteria or randomly select your audience and just listen.
EmailsWhen you run an email marketing campaign, or even send out promotional emails, request people’s feedback at the end. People love sharing their opinions, and this will be the perfect outlet.
While responding to the email is one way to do it (and can often be unstructured and chaotic to sort through), you can always link them to a survey and have the responses roll in.
In addition to the choice questions, including open-ended questions, so your customers may speak their minds.
This can then be analyzed using sentiment analysis or natural language processing – the best way to get a quick overview of where your customers stand!
You may be doing everything right, but if you don’t have a feedback form embedded on your website – you are missing out.
A dedicated website feedback form is the best way to get immediate insights from customers who are already browsing. You can program it to appear at certain points or after a certain action (Ex. After making a purchase).
This will allow you to get a sense of their experience at various touchpoints.
And while this isn’t always the best way to capture their voice, the feedback form gives you invaluable insights to complement the voice of the customer (VoC).
Get to know how loyal your customers are to you by asking a simple question – How likely are you to recommend our brand/product/services to your friends, family, or colleagues?
Respondents rate their answer on a scale of 1-10, and the analytics will give you a clear overview of your promoters, passive customers, and detractors. The Net Promoter Score is a quick and easy way to get an idea of how your customer base perceives your brand.
At a time when the competition is at an all-time high, it’s crucial for businesses to listen to their customers and deliver. That’s why listening to the voice of the customer has become an integral part of every business.
By doing it right, you can transform your customer experience, increase brand value, and grow your business. Customers today are focused on the services they receive and don’t mind paying a premium price for a better experience.
So if you aren’t already investing in and implementing methods to listen to the voice of your customer – it’s about time!