They buy your products, they use your services and they drive your business—and without them, your company would cease to exist. We’re talking about your customers. And voice of the customer (VoC) research can help you better understand them in order to create an even better customer experience, giving you a competitive advantage.
VoC gets rid of the guesswork by helping you identify what your customers are thinking, what they want to buy and what they need to hear in order to make a purchase. It does so by synthesizing customer feedback from across the organization to provide an accurate depiction of your customers’ needs and desires. Half of all large North American companies are using it and Gartner predicts that by 2018, VoC will be a top strategic investment for businesses. Keep reading to find out how you can implement voice of the customer strategies in your own organization.
It isn’t a wonder that VoC is taking off in organizations everywhere. Insights gained from its research can be used to break down customer barriers, solve problems and build better customer-brand relationships. If your company is one of the many considering investing in this initiative, here are five steps you can follow for successful implementation:
- Step one—Plan: During the planning phase, you’ll want to review existing organizational data to start painting a complete picture of your customers’ experiences. Use this information to determine customer pain points and frustrations, and from there create focused and actionable strategic objectives.
- Step two—Collect your data: In step two, you’ll determine what additional data (i.e. customer feedback) is needed to meet your VoC objectives and how you’ll collect it. Keep in mind, the focus should be on determining customer expectations, needs and requirements. This information can be obtained via many channels, such as interviews, surveys and social media. You can get creative in your data collection, too. For instance, forgo the traditional interview and supplement with Skype® or Google+®. Or consider surveying your customers online or via a mobile app. Whichever method(s) you choose, thank your customers for their feedback with a token of appreciation, like a dual-purpose screen cleaner/stylus key tag or 3-in-1 tech pouch.
- Step three—Interpret your data: Once you’ve collected your data, you’re ready to uncover what it all means. Start by organizing customer feedback into categories of primary, secondary and tertiary needs. This can be done manually or with the use of VoC software to more deeply analyze your data. Once your data is organized, you can begin to interpret and prioritize it by order of importance to your customers.
- Step four—React: By now, you’ve learned a lot about your customers. It’s time to put all that knowledge to good use—hopefully in real time, too. Think mobile apps that allow customers to provide instant feedback before they leave your store or website. For example, perhaps your company offers a frequent-buyer discount, but several customers indicated they were unaware of this perk. A loyalty program rolled into a mobile app could be used to alert customers of this perk and track loyalty points—all in one place. Promote apps and loyalty programs alike by imprinting in-store signage with a quick response (QR) code for easy sign up. And post loyalty-program details along with a link to the app on your website. Provide a nice welcome for those who join with a token of appreciation, like a logo’d reusable shopping bag or grocery list.
- Step five—Monitor: Last, but certainly not least, is the monitoring stage. As with any business initiative, you’ll want to demonstrate both value and a return on investment (ROI) of your VoC efforts. Embedding measurement at every customer touch point can help you continually gauge if your customers’ expectations are being met and whether or not they are loyal to your product or service. If you have previous data to benchmark against—all the better.
Hopefully, after learning the five steps to VoC implementation, you’re feeling a bit more knowledgeable and better equipped to determine whether or not to begin the journey within your organization. For more information on VoC, check out our Voice of the Customer Blue Paper.