In the present times, VoC (Voice of the Customer) programs have very rapidly become a strategic asset for the most customer-centric and forward-thinking CEOs. In our experience, although most businesses think that they exactly know what their customers want, yet in reality more often than not companies are partially correct in their assumptions or are incomplete in their judgments.
Nevertheless, in either scenario, it results in a cascading effect that brings down marketing communications, service delivery, sales effectiveness, customer experience (CX) objectives and product R&D.
However, the harmful financial brunt incurred in any one of these areas mentioned above is mostly a hidden loss that goes unnoticed by most businesses.
Therefore here are a few best practices for creating an effective VoC program to deliver a world-class customer experience for your brand:
Despite the self-proclamation of being customer focused, most businesses are in reality product-centric and seldom customer-centric in the approaches. Since using marketing rhetoric and calling yourself customer-centric does not make it so in the eyes of the customers.
Therefore, businesses must recognize and accept the fact that to achieve sustained success in your VoC program, your organization must be customer-centric or be on a journey to becoming customer-centric over a period of time.
Hence, if you find that your organization is not doing what is need to become customer-centric in its approaches, defer your VoC program, and rethink why and how your company can adopt a better CX (Customer Experience) strategy, and move back and make use of some simple survey analysis tools to find out what your customers think about their customer experience with your brand.
Delegate a Champion
Like all strategic business and IT initiatives, finding an effective executive sponsorship is one of the most essential pre-requisite of your VoC program.
Hence, you must designate a resource to design the VoC methods, business processes, data schema in the easy to use CRM software, as well as held accountable to gather, author and act upon customer feedback.
For most businesses, VoC will seek to capture, prioritize, and categorize customer experience and their preferences so that that your company can orchestrate the right mix of people, culture, technology, and processes in a consistent effort to delight your customers.
Moreover, it will also be helpful for organizations if they in addition to prioritizing customer preferences link related customer preferences together so that accomplishing one preference will jump start or add value to other VoC objectives.
VoC programs can be conducted manually or by using technology using outbound and inbound methods. Manual methods for implementing a VoC program in an organization most often include:
• Doing customer interviews
• Creating focus groups
• Creating reference programs and others
Nevertheless, while all these above-stated methods deliver good analysis, nevertheless they do not scale well in the long haul.
Therefore, it is best to engage technology like easy to use CRM software to achieve VoC automation in a manner that it continuously gathers customer feedbacks and dynamically analyze those feedbacks so that they are acted upon incessantly.
All customers are not equal, and so VoC programs must be based on customer segmentation.
While in B2B organizations customers can be segmented by personas and objectives using both implicit (i.e. behaviors, transactions, activities) and explicit (i.e. demographics) criterion, B2C companies may want to further include key performance indicators such as loyalty program attributes, Recent Frequency Monetary (RFM) and social media behaviors while implementing their VoC programs for their company.
Additionally, businesses can also create a category of ex-customers, which is often any brand’s single biggest customer segment and can offer valuable advice to the organization willing to boost their CX, and if that is acted upon and flowed up with a customer reactivation strategy result in delivering some big revenues for the company.
You need to leverage maximum on customer data to truly understand the voice of your customers. Therefore most companies manage their customer data in easy to use CRM software platforms instead of bridging disparate data silos to consolidate and make sense of their customer relationships.
You can even use a QuickBooks CRM software platform that provides QuickBooks CRM integration free and integrate accounts, with customer support, sales and marketing as a popular data governance approach for managing a real-time 360-degree view of their customers, that aids in consolidating, and distributing customer data throughout the company which is accurate, consistent, and complete for success of your VoC program.
Additionally, adopting a VoC program assisted with all-in-one CRM software helps you to send VoC questionnaires from the CRM system, which can be automated.
Hence using a CRM for corresponding with your customers, VoC surveys can be personalized with customer data (i.e. prior VoC feedbacks, purchase history), which will make the surveys find a boost in their response rate and make the feedbacks more actionable.
Moreover, CRM can tabulate data from multiple sources and append customer feedbacks directly to the CRM database, and also help in updating the account’s activity feed simultaneously for generating future up-selling and cross-selling activities.
Engage the Customer
Now comes the time when you need to listen to your customer. Therefore, whatever engagement techniques that you choose, always use open-ended questions while probing your customer to clearly understand the customer’s objectives, visions, frustrations, pain points and finally measure your VoC program’s success.
You will necessarily need to show paybacks in order to make your VoC program sustainable for your company.
While there are many organizations that make use of customer satisfaction metrics like customer loyalty, NPS (Net Promoter Score) and CSAT, we highly recommend you to use performance metrics which clearly demonstrates ROI such as customer retention metrics like CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) and up-sell/cross-sell metrics that directly shows inflow of additional revenue using VoC program earned by the company.
Always remember the VoC program is a journey, that is meant to show an increase in customer share, customer spend, and customer retention for your company.
According to a survey done by Gartner it has been found that while more than even 95% of organizations surveyed collect feedbacks from their customers, fewer than even half of these organizations bother to alert their staffs, and much lesser inform their customers proactively as to how their feedbacks were used to create a better customer experience.
In fact, only 5% of the respondents in the survey closed the loop by letting their participants know how they used the VoC feedbacks.
Therefore, before starting your VoC program, make sure that you have enough resources to review and act upon your customer’s feedback.
This is because; there is nothing worse than asking for feedback and then ignoring it.