When an organization has a holistic understanding of their customer experience (CX), it provides an opportunity to make more informed CX improvements. Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs are a proven way businesses can collect solicited customer feedback to gain a deeper understand of how customer expectations compare to customer experience and take action to drive improvements.
What is solicited customer feedback?
Solicited customer feedback is information that a business actively obtains from customers, typically via surveys, to gain a better understanding of the customer experience at specific touchpoints throughout their journey.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of VoC programs and five benefits of collecting solicited customer feedback.
#1. Give customers a voice and make them feel valued
Soliciting customer feedback through surveys provides an avenue for customers to share insights into their experiences so that companies can learn how to better serve their needs and improve experience delivery. To show customers that their feedback is valued, it’s important to communicate you have listened and acted on their responses. This could be a simple follow up email to let customers know you’re working on resolving an issue they have identified. It’s also important to make it easy for customers to provide their feedback by keeping surveys short, clear, and on topic. By helping customers understand what the survey aims to accomplish, you will receive even more feedback that is useful and aligned with your goals.
With the acquisition of new customers being up to twenty-five times more expensive than retaining new ones, having dedicated programs in place to solicit and act on customer feedback is essential. One of the worst things a business can do for its reputation is ask a customer to provide feedback and then not acknowledge or address it. Not only does this show a lack of respect for the customer’s time, but it is also a missed opportunity for the company to design and improve CX campaigns that increase customer loyalty, retention, and spending.
#2. Get an accurate view of CX with positive, neutral, and negative feedback
Customers who have an average experience don’t usually feel compelled to provide feedback about their experience. While this group of customers doesn’t have strong feelings one way or another about your business, their input and insights are still valuable to gain a true sense of your overall customer experience delivery. By soliciting feedback, you’re prompting customers to share their viewpoint and as a result, collecting more customer data and that provide a more holistic view of performance.
#3. Gain greater visibility into the customer journey
Customer experience today is omnichannel. Because of this, businesses need to capture feedback and listen to their customers in a variety of ways. By soliciting customer feedback through a well-designed survey, you can capture the customer’s voice about specific moments in their journey, such as right after they make a purchase, and learn how to make improvements. But to develop a truly omnichannel VoC program and gain a complete picture of the customer journey, solicited feedback must be paired with feedback from unsolicited sources such as review sites, social media, and online forums.
Collecting customer feedback from many different sources means provides a more holistic view of what all of your customers — really happy, neutral and very unhappy —are experiencing and provides an opportunity to identify sources of both delight and despair in the customer journey.
For example, your really happy customers, who are most likely to recommend your business to others can provide insight into why customers are loyal to your brand. With that intelligence, you can then amplify those practices and elements that result in positive CX across the organization. If a location consistently receives outstanding feedback, then you can look at what they’re doing in-store and better train teams at other locations how to deliver the same outstanding experiences.
#4. Resolve concerns and win back customers
Forrester found that solicited feedback in the form of surveys are the most common feedback channel that consumers use to complain to companies about poor service. Although the goal is to deliver an experience that doesn’t warrant negative feedback, this is an opportunity to identify areas of improvement along the customer journey and win back a customer as 95% of unhappy customers will return to a business if their problem gets resolved.
With a voice of the customer software, you can set up automated triggers to quickly alert teams of issues based on specific survey scores and customer responses. Then, individuals responsible can take immediate action and resolve customer concerns before the customer shares their grievances online. This approach means that customer issues are managed at scale through to resolution with full visibility into the actions taken to resolve issues.
#5. Prevent negative feedback from spreading
Unhappy customers are the most concerning from a brand reputation standpoint as poor word of mouth is likely to originate here. In a survey from Dimensional Research, 95% of respondents said they tell at least one other person about a bad experience, and 54% said they would tell at least five other people. Open-ended survey responses are a great way to gather specific information about a customer, particularly insight into a problem or level of dissatisfaction. With a VoC platform, text analytics can reveal key customer sentiments so you can identify emerging trends and proactively attend to CX issues before they escalate. This insight can then be used to design CX strategies that address the concerns of customers and focus on turning passive and negative customers into loyal, happy ones.
Using solicited feedback to learn more about the experience of your unhappy customers can help you identify where there are sources of discontent in the customer journey, such as poor service or communication, unclear or unmet expectations, or problems with your product or service. This feedback provides a way to proactively pinpoint and fix any areas of concern and avoid negative feedback from spreading.
Solicited customer feedback offers customers an opportunity to share their level of satisfaction and to be heard by an organization. To show customers they are truly valued, feedback needs to be acted on and communicated back to customers. When executed correctly, VoC programs offer valuable insights into how to continuously improve upon CX initiatives and build customer loyalty.
Justine Lambros is the Content Marketing Specialist at Intouch Insight. To get more actionable strategies on how to collect more customer feedback, sign up to get your free copy of the Customer Experience Playbook: Designing a Winning Approach whitepaper now.