The coronavirus pandemic is changing consumer behavior as priorities and needs have shifted. Many leading companies question what trends are here to stay as a result of COVID-19; will more men continue to grow facial hair after the slowdown of the pandemic or has the beard trend reached its peak? Will traditional outdoor running activities and virtual exercises replace gyms and wellness centers?
It is now more important than ever for customer experience and customer care teams to rethink how best to interact with their clients and work with their customers on mission-critical initiatives.
I sat down with Julie Hogan, VP Customer Experience at Drift, Asaf Frige SVP customers at Yotpo, Ziv Peled CCO @ AppsFlyer, and others, for some top tips on how the voice of customer analysis is key for good customer relations.
Customer Relationships & Voice of Customer (VOC)
After speaking recently with senior executives from AppsFlyer, Yotpo, Troops, and many other leading brands on their approach to customer experience the key takeaways were around relationship management and value realization. Ziv Peled, Chief Customer Office at AppsFlyer, embodies these core values, “At AppsFlyer, we effectively represent our customers by relying on two critical pillars: The first pillar is being customer-obsessed. It means that customers are always at the top of each and EVERY departments’ priority, not just Customer Success. It means that Customer Success Managers aren’t salespeople and their sole purpose is to drive value for customers. The second pillar is relationships. The only way to gain a true understanding of our customers’ businesses is to create meaningful relationships that far exceed the standard client-CSM connection.
Customer experience programs are also front and center as Brittany Parkinson, Head of Customer Success, at Troops shares, “At Troops, we have a program called “Customer Love” which focuses on building long-term customer loyalty through VOC data. The biggest benefit of VOC data is the opportunity for coaching and career development. For example, during a client review, we gather feedback, outcomes, preferences, etc from our customers and the members of our team are empowered to distribute it (via Troops!) into a “Customer Love” Slack channel that is shared with our entire organization.’”
Asaf Frige, SVP Customers at Yotpo, also had this to share, “Our customer service strategy is built on serving direct to consumer businesses that in turn, serve all of us as consumers. We use Yotpo’s review collection product to collect customer feedback which helps us improve our own product and learn from the customer. Qualitatively, we employ post-implementation onboarding surveys and quantitatively, use measures like NPS.
Customer Experience as a key metric for success & a Cornerstone in VOC efforts
Customer journey and experiences are taking center stage today in growth companies as Julie Hogan, VP Customer Experience at Drift explains, “At Drift, we think that every touchpoint someone has with us and the platform is part of their experience — so we think about customer experience throughout the whole process, all the way through to renewing happy customers. Our goal is to meet prospective buyers or current customers where they are and to serve up information that meets their needs quickly, in a personalized and conversational way. With COVID-19, this is more important than ever, as is the importance of keeping our digital strategy simple and focused.”
Customer experience became a key differentiator for retaining and acquiring new customers as John Jordan, SVP Customer Experience at 1010 data, “We strive to make customers active stakeholders in our overall Process Design and Product Strategy, using a mix of both qualitative and quantitative data to help drive decision making. Listening and responding to customers may sound like simplistic business advice, but it’s one of the best things you can do to protect existing revenue and accelerate growth and innovation.”
Leveraging voice of customer data to uncover hidden customer needs is a priority for early-stage startups as Dan Terner, Co-founder Growthspace
“We leverage Voice of the Customer data to uncover hidden customer needs. We operate in the emerging organizational development platforms category, which is continuously developing. Having data on our side is like a compass that helps us navigate market dynamics, enabling us to offer targeted new features, source new types of service providers for our platform and adapt our packaging to customer needs.”
As 2020 shows the growth of voice assistants and smart speakers is another factor in the voice of customer Yoav Oz, CEO and Co-founder of VoiceFront, “2020 shows that the growth of voice assistants and smart speakers is not slowing at all. In fact, the adoption of smart speakers has now exceeded one-third of U.S. consumers. As a young startup, you have to be agile and make changes when the market changes and see the opportunity in it. Our client feedback will help us understand their needs and help them grow. and to be there post Covid19.
Also, Ben Linik, Director of CS at BiScience, added, “VOC data is an integral part of our decision-making process, without it, we are bound to miss opportunities for growth, and are likely to miss unspoken warning signs customers share with us.”
What to expect in the future
COVID-19 will pave the road to a new era and approach toward consumer insights. Consumers’ daily behaviors have already been impacted amid the crisis and the need to understand the sentiment and act on fickle consumer needs is imperative.
The challenge remains in moving from monitoring consumer sentiment to real actionable consumer insights and findings. The big question is how consumer behavior will impact our daily lives in the future – will we shop, eat, exercise, interact, work, socialize, and behave differently after COVID? Our answer is yes.