Satisfied customers are the lifeblood of every successful business. A voice of the customer program (VoC) is one of the best tools at your disposal to retain customers and stay ahead of competitors.
Voice of the Customer (VoC) is everything that a business hears from customers. A VoC program is the capability that a business develops to learn from VoC input and make it actionable for the business. Like most things in business, a VoC program involves people, process, and technology to make this happen.
From a people perspective, a VoC program includes the team that collects and analyzes VoC data. This team then either takes action on those insights, or recommends actions to other key stakeholders in the business.
In all cases, key stakeholders in the business must be aligned on how they will use VoC input to make decisions. This is one of the key processes of a VoC program: how insights drive action. The other key process is how VoC data is collected and analyzed.
Using the right technology in a VoC program is critical. VoC technology makes the program scalable and ensures the program delivers timely insights to the business. VoC tools should collect input from all channels, both day-to-day sources like customer calls, as well as more periodic feedback sources such as surveys. The technology should also help the team find and organize VoC insights.
Putting together the right people, process, and technology for a VoC program will allow the business to better understand its customers. By understanding customer needs, expectations, experiences, and perceptions of the brand, the business can then improve the customer experience and drive results.
User experience is one of the main reasons customers stay with or leave a company. Over 30% of customers surveyed said they would leave a company after one bad experience. A VoC program helps you understand customers’ expectations. And if used correctly, it can help you identify problems before they lead to customer churn, as well as find growth opportunities for the business.
These steps show you how to build a voice of the customer program that will help you improve your products and services to attract and retain more business.
Before you can start creating your VoC program, you need to outline your goals. Your overall goal will likely be to improve your product or service. However, this goal is too broad when you’re starting your program. Focus on a specific goal for your VoC process and use it as a learning tool to refine the program overall. You might focus on:
Enhancing a particular stage of the customer experience that needs improvement
Retaining more customers who fall into a segment with high attrition
Converting more customers from a free trial to a subscriber
Your VoC program should seek recommendations aligned with your business priorities. It’s okay to not follow every bit of input from customers if it’s outside of the business’ strategy. After all, you can’t do everything.
That said, it’s important to stay on top of this input as it may imply a need to revisit the priorities of the business or an important shift in customer needs. When you’ve decided what you want to focus on, figure out who you’re interested in hearing from.
Before you start collecting data, determine which segments you want to target. If your goal is to retain more customers in a segment that is experiencing high attrition, start with these customers. Are you interested in gaining feedback from the purchase decision-makers? Or are you more concerned with daily end-users? Knowing who you want to target for information will help you develop engagement strategies that give you the right data for your goals.
If your overall goal is to improve the customer experience, you’re probably better off getting information from people who use your platform every day. You can structure your information-gathering tools to collect data about what users like about your product or service and areas they wish could be improved.
If your goal is to convert more customers after the free trial, you might start mining data from people who didn’t subscribe. What did you hear from prospects who did not buy? You can use this input to find opportunities to improve conversion.
A good voice of the customer program will include VoC input from every possible source. Start by collecting input from everyday interactions and follow up using other methods such as surveys to round out your data.
For everyday interactions, the VoC program should get input from all of the teams talking to prospects and customers: Sales, Support, and Customer Success to name a few. It’s important to understand all sides of the story here, both what customers are sharing as well as insights that frontline teams are picking up. The program should also include input from third-party sources such as social media and online reviews. Surveys can be used to fill in the blanks.
When possible, it’s best to put this feedback in context of the customer situation, whether that’s the customer segment, stage of the customer lifecycle, or overall revenue contribution to the business. That context will help the business best decide how to take the right action on the input.
Fear not, technology can help here. Frontline intelligence tools make it easy to collect all of this data across a wealth of sources and analyze it in a snap.
Once you’ve determined how to collect your data, assign roles and responsibilities for analyzing the data and making recommendations. Here, it’s important to create a plan for who and when recommendations will be made to key stakeholders.
Your VoC program will be easier to implement if everyone knows their roles and performs them regularly. It’s not enough to have a program in place. You need to assign duties and timelines for implementation to streamline the process and avoid duplicating processes.
Over time, your VoC team will know what information is crucial in helping you customize your products and user experiences to meet your customers’ expectations. Doing VoC well helps you identify and fix problems before they lead to customer attrition. Plus, it helps you stay ahead of competitors.
Once you’ve collected and analyzed your data, it’s time to use it. Depending on your goals and how you collected your data, you should have an idea of how to meet your goals. For example, if your goal was to reduce customer churn, you probably looked for data about the customer experience. You might have scrubbed customer calls and reviews to find common complaints and suggestions for improvement.
Once you have the data, use it to improve the customer experience. Maybe your research showed a part of the product that doesn’t work as advertised. In this case, you can improve your software, but you can also refine your sales pitch. If your sales team isn’t familiar with that part of the software, offer them training so that they can explain the features of your platform in better detail.
The key to successfully implementing a voice of the customer program is to get everyone on your team on board. Now that you know how to build your VoC program, start talking to your employees to get buy-in on the project. Let them know how they will benefit from the process and find the most enthusiastic team members to be on the VoC team.
After you’ve tested your VoC program on a smaller scale with one or two goals, you’ll have a better idea of what worked well and how to improve the process as a whole. Start with small goals until you’re familiar with the process and how it works.
Technology is a really important part of a successful VoC program, and Quala can help. Quala offers a frontline intelligence platform to get all of your data from day-to-day customer interactions, surveys, and more all in one place so that you can mine it for insights. All of the VoC data is in the context of who said what, their value to the business, and how they are using your product. Even better, Quala keeps the whole team up to date on topics of interest from customer conversations in real-time.
If getting a VoC program in place is important to your business, now is the right time to check out a free demo of Quala.