The Voice of Customer - Why is it so important?

5 min read

The successful ones use a Voice of the Customer (VoC) analytics program to understand their customers.

They pay close attention to what their customers are saying. They know that business metrics like revenue and churn tell only a part of the story. They understand that to know why customers make certain decisions, it's critical to understand the customer's perspective.

WHY DOES VOICE OF CUSTOMER RESEARCH MATTER?

In a society where consumers are more invested in the products and services that they use, it’s clear that giving your customers a voice is key for surviving in fast-paced markets and keeping a competitive advantage.

Following the standards, Voice of Customer research has three main purposes:

  • To figure out what customers care about
  • To set priorities and goals consistent with the needs of your customers
  • To determine what customer needs you can profitably meet

3 benefits of knowing the voice of the customer

By knowing the VOC, the organization will be able to benefit in several ways.

  1. The customer pays the bills, so knowing what their needs, wants, and expectations are is an important factor in securing their business.
  2. By understanding the VOC, an organization may be able to do a better job for the customer than some competitors, thus picking up more business..
  3. If the organization and the customer are speaking the same language and define things in similar terms, you can reduce any misunderstandings.

Why is the VOC important to understand?

Unintended miscommunication between an organization and its customers is a common reason why organizations lose customers and their business. It’s important for an organization’s wellbeing and possible survival to understand the VOC and customer requirements.

  1. If an organization and a customer are saying different things, there is a high probability that the customer’s needs and expectations will not be satisfied.
  2. Needless arguments and disruption can be avoided if an organization understands its VOC.
  3. If an organization is focusing on things that the customer doesn’t really want and is not willing to pay for, a better understanding of the VOC could save the organization significant time, resources, and money.

The Link Between VOC Data and Customer Experience (CX)

The secret to retaining customers isn’t a price or product.

It’s the customer experience (CX) that your company offers.

That’s why 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience!

In fact, companies are beginning to consider CX as a far greater opportunity than content, mobile or personalization.

The reason for this is simple:

Customer experience encompasses the entire buyer’s journey and beyond.

It starts from when a prospect hears about your company and continues with every interaction with your company until they eventually stop being a customer - the full end-to-end customer journey.

Moreover, customer experience is based entirely on your buyer’s expectations.

It’s what they wanted, and how you’ve delivered on it that forms a customer’s perception of a good or bad experience.

Now enter Voice of Customer data.

Collecting customer feedback helps you understand your customer expectations, and identify ways your company could deliver on those.

So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at different ways to collect customer feedback.

How to Collect VOC Data

Collecting feedback (providing you and your marketing team comply with GDPR) is as simple as asking your customers questions to uncover their expectations. And there are many different methods you can use to do this. To help you get started, here are three of the most common ways to collect customer feedback.

1. Surveys

Surveys offer the most scalable way to gather structured customer feedback.

Depending on your goals you can target any stage in the buying cycle from the first contact to a purchase.

You can use surveys for:

  • When people are browsing on your website, you can ask them quick questions in context with the page they’re on.
  • You can follow up with new buyers or leads using email as a way of delivering a more in-depth survey. You may wish to incentivize people to answer with a price discount or entry into a prize draw.
  • And finally, you can interact and ask customers questions in real time, via phone surveys, for instance.

Before you start writing questions in your survey, think about the end-goal and what you are trying to achieve with the survey results.

2. Social listening

Social media is a great resource for collecting VOC data online.

Your customer’s posts describing positive interactions or sharing complaints with your company provide a great insight into their expectations, and how you’re currently delivering on those.

Social listening is more than Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. You can also collect feedback from online forums, blog comments, and product review sites - anywhere your customers can express themselves online.

3. Customer interviews

Speaking with customers can be intimidating, difficult, and certainly, time-consuming.

But at the same time, interacting directly with someone may help you uncover their particular experience, and not only hear about it but also assess it through other communication, like body language.

How Is Voice of Customer Helpful for Good Consumer Experience?

Voice of Customer is helpful, as it allows you to understand how closely you’re matching your customers’ expectations with the service you’re offering. If the gap between expectations and experience is wide, then you know that you have some work to do.

It’s also helpful because it allows you to shift your business culture towards a more customer-centric model. So many companies out there say they put their customers first; they say their customers are their “priority.” But one thing is to say these things, another is to act upon them. A solid VoC methodology allows you to move from words to actions, by really putting your customers first.

Here are some of the things a VoC methodology can help you with:

  • Increase customer retention: Listening to the VoC can help you build a more loyal customer base.
  • Improve your service or product: Depending on your customers’ needs, you can add special features to your products that closely match their expectations.
  • Prevent a brand crisis: Keeping your eyes wide open for customer feedback can help you hear critiques early and prevent a potential brand crisis. If there’s something wrong with your product/service, you’ll know right away and you’ll be able to take action.
  • Think forward: Awareness of Voice of Customer will help you think forward about future plans, products, or solutions that your company may want to research in the future.