Successful companies know that revenue and employee performance don’t paint the full picture. The customer perspective makes or breaks a business. Especially in today’s digital world where customer feedback is public and easily accessible. Identifying and acting on the voice of the customer (VoC) is critical in growing a company and managing your workforce.
There are other perspectives in addition to voice of the customer that matter, like voice of the business, voice of the process, and voice of the employee. They’re all key. But the most important one is the voice of the customer because it’s the foundation on which your company sits.
This article outlines the basics of voice of the customer and what you need to know to implement an effective VoC program in your company.
What is voice of the customer (VoC)?
Voice of the customer is a method of collecting information about how customers think and feel about a company. Customers have specific needs, wants, and expectations about products or services delivered by a company. Successful companies collect this information and use the insights to optimize their customer experience.
Within the VoC method, there are a number of ways to collect customer information. Commons examples include:
- Online surveys
- In-person surveys
- Focus groups
- Live chat
- Call data
- Website traffic analytics
- Online customer reviews
- Customer service agents
- Sales reps
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Why is VoC important?
The way a customer experiences and thinks about a company is directly related to how likely they are to purchase from that company. According to recent research, nearly all (94%) US consumers report they are likely to make more purchases from a company with a “very good” customer experience (CX). Finding your company’s VoC nearly guarantees an increase in sales.
Three key benefits of knowing your company’s VoC
Before diving into how to find voice of the customer, here are the top three benefits of knowing your company’s VoC.
Increased customer retention
It’s no surprise that when you listen to your customers and improve your products, services, and operations accordingly, customers want to stay.
Annual revenue growth
Research from the Aberdeen Group shows that companies who implement a voice of the customer strategy generate a 10x greater year-over-year increase in annual company revenue.
Not only that, a Gartner report found that companies who actively implement a VoC program spend 25% less on customer retention than those that don’t. The bottom line? Consistently listening to customers and improving their experience is good business.
When your company knows their VoC, it improves team performance across the board. It positively affects marketing, sales, customer service, and product teams alike. Teams can use customer feedback to consistently improve products and services, marketing efforts, and customer support.
Your marketing team can use VoC information for word-of-mouth testimonials and social proof which are some of the most effective ways to reach new customers. When you equip your customer service and sales teams with VoC data, they can proactively assist customers and close more sales.
VoC program basics
An effective VoC program can be summed up in three main steps: listen, act, and analyze. You can further customize these steps, but they are the core pieces of a successful program.
Before choosing how your company will capture VoC, identify a common objective. Customer feedback runs the gamut. If you gather data without a specific objective in mind, it’s harder to implement the findings to improve your business.
Pose a common objective in the form of a question. It’s helpful to include a benchmark metric too. Here are a couple of examples of what a VoC program objective can look like:
- Our subscription renewal rate dropped to X% from Q3 to Q4. Why did this happen? How can we improve?
- Website data shows that customers get stuck in our product flow at X stage. Why is this? How can we proactively assist customers better? How can we optimize our user experience?
When your team focuses its customer feedback efforts with a common objective, you’ll get better answers in a shorter amount of time. After discovering answers to one objective, move on to the next and continue improving your customer experience.
How to find your company’s VoC
An effective VoC program includes collaboration from the top down and across teams. Get your C-suite engaged. VoC affects the entire buyer journey from sales and marketing to product and customer success. It’s key that all stakeholders are actively involved and advocating for the program.
Identify customer perception and touchpoints
It’s time to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Where do your customers interact with the company? Think about what comes up when your customers perform an online search. Think about what ads they might see. Customers might be introduced to the company via online reviews then head to your website. Or maybe it’s social media. It’s key to understand how your customers hear about and engage with your company.
Map out your customer journey. With a clear, documented customer journey, you have the context to create useful program objectives.
Collect customer feedback
Now that you know how your customers interact with the company, focus on listening to their experiences. Collect customer feedback via direct communication (interviews and surveys) or sentiment analysis (reviews and social media interactions). It’s best to collect all the information that already exists online then move on to asking for feedback directly from customers.
Keep feedback requests as simple and short as possible. Don’t ask your customers to do a lot of heavy lifting. Stick to concise survey questions and convenient platforms.
Successful VoC programs take the time to gain valuable insights from the data they collect. It’s easier to spot trends and points of improvement when you zoom out and view customer feedback as a whole.
Act on feedback
After analyzing feedback, your internal stakeholders are in the best position to act on key insights. Continue to promote cross-collaboration among teams at this stage. From a birds-eye view, one comprehensive solution can improve performance and outcomes across teams. For example, your product team may find that a specific how-to video improves product user flow. Your marketing team can help create this asset and utilize it to market your company. Meanwhile, your customer success team can use this same asset to proactively assist customers.
Monitor trends and iterate
As your business grows, your customer experience changes. Build a system that allows for continuous customer feedback to flow into team operations. Monitor feedback and analyze trends often to maximize business performance over time.
A VoC program helps your company discover its unique voice of the customer. LiveVox offers Customer Voice Analytics that does the heavy lifting for you. It includes recording and speech analytics, so your company can unearth every important detail of client conversations to improve the overall customer experience.