How to use ‘voice of the customer’
to improve your business

You thought you had a winning product or service, the right team, systems and processes in place. And yet, the business is stagnant - so perhaps you need to think again! How can you get to the crux of the matter? Turn to your customers.

Harnessing the voice of the customer allows you to improve customer service and drive overall business growth - and here’s your guide on how to implement this strategy into your business.

What is ‘voice of the customer’?

Voice of the customer (VoC) captures your customers’ expectations and experiences when interacting with your product or service. Monitoring VoC can help you understand what their experiences were like, and therefore, how well you’re delivering on their needs, giving you a better understanding of their sentiment towards your business and whether they’d be likely to become loyal customers.

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How can VoC benefit your business?

Voice of the customer allows you to…

Drive customer retention: Understanding if your customers are happy is the key to loyal, repeat purchasers that sing your praises to family and friends.

Shape your business: Tangible customer data can help inform decisions you need to make now, and in the future. It’s the type of data that can shape everything from new product development through to strategic marketing initiatives.

Facilitate continual improvement: Stay agile with data right from the people who use your product or service the most - your customers. Continual improvement shows that you’re not only listening to your customers, but that you value their input.

Manage your online reputation: From Google Reviews to viral social media posts, monitoring the voice of your customer before problems escalate can save your reputation. In addition, channelling positive feedback into online reviews can drive future sales.

Keep employees engaged: Being able to clearly see the outcomes of employee interactions with customers, will give them a greater understanding of how they contribute to business success.

How to use VoC to improve your business

Understanding and acting upon VoC data can have a positive impact across the entire business. From delivering outstanding customer service, creating an aligned and accountable team, steering your business in a profitable direction.

Improve your products or services: Monitoring VoC will help your business do more of what your customers love - and less of what they don’t love. By regularly reviewing feedback, you’ll have a much deeper understanding of the areas of the business that need attention. This will also give you the ability to act quickly on easy fixes or promote popular areas of the business.

Create customer centric culture: Sharing VoC information business-wide creates a sense of being part of the bigger picture. Your team can gain a valuable sense of accountability when interacting with customers. Being able to build KPI’s from VoC data facilitates a customer-centric culture and provides insight on how employees can improve.

Streamline the customer experience: Gone are the days where price or product alone can make your business stand out. Delivering a superior customer experience has emerged as a massive differentiator. Attention to the customer experience you deliver shows you care about your customers. As a result, they’re more likely to become loyal, lifelong fans of your product or service.

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How to build a successful VoC programme
within your business

Ask

To understand how your customers really feel about your business, you need to find a way of easily communicating with them. It also needs to be quick and convenient for them to respond, otherwise they won’t bother doing so.

Act

If you’re working through mountains of month-old data, chances are you’re too late to act on important feedback. Real-time data creates a personal link to your customers. It allows you to act fast on the good and the not so good.

Improve

VoC data allows you to benchmark and track your performance. When you’re able to see the impact of your improvements, you can shape your business in a way that creates loyal, engaged customers and employees.

VoC measurement and analysis tools

How to gather VoC data

Capturing VoC helps businesses to identify the gap between customer expectations and actual experiences with your product or service. There are several simple techniques available to collect this data. Here are some pros and cons of each:

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Customer interviews

Good old-fashioned phone or face-to-face interviews can give you an opportunity to connect with your customer and gain authentic, emotional and deep insight. However, depending on how many people you want to interview, this method of data collection requires a large investment of time and money which makes it challenging to act on the data quickly.

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Live chat

Talk with your customers while they’re in the thick of their online experience and usher them through their journey to purchase. However, it’s important that you have someone responding to chats immediately, otherwise you could end up snubbing customers, and damaging their experience. That makes live chat a major time investment for your employees.

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Social media

Negative feedback typically makes its way to social media and responding to this quickly can save reputations and even turn negatives into positives. However, that means social channels must be monitored regularly otherwise you risk hurting your brand. Staying on top of negative feedback can be time consuming and disruptive to your employees.

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Focus groups

Gathering a group of customers together to talk openly about your product or service can be great to test new ideas or gain specific feedback. However, focus groups run the risk of moderator bias. The moderator’s questions (whether intentional or unintentional) can influence the way the focus group thinks making the results unauthentic and therefore not totally helpful.

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Net Promoter Score (NPS)

A straightforward and reliable tool used to measure the loyalty of your customers. By asking your customers on a scale of 0-10, how likely they are to recommend your business to family or friends. NPS data by itself lacks clarity around the reasons your customer has given the score, making it hard to pinpoint what you need to improve.

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Smart NPS technology

This tool combines NPS data with customer feedback allowing you to get more meaning from the numbers your business is assigned. It’s quick feedback that you can action immediately to improve your services and make happy customers. However, it’s important to have a plan in place to action this data so it doesn’t fall on deaf ears.

The best VoC measurement tool:
Smart NPS technology

Measuring whether someone is likely to vouch for your business is a powerful way to gauge loyalty. While Net Promoter Score (NPS) provides you with that easy to digest data, it doesn’t give you the opportunity to truly engage with customers.

Smart NPS technology takes things one step further by diving deeper into the ‘why’ behind the simple score customers give your business. Coupling the easy measurement of NPS data with further explanatory comments from customers you’ll round out your VoC understanding.

“This frequent customer interaction will provide the guidance needed to shape and improve, become truly customer-centric, and above all, set your business apart from competitors.”

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