Voice of Customer Program
Today, consumers have multiple means to express their feelings, their needs, and their expectations to businesses. The Voice of the Customer is based on constantly listening to consumers and allows brands to adapt and optimize their strategies to maximize the satisfaction of their customers. But what exactly is the Voice of the Customer? And what importance should we give it?
What is the Voice of the Customer?
The Voice of the Customer is a strategic approach based on listening to customers. This approach is fairly recent in marketing. It designates a process that consists of collecting customer feedback on the company’s products or services (their needs, expectations, and feelings) and prioritizing actions to be implemented in order to propose an offer that best corresponds to the wishes of the customers.
The VOC is part of the process aimed at getting to know its buyers better. Today, customer knowledge must be at the heart of marketing strategies. It is therefore important to know how to set up a VOC program in your organization in order to improve this knowledge and be more in line with consumer expectations.
The phases of a VOC program
The Voice of the Customer’s marketing process can be broken down into 4 steps:
- The collection of data
- The analysis of feedback
- Prioritization and implementation of actions
- The monitoring
The data collection
It is important to multiply the sources of feedback to obtain as much information as possible about the feelings of the customers. To do this, we must study the different customer journeys and the multiple points of contact. Sources of advice can be:
- The website and in particular the contact section
- Activity on social networks: instant messaging, comments on publications, ratings
- Feedback from customer service teams and collaborators
- The satisfaction questionnaires
- Group or individual interviews
- The telephone surveys
- The results of a joint analysis
Analyzing the VOC may seem complicated, but freeing up the consumer’s voice greatly simplifies the collection of feedback for companies. Thanks to new technologies and in particular to intelligent analysis solutions, it is possible to automate this activity in order to set up a permanent listening to consumers.
The construction of visual reports and the sharing of results internally is also facilitated by the use of this experience management software.
The implementation of actions
Once the feedback has been collected, the needs underlined and the analysis carried out, it is necessary to make relevant strategic decisions. To do this, we must categorize the data resulting from the feedback to bring out the main ideas and prioritize the actions to be carried out.
Moreover, it is useful to display and share with consumers the optimizations and improvements that will be made following their feedback. This strengthens the link between the brand and its buyers.
Monitoring makes it possible to visualize the return on investment of the actions implemented as well as the relevance of strategic decisions. Tracking the evolution of customer satisfaction on the attribute of the product or service that has been adjusted thanks to the Voice of the Customer and analyzing new feedback on this specific point makes it possible to verify whether the strategic decisions are effective.
The importance of the Voice of the Customer
Until a few years ago, the collection and analysis of data relating to customers and their opinions were completed manually or via polling. This painstaking activity was rather expensive both in terms of time and money. Collecting customer opinions on the various routes was therefore tedious and obtaining results was far from immediate, which greatly affected the relevance of strategic decisions. Customers, therefore, had to adapt to the offer in place.
Today, the development of information and communication technologies as well as the multiplication of digital channels and platforms ( social networks and media, live chat on websites, forums, and blogs) allow consumers to express themselves freely, easily, and instantly. Consumer satisfaction is taking an increasingly important place in marketing. It is essential to take into account feedback from buyers to adapt its offer and thus better meet customer expectations.
Even if the VOC is a marketing process developed in the company, its implementation is beneficial for both customers and society.
Benefits for the company
Companies can choose to use VOC at two different strategic stages:
- Before marketing the product or service
- Once the offer is on the market in a process of continuous improvement, Use the VOC in the design phase
Brands and designers of products and services must use customer feedback to build and refine their offerings. Building your offer based on the needs raised by potential customers makes it possible to market an item that already meets a real demand from the target audience. However, if consumers are satisfied with a given offer, they are more inclined to buy it. Thanks to this approach, the launch of a new product is secure.
Using VOC for continuous improvement
Collecting customer feedback on items already available on the market is essential. If an individual gives negative feedback to a brand on a product that he has purchased and sees no improvement in that product, he risks abandoning it in favor of the competition. In this case, the indifference of the brand is responsible for the high churn.
In a process of continuous improvement, brands must collect customer feedback. The sources of this information can be:
- Feedback from customer service or contact center teams
- Analysis of questionnaire
- Collecting opinions on social networks
Thanks to this listening process, the brand develops the link between itself and its buyers, which is responsible for improving their satisfaction. You will note an increase in its level of sales, profitability, and turnover.
Also, a company that takes into account the opinions of its buyers to improve the quality of its offer improves its brand image at the same time.
The benefits of VOC for customers
Consumers are bound to be positively impacted by the use of a Voice of the Customer program. Thanks to this approach, they find themselves faced with offers that perfectly meet their expectations. They, therefore, have a good chance of being satisfied. However, the main wish of a buyer is to find a product or a service that is in adequacy with their needs.
The Voice of the Customer, therefore, improves the satisfaction rate of its customers and guarantees them a positive experience. Today, companies are advised to implement a so-called customer-centric marketing strategy (in which the consumer is at the center). The implementation of a VOC program helps to establish this strategic orientation and thus makes it possible to strengthen the link with the consumer, increase his retention rate, and improve the profitability of his activity.
The B2B Voice of Customers: What is the difference?
Knowing how to listen to your customers in B2B, isn’t that what salespeople do?
This is what we often hear. Whether it is a VSE, SME, or large accounts, listening to its customers outside of the commercial relationship is essential to claim to take into account the experience of your customers. And ultimately, this active listening will make it possible to understand how to optimize their satisfaction, gain in competitiveness in the long term, but also improve services, after-sales service,….
What are the main ways to activate a B2B customer voice program?
Collecting spontaneous feedback at the various contact points (sales, after-sales service, customer service, delivery, distributors, etc). At all levels and in all departments. That is to say also within your accounting team, your logistics department, and subcontractors too!
Identification of the different types of customer contacts. We will distinguish, for example, decision-makers (buyers, management, and other personas), contract managers (HR, CIO, and other titles), end-users. But also the prescribers and influencers who are sometimes outside the company …
Open and regular discussion with clients (or ambassador clients) to go beyond the immediate exchange around the sale/order taking. This action can be entrusted to a third party to promote neutrality. In addition, regularly orchestrating questioning can help build a (quantitative) barometer. It will be able to measure changes and trigger alerts by topic, region, etc.
Voice of the customer is a program that is unlimited in its potential. Your marketing team can create some unique campaigns around it. It is a slow build-up though. You will see the success of the program over a period of a year. You can learn more about marketing strategies and customer experience over at the Customer Success Box blog.