Keep the Voice of the Customer (VoC) at the heart of your business to understand how people perceive and interact with your brand, its products and services.
Why did Nike’s Fuel Band fail, when Apple’s Fitbit thrived? And why did Apple’s Pippin sell less than 100k units, while it’s impossible to get your hands on an Xbox Series X? Similar products from strong brands delivering the same outcome – but with different results. Why?
Because people value customer experience (CX). Embed CX into business and investment decisions to show you understand your customer and can offer them something they value. Research from Gartner shows it can increase up and cross-selling success rates by as much as 20%.
It’s why customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that aren’t.
And yet, research from Harvard Business Review shows that nearly three-quarters of corporate strategists admit their digital efforts are falling short of revenue expectations. Why? A common mistake we see is when companies make products they think are good – rather than something their target audience actually wants. Take a highly competitive tech giant like Amazon – its Fire Phone flopped within a year because consumers viewed the product’s features as gimmicks.
To avoid the same fate, the following tips help you to ensure the Voice of the Customer (VoC) remains at the heart of your business, so you understand how people perceive and interact with your brand, and its products and services.
Design and implement VoC programmes
It might sound like ‘CX 101’, but you have to actually articulate what ‘good’ CX looks like at your organisation – you cannot assume people know.
To do this, you must set up channels to gather customer insights – but be sure to balance qualitative and quantitative feedback across all channels. It’s also useful to gather industry insights to benchmark yourself against the competition – and track it on a regular basis.
Then document the core repeatable customer journeys that have the greatest pain points. In particular, (and to avoid getting lost in the weeds!) map volatile touchpoints in more granular detail so you can track and report on the experience gaps.
With VoC programmes in place, you can create a set of working assumptions. These can be tested through a round table and/or face-to-face focus groups, to understand the potential impact and allow you to make informed decisions on whether the CX needs to be improved in any way.
Collect both solicited and unsolicited feedback
The goal is to form a bird’s eye view of what’s happening across the business so you can identify potential pain points, as well as opportunities to improve and differentiate. Aim to collect as much data as possible and look at it collectively to help inform your priorities.
Solicited feedback is best used when you want specific information on something. Through surveys, focus groups and questionnaires you can gather precise intelligence to inform your decisions.
Unsolicited feedback is best used when you need to understand people’s actual behaviours. For example:
- A user journey through your website.
- Web analytics.
- Analysing sales of your best selling products.
- Post-transaction emails.
- Reasons customers contact you.
- Reasons for returns.
Gather input from employees
Not only have you hired some really smart people, but they also spend every day working in your business and interacting with your customers. They have valuable insight into what is/isn’t working and can provide information around the existing customer touchpoints. Ask them and they can highlight the biggest issues to flip into the biggest drivers of satisfaction and loyalty.
Because everyone has the potential to impact CX, this is an exercise that should be performed across the business, for both customer-facing and non-customer facing roles.
Think about instigating quarterly listening sessions with employees. Ask them to score how customer focused they think the business is, identify barriers they feel exist to their success, ideas they’ve seen work well in other companies, and if they have identified any ‘quick wins’.
Analyse VoC feedback
It might feel tempting to act on every piece of feedback, but you first need to validate whether it’s something that the majority of your audience wants and feels adds value, or if it’s a single person’s desire. Additionally, there may be times where you have no solid evidence to point towards the root cause of an issue. It’s only when you consider the correlation between different data sets that you can understand what is happening behind the data.
Never consider touchpoints in isolation. Always look at them within the broader context, and assign someone with the responsibility to join the dots between different data sets – using techniques like correlation analysis, regression analysis, and discriminant analysis – to analyse patterns, trends and drivers within your VoC feedback.
Need some help?
Embedding VoC programmes is one of the best investments you can make for your business because it ensures you continue to be relevant, always deliver value, and retain customers long-term. To discuss how S&S can help: