Customer experience is a significant business differentiator these days. However, to outpace the competition with superior CX, you need to understand what your customers want. And to do so, you need to cultivate a strong understanding of who your customers are, what they love, and their struggles and challenges. Once you understand that, half the battle is won. Now leverage the insight to improve your CX strategy and customer engagement strategy, and you will find yourself miles ahead of their competitors.
That’s where Voice of the Customer research plays a vital role.
What is Voice of the Customer?
Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a popular research method that businesses use to understand their customers better. Using this research method, you know your customers’ behavior, challenges, preferences, and needs deeper. As a result, it enables you to better serve and communicate with your customers.
VoC can be conducted through various methods, and the data collected informs nearly every aspect of modern business. It can be leveraged:
- By support teams to anticipate and proactively solve customer problems.
- By sales teams to learn how to effectively address customer pain points and objections through VoC.
- By product teams to build roadmaps for product development by identifying customer needs, perceived product value, and gaps between the two.
The growing focus on Voice of the Customer research has made it a vital tool in helping businesses boost revenue, retain and engage customers, and reduce costs for operations.
As per Aberdeen Group, companies implementing best-in-class VoC practices saw approximately 10x the annual year-over-year revenue growth of those with less capable VoC programs due to 55% higher customer retention.
Some of the critical techniques to collect VoC data and use it to improve your customer service are as follows:
Customer interviews are a popularly used technique to gather VoC data. While interviews can be inherently time-intensive, they often offer you some of the most valuable feedback.
By talking directly to the customer and conducting a thorough interview, you can open the door to personalized, in-depth research. You can either conduct ad hoc customer interviews, survey a sample that represents your customer base, or focus on a particular customer segment to interview.
These interviews can be conducted in person, over the phone, or through video chat by your call center customer service partners. Interviewers can cash in on the opportunity to dig into the customer’s responses and bring forth additional insights that other VoC research techniques may not be able to pull out.
For example, suppose a customer indicates that they are struggling with a particular aspect of your product. In that case, the interviewer can dig deeper in that area and gather more specific details about the problem, its cause, and how your company can fix it.
In addition, customers see this type of engagement as the most personalized, so it can be an excellent opportunity to nurture individual customer relationships.
Customer surveys are among the most flexible methods for gathering Voice of the Customer (VoC) data:
Surveys include three questions immediately after signup. After that, you can send in-depth questionnaires via email to your most engaged customers.
Surveys are also considered an immensely scalable option for VoC research. Once the questionnaire is ready, you can use it to survey as many customers as you like or can get to fill it out.
They can serve as a useful filter for identifying the customers you want to get more details and feedback from via other more in-depth VoC techniques (such as interviews or focus groups). You can outsource call center survey to gather valuable VoC data at each interaction.
Apart from that, surveys are also known as one of the best techniques for gathering quantitative and qualitative feedback. You can include quantitative ratings along with open-ended qualitative questions in any given survey.
Pay Attention to Social Media
As a leading channel to communicate with customers, social media can be an excellent tool for the VoC process. Connecting with customers over social media allows for a more informal, two-way, and real-time conversation than email or phone calls.
Besides this, social media also opens up the opportunity for social listening. Your customers may regularly engage with the brand on social media — and these interactions can be a valuable source of VoC data in their own right. But, with social listening, it can become a more potent source. You can gather a large volume of VoC data by choosing to outsource call center social listening to a reputed BPO partner with social media expertise.
By monitoring how your customers talk about your brand as well as your product(s) when they aren’t directly speaking to you, you will be able to get a more honest and unfiltered view of their opinion. Similar to surveys, social listening can also help you identify customers with whom you wish to conduct a more detailed VoC research.
Social listening isn’t only limited to popular social media platforms. You can also find valuable feedback on various online forums, communities, and websites such as Reddit and Quora.
Listen to Recorded Customer Calls
All interactions your team has with your customers (inquiries, complaints, sales calls, etc.) are gold mines for Voice of the Customer (VoC) data. Whenever your customers invest in your brand by spending time on the phone, you’re likely to find valuable feedback by listening to them.
Customers who engage with you over the are usually one of three things:
- Very interested in your product.
- Very happy with your company.
- Very unhappy with your company.
In all these situations, you can have detailed, one-on-one conversations with engaged customers who are passionate about your product or your brand.
By reviewing these conversations, you can get both macro and micro information that help you identify many broader trends across customer complaints, objections, and successes. You can also get more granular feedback and details from each customer call.
Since, as a company, you are likely to record customer calls anyway through your customer service call center partner, you can gather VoC research based on data you already have.
Talk to Customer-Facing Employees
When you put more emphasis on soliciting customer feedback, it is very easy to forget about your customer-facing team that can already provide you with important VoC data. For example, your customer service call center has customer support agents who constantly talk to the customers. These team members are your best window into your customers’ minds.
Your call center customer support team spends most of its time with customers. Therefore, they are often the first to know in case of an issue and identify whether the issue is an isolated one or a widespread problem.
Your sales team, too, is on the front lines of listening to customers’ needs and aligning them with what you offer. Therefore, they can also provide invaluable data on customer pain points, objections, and why deals are lost to competitors.
Customer Engagement with VoC Data
The key to better customer engagement is an in-depth customer understanding and VoC data gives you the opportunity to do just that. Once you know what your customers want, their pain points, preferred mode of communication and their expectations, you will be in a better position to chalk out an engagement plan that takes all these areas into consideration and offers a superior customer engagement at each customer interaction with your customer service call center and eventually paves the way for superior CX delivery, customer retention and customer loyalty.