Capturing market share requires more than pricing below your competitors and trusting that customers will appreciate the nuances of your product. These days, customers feel entitled to a superior customer experience, and if you aren’t delivering, it will be much harder to maintain your market position, or re-capture market share if you lose ground.
Capturing the Voice of the Customer
A company’s success is dependent upon Voice of Customer (VOC) programs, in addition to well-trained team members. One of the goals of VOC programs is to help create a consistent and positive customer experience across all channels. This isn’t about asking a four-question survey at the end of a call, or asking your customer to fill out a comment card. Not to say that you can’t get a snapshot view of what your customer is thinking in those follow-up surveys, but VOC programs go way beyond surveys. In order to be successful, it requires buy-in across channels and cross-functional teams. Remember, a single customer may interact with your brand or product through a variety of channels for the same purchase.
A well-executed VOC program yields invaluable insight to your customer, and many strategic goals can be built upon the insight captured.
Some of the benefits you can expect from a well implemented VOC program include, but aren’t limited to:
- Streamlined processes
- Improvement with cross-selling and upselling metrics
- Implement change
- Discovering what matters to your customers allows you to set your company apart
VOC programs benefit a variety of customer-facing channels, from omni-channel contact centers to sales teams wanting to improve upselling and cross-selling.
You can’t truly capture the voice of the customer without listening to them and giving them opportunities to provide feedback in their own words. To truly capture the customer’s voice, the most effective technique is to literally listen to what they are saying. Making a VOC program worthy of your investment is best done with qualitative research. A neutral agency can best design a comprehensive strategy that captures your customers’ sentiments. Such methodologies are different than surveys, which can be one-dimensional and give dead-ended responses. Trying to capture the voice of your customer through feedback from sales and customer-facing teams is often biased and doesn’t probe deep enough to contextualize the mindset of your customer base. Similarly, relying on website analytics and heat-mapping is uni-dimensional. These tools may show how a customer behaved, but they don’t tell you anything about customer preference, or illuminate why a customer behaved in a specific way.
Building a VOC program that accurately captures the customer journey provides your team with insight into the hows and whys of customer behavior.
What exactly do we mean by qualitative research?
Market research companies use a variety of techniques to probe targeted demographic groups for insight. Qualitative and Quantitative research provides micro and macro views. Qualitative research relies on person-to-person insights and can be done in a variety of ways, from individual interviews to focus groups to real-time mobile market research.
VOC qualitative research is conducted externally with customers and internally with sales, customer experience, and marketing teams. Trained market researchers will lead internal teams and customers through customer journey mapping exercises, which provide a holistic view for strategic planning. Combining external and internal teams gives us a clear path to help with designing a VOC program based on real needs and behavior.
Do I really need to invest in VOC programs?
Companies that have invested in well-executed VOC programs often see an increase in customer loyalty (as measured through Net® Promoter Scores); Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT), increased sales, referrals and retention.
We’ve seen time and again the positive results of VOC programs based on sound qualitative research. As the new year kicks off, now is a good time to really get a handle on what your customers want. Don’t take our word for it, listen to what your customers have to say!