Eliot Sykes
Eliot Sykes 25 September 2018

Bringing the Voice of the Customer to the forefront of customer experience

How can prioritising the Voice of Customer bring consumer thinking to the forefront of customer experience, help build upon outdated methods of ‘scoring’ and lead to understanding via emotion interpretation? Are we listening to the customer voice well enough?

The value of customer insight and the adoption of customer centric business strategies are proven; we know we need to put ourselves in the shoes of the customer, bringing them into the centre of our thinking. 

Brands already recognise they need to do their research, but too often such research rely on one-dimensional tools that achieve an unhelpful veneer of insight. For example, the ubiquitous Net Promoter Score (NPS) is an aggregated measure of customer sentiment towards a brand. Useful, up to a point. It’s a blunt tool, geared more toward board room consumption than offering actionable insight. NPS only provides a snapshot, generating a positive or negative response to a brand. It doesn’t tell us or detect which touch points and brand interactions that trigger these positive and negative effects to occur.

Another example. Focus groups and in-depth interviews are proven, widely adopted research techniques, that can add a layer of qualitative understanding; they have been the long-time friend of the insights team searching for a richness in their customer knowledge. But, evidence shows that people can often tell us what we simply want to hear in these ‘false’ environments and even lie in these scenarios.

No doubt focus groups, NPS and their like will continue to play a valued role in gaining customer insight, but agencies now also have an opportunity to leverage technology to gain a deeper, more authentic and more usable understanding of customers, at both conscious and subconscious levels. 

Neuromarketing – something Ethology are investing in – is a field of expertise that applies neuropsychology to marketing research, studying consumers' sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective response to marketing stimuli. This technique is being increasingly adopted, with companies like Emotiv developing brain measurement technology, that creates a way to measure brainwaves and therefore understand what consumers are thinking about something like an advert, for example. 

But it’s not just neuromarketing. Heat mapping – to show user behaviour through colour coding – and facial recognition are also on the rise, helping agencies understand people’s emotions as they look at pack design or walk around a retail store.

Systems like these, which are less intrusive to the customer, help to offer a better understanding of customer voice. This is what we do and the way we do it at Ethology. We want to uncover both a deeper level of emotional interpretation in our actions and create a position of real truth for our clients to learn from. 
But here’s the thing about adopting these technologies. 

It’s important to balance tech analysis with human analysis. We need to avoid relying solely on one or the other. Tech and humans need to work alongside one another in order for an agency to achieve the best results, as these new, emerging techniques tell us the ‘What’ but not the ‘Why’ of their results. 
For example, having a neuro headset in a retail environment can be used to collate and process the data as it stands, but this can overlook why a customer might be happy in the particular environment, yet not complete a purchase.  Examples like this show why we need that level of human interpretation to understand the reasoning behind certain behaviours. 

It’s about employing the right techniques at the right time. We need to ask why people can’t find what they want from an experience with a brand. It’s no good just receiving the data or the ‘score’ stating that a customer isn’t happy. Simply ‘listening’ to the voice of the customer is insufficient. It is key to have a systematic approach to understand and learn from the customer feedback when it’s received, as something needs to be actioned in order to change their view. 

Agencies also need to be empathetic when it comes to understanding the complete customer journey. Through plotting out all interactions a consumer has with a brand, and how they feel in response to this interaction, agencies are able to map out and identify where the pain point is and how they can overcome it. The result being an understanding of how we can work to make more shared, enjoyable moments and encourage customers to purchase and engage with a brand again. 
The reality is that businesses are still struggling to understand customer emotions and use the insight collected to predict behaviour. But in light of tech advancements, we’ve almost reached a stage where we can understand people on an individual level, and the same tech that provides the insight can also provide the experience. Understanding consumers in real time helps to build the experience they have with a brand. We need to turn our focus to being able to build personal experiences and heighten personalisation. Emerging technologies appears to be the way forward but using humans to interpret emotions is still very important in journeying to understand the truth.

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
The Impact of New Technology on Marketing

The Impact of New Technology on Marketing

Technology has impacted every part of our lives. From household chores to business disciplines and etiquette, there's a gadget or app for it. Marketing has changed dramatically over the years, but what is the...

Alex Lysak
Alex Lysak 22 September 2020
Read more
The Carrot of a Bigger Market is More Powerful Than the Stick of Legal Action in Driving Web Accessibility Investment, New Research Finds

The Carrot of a Bigger Market is More Powerful Than the Stick of Legal Action in Driving Web Accessibility Investment, New Research Finds

Getting web accessibility right is a massive commercial opportunity. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.3bn people worldwide are living with some form of impairment. The benefits of making it easier for...

Michael Nutley
Michael Nutley 30 November 2023
Read more
It’s Time For Brands to Move From Personalised, to Personal

It’s Time For Brands to Move From Personalised, to Personal

At a time when almost every brand is tailoring content and offers to individual customers based on their demographic data, purchase history, and online behaviours, are these personalisation efforts still adding value?...

Shafqat Islam
Shafqat Islam 27 November 2023
Read more
The 3 Most Important Stages In Your Presentation

The 3 Most Important Stages In Your Presentation

If you want to deliver a presentation on a particular topic and you have to prepare yourself for it you should make sure that you go through several very important stages in order to craft a compelling, persuasive and...

Nicky Nikolaev
Nicky Nikolaev 16 February 2016
Read more
From Success to Setback: Lessons in MarTech Decision-Making

From Success to Setback: Lessons in MarTech Decision-Making

We often talk to clients about the consolidation of MarTech capabilities across vendors, to the point that it’s often not too difficult to pick up a new technology if you’re comfortable working with an alternative...

Andrew Addison
Andrew Addison 29 November 2023
Read more