Voice of the Customer: How to Avoid 5 Common Mistakes
A business without a Voice of the Customer (VoC) strategy is like someone flying in complete darkness. But even when you decide to create and implement one, your program could still be marred by friendly fire - errors committed by yourself or your team. Some of these are entirely avoidable, so now may be the best time to fix them and get your program back in line.
Finding the VoC can be like panning for gold. In this case, the gold is the customer's pure and undiluted feedback about their experience with a product or service. Without a dedicated solution in place, companies will typically spend hours everyday to manually find what customers are saying about their brand.
In a study by Walker, they found that customer experience (CX) will beat price and product as a differentiating factor to elevate brands by the end of 2020.
Customer voice is the key to improving CX. Better CX means better sales and customer retention. If you feel like you’re struggling to find and/or capitalize on customer voice, these 5 mistakes could be slowing you down!
1. Failing to Identify Your Customers
It is essential to know who your customers are in order to be successful. Failing to do this means you will end up asking the wrong questions to the wrong people. Your questions should be chosen with as much contextual data as possible to understand who you’re serving.
Knowing your targets starts with answering pertinent questions like where they live, their roles, their income, etc. Once you have a better understanding of who your customers are you are more likely to find out the problems they seek to solve and how your product is best positioned to help.
Knowing who your customers are is the first step in building successful business strategies that cater to your customer’s wants and needs.
2. Uncertain Data Collection Goals
It’s one thing to spend time and resources collecting VoC data. It’s completely different to know what to do with that data once you have it!
Have a method for identifying key trends. Without it you‘ll spend countless hours sorting through an endless list of comments, hoping to find a value that will inform your decision making.
Know how to react. Altering your product or service to best fit the needs of your customers is a great way to earn trust and loyalty. This comes with experience, and a willingness to fail can go a long way!
Measure your solutions. The same way you spend time and resources to find out how customers feel about your product or service, you must also measure how your customers feel about the solutions you put in place. This will be accomplished in the same way you track the VoC, and then you repeat the process.
3. Failing to Gather and Implement Feedback
For some reason, not everyone is sold on the value of getting customer feedback. Some believe that a business can get by without ever relying on feedback. It’s a dangerous slope that sets you up for trouble with your customers. Customers can be notoriously unforgiving once they know you don't care about what they feel or have to say.
Fear of negative feedback can also slow down the collection process. Burying your head in the sand won't help much. Since your competitors are confronting those fears with their customers, you face the real risk of losing out to competitors who listen and adapt.
4. Not Turning Feedback into Action
All the feedback in the world won't do you any good if you’re not going to implement it. It can give the impression that you place low value on feedback. This could happen when you think that the mere act of doing a survey is enough to trigger and improve sales.
When you gather feedback from customers, they notice if you don't follow up. They will stop giving feedback in the future and can be very costly to the company in the long run.
Another reason for non-action on feedback is simply because the core program members are not sharing the data with people who could use it. These include key departments in the business who could learn and benefit from it. Since CX is affected by several touchpoints in your company, it’s important that employees at those points also share in the feedback so that they can do their part.
5. Focusing on the Wrong Programs
It’s easy to get excited about a program that isn't customer focused. Also, the programs could be poorly designed and provide a negative experience for the customer. For example, lengthy surveys can kill CX even if it may seem great at the start.
VoC solutions can also provide the wrong information, e.g. customer feedback scores may be tied to bonuses or commissions. This can cause employees to feel the need to trick the system so that customers give high scores. Skewed VoC data will not lead to improvements since it’s not accurate and doesn’t truly reflect customer sentiment.
Software Solutions to Avoid Common Voice of the Customer Mistakes
VoC programs are typically broad and overwhelming. You have to deal with untold numbers of questions that need asking, crafting numerous strategies, not to mention the curating of the data. This is followed by time-consuming data collecting and analysis to arrive at precisely what customers are saying.
It’s unsurprising that mistakes may multiply and corrupt the process, especially if it's manual. Even the highest caliber people get tired, lose attention, and can only deal with so much.
Thankfully you can leverage VoC software to ease and dramatically cut down on many of the mistakes.
For example, they are designed to give actionable feedback. It supports your VoC effort so that you can quickly respond with feedback that is easy to take action on.
VoC efforts should ideally be continuous because they are based on customer feedback that comes during or after the experience; so real-time customer feedback is critical. CX professionals need this feedback in a form and manner that allows the action to be taken. However, VoC software can do the heavy lifting as it can comb lots of data instantly.
Keep in mind, too, that the most valuable data is unstructured - i.e., in text form. This form of data is typically unactionable unless it is processed into an actionable format. Using techniques such as sentiment analysis, Voice of Customer software can analyze this data and translate it into the right form for you to act on.
If you are looking to implement a VoC program of your own, chances are you’ve experienced some of these mistakes. If you have no idea, do an audit or get someone to do it for you for a fresh look. The results may be surprising and may open your eyes to a whole new world of possibilities.
Given the high cost of customer acquisition, your business cannot afford to lose customers to competitors. This makes VoC programs essential. They help you to hear and listen to customer feedback about brands, products, and services - and respond quickly to retain them as loyal customers.