What Do Customers Want?
“The customer comes first.”
“The customer is always right.”
“It’s all about the customers.”
“Put customers first.”
Customer satisfaction and the customer experience are pinnacles of a successful business. The businesses that perform the best are the ones that pay close attention to what their customers are saying—across every channel—and take action accordingly.
If you’d like to do the same thing, you’ll need to start gathering some data. The process of collecting and analyzing customer feedback is known as Voice of Customer (VoC) market research.
What is Voice of Customer (VoC)?
Voice of Customer (VoC), sometimes referred to as Voice of the Customer, is a market research term that describes customer feedback, including their experiences, their expectations, and the needs they have for your products and services.
Why is Voice of Customer (VoC) Important?
Customers expect the businesses they patronize to understand their needs—and if they don’t, there’s a good chance those customers won’t return. In order to meet their needs and offer a positive customer experience, you need to understand what it is customers actually want from your business.
The VoC methodology helps you collect customer feedback across multiple channels during every point of the customer lifecycle. By collecting this data, you can gather valuable insights that inform strategies to further improve customer satisfaction.
Without VoC research, you’ll likely end up relying on an incomplete and unreliable data set that doesn’t fully address your customers needs. That puts you at risk of disappointing customers, which in turn can damage your overall brand reputation.
Real-Life Examples of VoC Insights
There are many ways to conduct a VoC program that collects and analyzes customer feedback. Depending on the scope of your program, you may use one or all of the below examples to see what your customers are saying about your business. The most important thing to consider is that you’re choosing a channel (or channels) that provides high-quality data that benefits your program.
Many companies will use a mixture of different techniques and sources to gather VoC research to ensure they’re getting a wide variety of perspectives across multiple channels.
Surveys, Interviews & Focus Groups
Conducting customer surveys, interviews, and focus groups are traditional methods of collecting VoC data that can help you get highly specific feedback about your chosen topics. These methods are commonly executed online, over the phone, or in person. This is often the costliest method to collect VoC data, but lets you drill into whichever topics you find most pressing, which makes it incredibly useful.
Customer Support Interactions
Your customer support teams offer you a direct line to your customers. By collecting insights from the most common customer support touchpoints, you can find helpful data and identify growing trends.
Live chats are quick and easy ways for customers to get support or express their feedback. By reviewing live chat transcripts, you can figure out what common issues customers are dealing with, where they may be running into problems, or what they’re looking for most often. To see this in action, check out the live chat support for RITZ Crackers’ parent company, Mondelēz International, here.
Similar to live chats, customer emails can be a great source of information that makes it easy to identify trending topics in your customer base. It’s recommended to review historical email data regularly to stay on top of rising problems.
Feedback forms can be helpful data sources that you can share at various stages of the customer journey—you could send outa follow-up directly after a customer interacts with your business, or 30+ days after to see what their experience was like. You can also use feedback or contact forms to collect customer inquiries and comments, similar to the Hilton Customer Support portal.
Recorded calls provide a broad scope of feedback and objections from your customers. Analyzing trends across these calls can help you identify areas for improvement, but can also help you better equip your customer support teams to address customer frustrations.
If you have a brick-and-mortar location, you can enlist the help of your store employees to gather customer feedback in person. This is best suited for small and mid-sized businesses. This approach can provide highly accurate survey data since your employees are engaging with customers right after the point of contact with your team or product.
Social Media & Online Reviews
Social media is a goldmine of VoC data. Monitoring social media for mentions of your brand (either direct or indirect)lets you tap into ongoing conversations in real-time or quietly keep an eye on developing conversations. Dove’s social media team frequently interacts with customers on Twitter to address customer support issues and join in on relevant conversations. They also use Instagram to share user-generated content of customers using Dove products.
Collecting VoC Insights
A proactive way to gather VoC insights is to enlist the support of a social listening service or tool that collects customer feedback in real time and structure that data in a more manageable, digestible format. Let’s face it: there’s a lot of information out there on the internet—and you can’t be everywhere at once. Social listening tools are invaluable assets when identifying key topics within your customer base.
You can also use customer support tools like call recording platforms, web chat providers, and more to keep a record of any and all customer interactions that take place on your website or with your employees.
It’s important to conduct VoC programs on a recurring basis. Customer sentiments change over time, so these programs shouldn’t be static in nature.
Taking Action on VoC Insights
Once you’ve gathered your data, it’s time to analyze it. If you’re not working with a market research firm that provides VoC analyses, then you’ll either need to process the data yourself or find an AI machine learning tool that can process and classify VoC data appropriately.
The type of analyses you perform depend on the type of data you collect. If you’re analyzing customer surveys, you can run simple quantitative analyses like averages, minimums/maximums, and more. Qualitative research (like feedback gathered from social media platforms) will require a more complex approach to ensure you’re properly synthesizing and summarizing the data you collect. You’ll likely want to start by categorizing the data and breaking it down to identify key trends and topics within each category.
Develop an Effective VoC Strategy with Starlight Analytics
Implementing a Voice of the Customer program is an effective way to improve customer satisfaction and boost loyalty. If you’d like to learn more about building a Voice of Customer program that delivers actionable ways to improve your customer experience and your overall success, the team at Starlight Analytics can help. Our social listening services and proprietary data modeling techniques offer a practical, thorough approach that will help you identify the key insights you need to connect on a deeper level with your customers.