How do you keep evolving your Customer Experience (CX) based on what our customers actually want?
Now that’s a million-dollar question.
No really, companies who listen, implement and improve their CX typically have a strong, buzzing Voice of Customer (VoC) strategy.
According to Aberdeen, businesses that have a VoC generate a 10x greater year-over-year increase in annual revenue!
There’s a bucketload of benefit you get from a VoC. I’m talking about staff engagement, decrease customer service costs, growing your customer loyalty and increased sales. And here’s how to do it!
First, what is a Voice of Customer (VoC) Program?
Let’s start with the nitty-gritty of it!
Now, when we think of success in a retail business, we measure so many things: sales, conversion rate optimisation (CRO), margins, gains and losses. But fundamentally driving these figures, are your customers. There are no two ways about it!
So, if you’re wanting to safeguard the success of your business, you need to have a process of listening to what your customers are doing, asking, wanting and needing.
This is the objective of a Voice of Customer (VoC) Program.
Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a term that describes your customer’s feedback about their experiences with, and expectations for, your products or services. It focuses on customer needs, expectations, understandings, and product improvement.
It can include survey data measuring different metrics, conducting interviews, online reviews, social listening, themes from customer support and operational data analysis.
Although overwhelming at times, your customer’s voice, both positive and negative, holds the secrets to success for your organisation. And when executed right, a VoC Program will evolve you from a business smashing the BAU, to a business driving real strategic change.
An effective VoC program can…
Improve CX, by gaining a better understanding of your customers needs and driving increase in loyalty
Improve your financial performance, through targeted customer-centric strategies
Improve other business metrics; staff engagement, customer loyalty and decrease costs in customer service
So, how do you run a successful Voice of Customer (VoC) program?
Executing a successful VoC program isn’t done overnight, it takes time and commitment from the business and the team.
There are 101 factors that influence the success of your VoC program. Honestly, it would be impossible to talk about them all. And that’s why today we are going to completely avoid talking about them…
Joke! But in all seriousness, today we are going to share 3 key things you need to get your VoC program buzzing.
In Part 1 of this blog, we will detail the first 3 out of the 6 highly crucial pillars required for a successful VoC.
Pillar #1: Have the ear of the CEO
To really get the ball rolling on your program you need to secure support from higher management post-haste!
A VoC isn’t something a marketing, service or sales team can do in isolation and report back on their findings.
It’s important to have buy-in from all areas of the business, especially the CEO, from day dot!
This ensures you have access to budget, buy-in and priorities when you need to implement real change based on the feedback.
This should be a top priority for any business leader!
How to earn the ear of your CEO
Money talks! A VoC program should be tied to financial outcomes (more on this to come 😉.)
Know when and how to get feedback from your customers. This should be well thought out and simple to implement.
Be prepared with the results and create a simple way to report this up and down the line.
A strong program needs to be executed confidently and completely. Having support and steady communication from the people that will be anticipating the results from your VoC program is vital.
Pillar #2: Be a Knowledge champion
A VoC program is not something you can complete in a week, a month, even a year. It’s a constant work in progress, and for some larger companies, a role within itself.
It’s important that every business has their ‘Knowledge Champion’ – an individual that understands the key metrics holds stakeholders accountable and is across the entire program.
As the Knowledge Champion, you need to be ‘in the know’ of just about everything. Your role in building a program holds great responsibility, and this is to be reflected through a deep understanding of the workings of your organisation and the objectives of your VoC program.
You could be a lone ranger or you could form the A-Team of employees dedicated to the charge.
In fact, creating a cross-functional team is an effective way to fill this role and tap into different areas of expertise across multiple departments. Saving a bunch of time and money for yourself and the business!
Be on top of why, when and, how your customers think, and how this should impact your operations.
How to become a Knowledge Champion
Understand all the different metrics you will be using (NPS, Csat, effort score etc.)
Run different information sessions for all staff so everyone understand what is being done
Know how to share and strategise growth using VoC results
Without a knowledge champion, your business will be running around like a headless chook. You don’t need to be the head of the chook, but you definitely need to be the brain to keep the business running in the right direction!
Pillar #3: Look at the big picture but keep it simple
Obviously, there are one million possible things you could be surveying your customers about, but it’s important to remain focused on what you NEED to know.
And we don’t mean surveying solely on the areas you know you’ll perform well in while skirting around the rest. We mean, asking the questions that will reveal a bird’s eye view of your customer – high level, but wide-reaching.
There is absolutely no point in executing a VoC program if all you want is an ego boost. You need to ask all the questions and prepare to action the results, both good and bad! 😁
In saying this, even a crazy-bored customer caught in lockdown isn’t going to fill out a 30-minute survey just so that you can know EVERYTHING!
You need to cast the net wide, but keep it high-level, looking only at the bigger picture and questions relevant to your audience.
Treat your survey questions as precious real estate by creating different journeys based on their interactions with your business. For example, “Have you ever interacted with our customer service team?” if yes, they go on a SHORT journey to dive a little deeper. No? Well, we can move on!
And no offence, but you’re not superhuman. You can’t fix everything in one go so you need to focus on max 2-3 strategies that will drive change in your business.
We won’t lie, a full-fledged VoC program is a long-term commitment. But we can guarantee the impact will be well worth the effort!
Start with these pillars and you will be well on the way to launching a successful VoC program and incorporating it as a fully functioning business operation in no time!
Hungry for more? Watch this space. We will be returning with 3 more pillars very soon!
Until then, here are some of the best blogs on customer experience (CX)
Natalie Khoury has over 15 years’ experience in solution sales and customer experience. As a net promoter associate, Natalie’s knowledge and expertise help’s drive the success of our customers at Milk It Academy – a research-based training firm created to advance the everyday knowledge of professionals in marketing, UX, CX and solutions sales. For over a decade Natalie has worked with global brands including Experian, Connexity, Cheetah digital, Titan’s, Alfa and BlueChip IT.