How the Voice of Customer Research Can Help You Pass the Competition
March 31, 2022
How the Voice of Customer Research Can Help You Pass the Competition
Your company stands to learn a lot about what your customers really want and where your business model needs to improve by using voice of customer research.
If you keep meeting and exceeding your customers’ expectations, two things are likely to happen as a result.
First, your existing customers will keep buying from you. Second, they’ll recommend you to others because of their positive experiences.
The most successful businesses understand that every part of the customer journey counts. That journey starts with a new customer’s initial encounter with your brand and products. It then progresses to how easy they feel it was to buy from you. Customers also want to feel looked after and valued once a company has their money.
To understand how they’re doing, many companies decide to invest in a voice of customer research exercise.
This kind of research tells you what your target audience truly wants and values. You’ll also discover new ways to improve your service and gain valuable insights into potential new products.
In this article, we’ll look at:
- Eight customer insights your company can uncover by using voice of customer (VOC) programs
- Eleven market research initiatives you can take
- Five steps to make the most of your VOC data
7 Customer Insights to Uncover in VOC Programs
Although metrics like profit and loss, turnover, cost per sale, and customer churn are important, they’re often not that revealing.
You can create a voice of customer program to discover what your company is doing well and where there is room for improvement on issues like:
- How easy your products are to use
- How good your after-sales support is
- Whether your product or service successfully addresses client pain points
- If your onboarding strategy needs strengthening
- If your pricing is right
- How effective your marketing is
- Trouble making payment
At Innoveto, we use the Pliik app to plan and run voice of customer program exercises for clients. Below, we’ll share 11 of the best ways to approach market research for your VOC program and why we use Pliik.
11 Market Research Initiatives You Can Take
There are dozens of different touchpoints where you can collect customer feedback. Below, we list 11 of the most popular.
1. Online Surveys
You can carry out customer surveys and questionnaires in-person, over the phone, or online. Web-based and email surveys, however, generally do not enjoy as high a level of participation.
Choosing the right questions gets you more valuable information. The right questions will provide you with the insights you need to deliver the insights you want about, whether that’s about your products and services, your after-sales, or how your brand is perceived.
Remember to phrase the questions simply. Otherwise, people might get confused and stop answering survey questions.
Keep in mind that surveys only capture a moment in time. We recommend clients use the Pliik app to constantly monitor channels of communication to measure customers’ feelings about you over time. If sentiment starts to move decisively in one direction, you may wish to carry out a new round of surveys to understand why this has happened.
2. Website Behavior
For many people, their first meaningful contact with a company is its website.
You can track how successful your website is at engaging with existing and potential customers by seeing how long they spend on your site, which page visits are most likely to result in a lead or sale, and which pages cause people to navigate away.
Platforms like Google Analytics are particularly useful for studying how your web visitors behave.
3. Customer Interviews
Customer interviews give you the opportunity to ask open-ended questions, which often lead to deeper insights.
Talk to customers who have been with you for a long time and those who have left to understand their motivations.
Your marketing team may wish to turn some of the most positive interviews into case studies.
4. Recorded Call Data
Most Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems allow companies to record and retrieve phone calls over an extended period of time.
By listening to a wide selection of customer calls, you can identify commonly recurring themes and issues. You’ll likely find examples of poor responses to customers, which can lead to identification of areas where product, service, and delivery can be improved.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) applications together with enhanced speech recognition software may offer you the opportunity to automate much of this.
You can send emails to existing and potential clients to get their feedback and opinions.
AI and ML applications also offer the opportunity to classify emails and analyse their content for customer sentiment and recurring themes.
Although the use of chatbots may be controversial, many companies value how useful they are in providing real time customer and technical service.
Customers feel that they are being dealt with immediately because of the sophisticated AI scripting used in these apps. If a problem can’t be solved, conversations can be transferred to a human operator.
Companies can then analyse common issues and create scripts to deal with these situations, thereby reducing the workload on email- and phone-based service teams.
7. Text Messaging
As with emails, you can send links to surveys and online questionnaires to customers through text messages or SMS.
Participation can be incentivized by offering vouchers, giveaways, and prizes.
8. Online Reviews
In addition to Google, dozens of different online review sites provide customers the opportunity to share their experiences.
Engaging with bad reviews can be a positive, as companies get the chance to win back or change the opinion of an unhappy customer. Also, other readers will see that you respond swiftly, decisively, and empathetically when a customer is unsatisfied.
Make sure to include both positive and negative review comments in your VOC research dataset.
9. Social Listening
You can search through social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram for references to your company and its products.
Users’ posts are unfiltered and can provide valuable raw data for your voice of customer research exercise.
As with online reviews, you can respond to people’s social media posts directly to provide assistance and information on your products and services.
10. Net Promoter Score
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) indicates how likely customers are to recommend your company to friends and colleagues.
Scores range from 0 to 10. When receiving scores of 0 to 5, companies should reach out to individual respondents. Such a low score indicates that something has gone so wrong with the customer-client relationship that these customers may actively discourage others from purchasing from you.
Users who give a 6 or 7 are generally satisfied but not to a degree great enough to recommend you. Users with a higher NPS are happy clients and are most likely to continue purchasing from you.
11. Focus Groups
A focus group is a moderated discussion on a set of pre-agreed topics with up to a dozen participants.
Focus groups are useful because, among other things, they help:
- Companies understand existing customers’ positive and negative experiences with their products and services
- Companies know why potential customers choose competitors’ products and services over theirs
- Development teams guide the product and service development process (including the testing of early prototypes)
- Marketing teams better understand which product or service benefits should feature more prominently in advertising campaigns to generate more sales.
Focus groups add a greater level of depth and personal experience to voice of customer research datasets.
Focus groups are moderated and, through the free exchange of opinions between participants and guided discussions on topics of interest to a company, they often reveal insights that would not be discovered through data analysis.
5 Steps to Make the Most of Your VOC Data
Now that you’ve collected your voice of customer research data, it’s time to interpret what it’s telling you, come up with an action plan, and monitor the results of the changes you implement.
1. Present Your Data
At the end of your voice of customer research exercise, you’ll have a vast amount of data and insights that you will need to interpret.
Consider how you’ll clearly and succinctly present this data to relevant parties.
Check out tools like Clarabridge, HubSpot, Alchemer, and InVision. CustomerGauge is particularly suitable for B2B voice of customer research projects.
2. Assign Interpretations to Relevant Departments
To ensure consistency in the interpretation of all the data and insights gathered, you’ll need to agree on a methodology for participants.
This is also important because multiple teams might need to examine and interpret certain subsets of the data.
For example, you could share information on common customer difficulties with technical support teams, marketing communications teams, and UX designers.
While UX designers work on alleviating a particular issue, they could:
- Help marketing communications create materials to show users how to get over that issue faster
- Provide scripts for technical support teams to talk customers through the process
With more collaboration, your teams can find solutions that make the customer experience smoother at multiple points.
Voice of customer research is also the starting point for many new product development projects, as companies often identify gaps in the market.
3. Ask Employees to Give Their Opinion
While many voice of customer research exercises are carried out at a managerial level, there is another important group of stakeholders to consider: your employees.
These are the people who will be tasked with writing the code, designing the new product, implementing changes to online knowledge banks for clients, and so on.
Without speaking to employees about the issues uncovered during a VOC project, you may miss out on subtle insights which can only be gained by dealing with clients directly.
4. Come Up With an Action Plan
Once you have a template for change, each department involved should come up with an action plan outlining the rollout of its part of the process.
5. Monitor the Results of Changes Made as a Result of VOC Research
Once you’ve implemented changes as a result of your VOC program, it’s important to measure how well those changes are actually being made.
You can make it easier for staff to achieve their KPIs by checking their progress against these targets. Failure to hit a target may lead to remedial action like extra training. If lots of colleagues are missing targets, it may be worth rethinking the change.
You should also closely follow metrics focused on customer need and satisfaction to make sure customers appreciate your new initiatives.
How Innoveto and the Pliik App Can Help
An Innoveto design sprint uses voice of customer research findings to understand what’s important to your clients. Your team can share customer insights with our design sprint specialists via the Pliik app.
Pliik’s conversation analytics tool is fed from a wide variety of sources including social media and customer emails. It lets you know how customers feel about your current products or services and provides insights into the products or services you should create for tomorrow.
Customer feedback and commentary can be automatically labelled, enabling you to share insights with the rest of your team. The app sends weekly reports so you can better analyze over time your target’s audiences perceptions of your company and its position in the marketplace. Pliik also offers integrations with HubSpot and Zapier.
Using insights from Pliik and from internal stakeholders, we then work together to identify ideas for increasing customer satisfaction with your products, services, and delivery using our speed creation process.
By the end of the process, you’ll know which concepts are worth investing in, following prototype creation and end-user testing.
Implementation and Innovation Opportunities
For many companies, design sprints are the ideal follow-up to voice of customer research exercises.
Become the most customer-centric business possible and inspire continuing customer loyalty by channelling your voice of customer research findings into our proven innovation process.
To talk with Innoveto about your VOC strategy and incorporating your findings into a design sprint, call us at +41 43 205 21 73, email us at email@example.com, or fill out our contact form.
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