Understanding the Importance of the Voice of the Customer in Customer Experience Design
When it comes to designing an outstanding customer experience the voice of the customer needs to be front and centre.
Bill Gates once said;
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
I’d say Bill Gates has a few 100 billion reasons why we should be taking his advice.
Good customer experience design never happens within a vacuum. As the name would suggest, insights and feedback from the customer are crucial to designing a functional customer experience. Who would’ve thought it?
Capturing the Voice of the Customer is about ensuring that the experience which you are designing remains relevant to the needs of the audience which you are designing for.
If you are committed to a company wide effort to deliver value and happiness to clients, a VoC program should be your first step.
So what is Voice of the Customer?
Imagine you are a Gymnast. It may not seem relevant but bear with me on this.
As a gymnast you are trying to be the best you can in the hopes of making it to the olympics. But you cannot do it alone, even if you are incredibly talented.
Having an experienced coach who can pick out your areas to improve on is essential if you wish to improve. Every step of the way from junior championships to olympic gold medallist your coach will be there outlining what is working well and what is not working so well.
Then making it clear what steps you need to take to get better.
A Voice of the Customer program serves the same purpose and it is the first essential step towards customer success.
But isn’t this just a customer survey?
Yes and no.
By it’s a very nature a VOC program relies on asking probing questions about the company, product or service. However a VOC program is concerned with understanding that data rather than collecting it.
Data for a VoC program can be collected from a range of sources which we will touch on later.
Regardless of the source of the data a VoC program can be broken down into 3 stages.
- Listen: Capture insights by giving your customers frequent opportunities to submit feedback
- Act: Follow up promptly so customers know that they are heard. Quicker response to customer feedback results in a greater impact.
- Analyze: Assess progress against goals and measure improvement to keep the program on track.
Why do you need a Voice of the Customer program?
A VoC program is designed to capture customer insights, close the loop on feedback and prioritise improvements to produce happy and successful clients.
By listening to every customer and acting on their response you reduce the chances of failures repeating for future customers.
A VoC program provides an opportunity to leverage happy customers and assuage unhappy customers.
Some stats for you.
In 2011, computer software company, Oracle conducted a survey on the impact of customer experience and found;
46% of consumers were pleased when an organisation responded to a customer’s negative comment.
89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.
24% of consumers who had unsatisfactory service interactions shared their experiences through social networks.
How to Capture Voice of the Customer: Listening
Collecting customer feedback is the first step of any VoC program and as mentioned earlier there are plenty of different ways to skin a cat as the saying goes.
Quality feedback depends on asking the right person the right question at the right time.
Before you begin collecting data it is worthwhile to create customer personas. This narrows down your respondents so that the right person is able to give you useful based on their level of with your product or service.
A simple and straightforward method of collecting customer insights is through a survey. There are plenty of online tools for this
However there are limitations. It can be difficult to get buy in from customers and you made to incentivise the survey in order to get participation. This doesn’t guarantee quality of response either.
You could automatically action a survey when a customer reaches a certain point of the customer journey. Picking the right moment is very important and can have a major impact upon the quality of the response.
Aim to action your surveys with important milestones along the customer journey.
Interviews are more labor intensive but far more qualitative method of collecting data. Customer Experience Consulting firms such as our very own CX loop can undertake this sort of data collection on your behalf.
The method is less important than the data which you collect.
Your customers will be their most open and honest on social media. Monitor feedback from your company channels, third party review platforms even forums which discuss your industry or business. Seeing whether people recommend your
Important : Beware of survey fatigue
This can happen when you send too many surveys in succession or fail to set accurate expectations for the amount of time your survey will take.
Using your personas, establish a cadence for your surveys so you can be confident that you’re reaching out to the right people at appropriate intervals. If a survey is longer than one question, write out how long it’ll take so people know what they’re getting into.
Fail to follow both of these best practices and your customers may ignore your surveys, leaving you with nothing to show for it
Acting on your data
Acting on the feedback of your customers immediately shows your customers that you are listening and adapting.
Closing the loop on feedback means acting on feedback immediately, resolving the issue to ensure that they will not impact future customers.
This applies to positive feedback as well. If someone gives you positive feedback you should act immediately to stoke the fire of their brand advocacy.
Analysing the voice of the customer.
Once the feedback has been addressed directly go back and analyse the rich data which you have collected.
The data which you have collected can generall be divided into 3 groups.
1. Business Analytics
This includes all the metrics you want to track and benchmark against. It’s for internal use and will give your teams something to report on and be held accountable to. Data in this bucket can include NPS trends and follow-up response time. For example, track your NPS score to see how it trends quarter over quarter.
2. Outreach Analytics
This data reflects the performance of your customer outreach attempts. You can take these metrics and use them to optimize your outreaches against industry benchmarks.
Examples include the performance of surveys, the number of recipients, the number of emails sent/bounced/clicked, and unsubscribes. Combine direct and indirect feedback to create a holistic health score across subjective and objective measures. This health score will give you a high-level view of customer health and enable you to easily identify at-risk customers.
An important metric to pay attention to is how many people respond to your survey. If it’s very low, dig deeper to find the reason why people don’t want to interact with the survey. It could be your messaging or the navigation to the survey.
3. Program Insights
This is a culmination of both the business and outreach analytics. If you’re conducting a survey then this data is formed by the actual answers to the questions themselves. it allows to measure things such as customer sentiment and pain points.
What is the importance of the Voice of the Customer in customer experience design?
Now, why is the VOC so important in CX design? Well, simply put, it helps companies understand what their customers want and need. By listening to and analyzing customer feedback, companies can identify pain points and areas for improvement, which they can then address through CX design.
Additionally, incorporating the VOC into CX design can help companies create experiences that are tailored to their customers’ preferences and expectations. This, in turn, can lead to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.
Case Study : Frazer Tremble
We were brought on board by recruitment agency, Frazer Tremble and tasked with undertaking their Voice of the Candidate program.
During the discovery phase we reached out to over 600 candidates who had gone for roles through the recruitment agency. We conducted both an online survey and over the phone interviews.
The program insights provided us and Frazer Tremble with valuable insights into what their clients value about their communication during the recruitment process as well as candidate behaviour.
The insights lead Frazer Tremble to the insight that their candidates preferred monthly contact from the company. This later lead to them implementing a monthly newsletter which allows their candidates to remain informed on market insights and the latest jobs from the agency.
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