If you think your Voice of the Customer (VoC) survey is enough to fuel your customer experience-driven strategy, you may need to re-evaluate your understanding of how much it can truly do for your business.
Traditionally, the annual VoC survey has been the core measurement of customer satisfaction and preferences, and the guidepost for which businesses pivot or make improvements. However, now customers are empowered with more choices and have the lowest barrier to leaving their current relationship for a competitor. In 2020, your business requires measures beyond customer preference and long-term satisfaction.
In this way, even the Net Promoter Score (NPS) fails to give us a comprehensive measurement to determine if our Customer Experience (Cx) is an advantage. To become the industry leader requires listening and learning about customers in multiple ways. Surveys alone just don’t deliver enough insights to act on in a meaningful way.
Let’s look at 5 different reasons why your VoC program requires more than an annual survey to deliver the insights needed to accomplish your strategic goals.
1. Surveys vs. Direct-to-Human Feedback
Surveys are an appealing approach to get customer data – they’re a quick and easy way to get insights about customer sentiment and problems your customers face. But they lack context, which creates unreliable and misleading information and an illusion of understanding your customers.
In other words, surveys shouldn’t be your only tool in your VoC toolbox. Give context to your surveys and make them more meaningful by getting more perspective through conducting in-person interviews, for example.
The strongest organizations use additional VoC tools like:
- customer observation
- journey mapping
- customer advisory boards
- co-design sessions (where you ask customers to work together to design solutions to their challenges)
- social media monitoring
- frontline employee and channel partner interviews
- customer reviews
These methods engage your team in conversations with real customers that uncover motivation, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors about what customers are trying to accomplish in the moment. Surveys rely on customers remembering experiences, but these other VoC tools allow you to witness the experience as it unfolds. Be sure to balance your research with methods that analyze customer feelings, beliefs, and behavior to get a full picture of your customer experience.
2. Timeliness of Feedback
No customer will accurately remember the critical moment that took place days, weeks, or months earlier when asked in a VoC survey.
Instead, use shorter, near real-time surveys and tools to measure customer difficulty or satisfaction immediately after a transaction or critical step in the customer journey. This will help you measure progress over time, identify critical changes and respond to negative trends when they occur. Try including a pop-up feedback survey on your website or at the bottom of emails sent to customers to capture these insights.
3. Asking the Right Questions
When designing your VoC toolbox, asking the right questions are as critical as the methods you use. Use a mix of qualitative and quantitative techniques to encourage customers to give you the data and context you need to act.
Closed questions can give you an understanding of where customers have the most difficulty and how the experience has changed overtime. But open-ended questions encourage customers to respond with more detail, providing you with a deeper understanding and new ideas.
Examples of good open-ended Cx questions include:
- What do you think about our product/service?
- How would you improve our product/service?
- What can you do today, that you couldn’t before owning our product/using our service?
- How would you feel if you could no longer use our product or service?
4. Need for Real-Time Monitoring
Each critical step in a customer interaction should be measured in some way to identify the most important places to focus your resources.
Consider using a listening platform to monitor and collect customer feedback from multiple channels of your business (omnichannel) in real-time. Platforms should be robust enough to collect feedback from every point in the customer journey.
Whichever method you choose should lend itself to a closed-loop process – where feedback can be tracked over time to see how changes affect the customer experience.
5. Power of Referrals and Reviews
With reviews for virtually every product and organization only a few clicks away, most consumers read 5 or 6 reviews before forming their own opinion. That’s why collecting reviews is an important part of the VoC toolbox. Reviews can be organically collected (allow your customers to post them) or compensated (there are third parties that help with this). For most companies, more than half of their reviews will be negative. It can be difficult to read, but diligent monitoring of your reviews is important as it allows you to quickly spot trends.
The most powerful influencers during the purchase process are referrals, particularly from a customer’s friends or family members who experienced the same product or service. High performing Cx organizations proactively request and make it easy for customers to make those referrals – something also known as targeted acquisition.
Keep in mind that customer experience involves every interaction and touchpoint your customers have with your business. No matter the approach or methods you choose to stock your VoC toolbox, it’s critical to ensure the five reasons are addressed at the appropriate time and place along the customer journey. Success requires full engagement from every corner of your business in order to truly capture and understand the Voice of the Customer for your business.