A wise man once said, “The more you engage with customers, the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.” One of the best ways to determine what you should be doing to deliver an outstanding customer experience is to leverage the voice of the customer, or VoC. VoC is a term used to describe the process of gathering and acting upon feedback from your customers. Used correctly, VoC wants and needs can directly influence all outward-facing ventures including website builds, marketing creation, campaign development, and more.
Collecting feedback from customers should be an ongoing process. As VoC feedback is obtained, incorporate it into all phases of work and development, specifically during a website build project. At the beginning of a project, due diligence is critical. User research will help you understand customer behavior trends and expectations. Then through the wireframe and design process, usability tests allow you to obtain actionable feedback and determine whether the assumptions you have made along the way are correct, or if you’ve gone a bit awry.
And soliciting data doesn’t stop when a project goes live. You should never stop collecting VoC feedback from customers. But unless you act on the information they provide, you’re just spinning your wheels. Don’t risk the progress you’ve made or alienate your customers.
While the process of soliciting VoC data may seem overwhelming or difficult to operationalize, following the steps below will help. This process will allow you to tap into customer feedback and turn their needs into action.
Understand the Value VoC Delivers
While it may sound like just another trend people are hopping on, it is important to understand the effect that using VoC has on companies because it is extraordinary. A report by the Aberdeen Group found multiple benefits for companies that use VoC versus those that don’t, including:
55% greater customer retention
23% lower customer service costs
37% greater employee engagement rates
Not only are the quantitative results compelling, but the qualitative benefits are even stronger. VoC usage can drive significant improvements in customer service, brand strength, more robust product development and innovation, higher marketing efficiency and even better market fit.
Even with some pretty clear benefits, many companies are failing to cash in on this golden source of website optimization. Harvard Business Review found that marketers only depend on data for a meager 11 percent of customer-related decisions. The rest rely heavily on intuition. Tapping into VoC data lets you stand out from the competition.
Systematically Collect VoC Data
Once you have a clear understanding of VoC benefits, it’s time to think about mechanisms to collect this data. One of the best ways to obtain VoC inputs is by using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) which is a way to measure the loyalty between a customer and company. The NPS uses only a single question as input: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?” In addition to providing a quantitative response from 0 to 10, the customer also has the option to leave comments in the survey. These comments are insightful and also serve as proof points for making the case to update an experience.
Surveys are another tool to collect VoC responses. You can execute these in a myriad of ways, including the integration of pop-up surveys on your website, conducting focus group surveys and including comment or feedback boxes. Giving customers multiple ways to provide feedback will help ensure you get open and honest opinions about the experience you are delivering that you can then put to use.
Let the Data Tell The Story
Capturing data is only one step in your VoC program. Equally important is a clear process outlined to collect and analyze the data. This analysis will tell a compelling story of what your customers like and don’t like and highlight what is having a positive or negative impact on their experience. This storytelling will allow you to convert data into action items that improve your website.
To keep from using the data poorly, make sure to avoid a scattershot approach. Instead, create systematic processes that allow you to derive value from the data as it comes in. As you accumulate actionable insights, create a backlog of changes and updates you want to make to your website. Prioritize features and functionality feedback over other types. This puts the focus on creating a product that will drive revenue and customer retention while lowering customer service costs.
Realize It Will Never Be Finished
In short, VoC is a process, not an action. Your website is never really a finished product. Content and the user experience should continually be evaluated to determine if it still meets customer needs or if corrective action is necessary. From the very beginning of development through release and beyond, VoC matters — but only if you act on it. If you want to provide your customers with the best possible user experience, ask them their opinion. After all, the customer is always right.