Getting feedback from your customers is an essential part of improving your business. The focus is often on how to win more customers, but just as much attention, if not more, should be spent on retaining the customers you have. Acquiring a new customer is five times more expensive than retaining an existing one. Also consider that by increasing customer retention rates by five percent, you can increase your profits by 25 to 95 percent.
By listening to the voice of the customer (VoC), you can gain specific details on what segments of the customer experience could use some work. In today’s environment of social media and texting, it’s never been easier to get feedback from your customer. Companies with high-quality VoC programs make use of multiple channels of communication, then analyze the data collected and implement changes based on their analysis. This approach allows you to gain insights on all parts of the customer’s journey and continually improve customer experience.
What Is Voice of the Customer?
Voice of the Customer is essentially a research strategy intended to help you discover what your customers think of you. The objective of this strategy is to help you visualize the gap between your customers’ expectations and their actual experience with your company. VoC is a means to an end, the end being that you know where your customer experience design falls short and what you need to do to improve it.
The best VoC programs pay special attention to the customers’ needs, expectations, and understandings. The insights they gain can then be applied to changing products, marketing copy, or the customer experience itself. Once a VoC program is in place, it will continue to provide insights for future changes.
How Can VoC Benefit Your Company?
Voice of the customer programs can improve your business in a number of ways. They have been found to increase a company’s net promoter score, retention, number of referrals, and share of wallet. In addition, they decrease the customer’s cost to serve.
Focusing on the voice of the customer is what allowed Domino’s Pizza to go from $3 a share in 2009 to $290 a share in 2019. As Patrick Doyle, CEO of Domino’s from 2010 to 2018, said, “You can either use negative comments to get you down, or you can use them to excite you and energize your process to make better pizza.” Domino’s did not only listen to the negative comments—they addressed them in a very public manner. And it worked. Doyle used the voice of the customer to turn the company around.
According to Gartner, collecting customer feedback can increase upselling and cross-selling success rates by 15 to 20 percent. Furthermore, companies that actively engage in VoC programs spend 25 percent less on customer retention than those that don’t. It’s not just the customer and the overall business that benefits, either. Employee engagement has also been proven to increase in companies that invest in customer feedback programs.
What do all of these numbers mean for your bottom line? Businesses that implement a VoC strategy experience a 10-times-greater year-over-year increase in annual company revenue. More engaged employees, a lower cost associated with keeping customers, and an increased bottom line? Implementing a VoC program sounds like something you can’t afford not to do.
How Do You Get Customer Feedback?
So, you’re listening for the voice of the customer. Should you just wait for them to email you?
Tapping into the voice of the customer doesn’t just happen. You have to actively ask for customer feedback or you’re not going to get it. In fact, only one out of 26 customers is likely to bring up a complaint on their own. Instead, most just take their business elsewhere without saying a word.
How many of them are taking their business elsewhere? Eighty-nine percent of consumers have switched to doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. This means that your business is losing customers who could be giving you valuable feedback if you would just ask them!
What is the best way to reach your customers? Every way. An omnichannel feedback tool is the best way to get as much feedback as possible. There are a multitude of ways to reach out to your customers, and people have varying preferences for how they want to communicate. Using as many channels as you can will help ensure that you get feedback from all of your customer segments.
Voice of the customer feedback collection can include data from:
- On-site surveys
- Off-site surveys
- Social listening
- Customer interviews
- Focus groups
- Net promoter score
- Website-visitor behavior
- Online reviews
- Live chat
- Recorded call data
- SMS communication
Each of these options can provide you with valuable data from your customers, with the best VoC programs including multiple methods of feedback.
What Do You Do with VoC Data?
Great, you have all of this information from your customers—now what? After all, it is what you actually do with this information that will determine how much you gain. Look for patterns in the data you’ve collected. What are the specific words people are using? At what point in the customer cycle are expectations not being met?
Just as you want to get feedback from the full spectrum of your customers, the data and its analysis needs to go to the full scope of your company. Collaborate across departments once data has been analyzed as you decide what changes should be made. It is critical that the reports and insights from your data get to the right people.
Once you have collected and analyzed all of this feedback, it is time to implement the changes necessary for solving problems that have been identified. Prioritize which changes are most critical—those that will have the biggest impact on customer experience. And then you’re done, right? Of course not.
The great thing about VoC programs is that once they have been set up, they will continue to collect data you can use to make more changes. You will know whether the modifications you’ve implemented have worked as you continue to receive feedback.
Remember, the whole point of a VoC program is to help you visualize the gap between customer expectations and customer experience. As you analyze the data and implement changes, you should see this gap close. You’ll have more repeat customers, more positive word-of-mouth, and a bigger bottom line. The voice of the customer is a voice worth listening to.