This is chapter three of our free guide: How to Launch Your Own “Voice of the Customer” Program
Here are some basic tips to get you started on launching your own Voice of the Customer program:
1. Create a Strategy
Before you get started, give your VoC program some thought. What is it that you hope to achieve? How would you like to collect feedback? At the end of the day, remember why you’re creating this program.
Your goal should be to extract valuable feedback from your customers so you can focus on creating measurable improvements in your business.
Are you trying to improve customer acquisition? Perhaps you’ve noticed a spike in customer complaints and want to identify the source of the issues?
Whatever the case may be, you need to construct a well-planned, supportive program that’s measurable. After all, what good is a VoC program if you can’t measure improvements over time?
2. Choose the Right Feedback Channel
There are plenty of options available when it comes to collecting customer feedback, but it’s important to decide on which channel is best for your business. Do you want send regular surveys? Would you prefer to collect feedback on your web site? Or do you want a dedicated customer-only portal where they can share their ideas privately? If you want to send customer feedback surveys or add feedback forms on your web site, take a look at Fieldboom.
3. Ask At The Right Time
If you have a product that takes a few days to setup or install, don’t email customers asking for feedback a few hours after they purchase. Think about when it’s appropriate to ask for feedback. You want to reach out at the right time to make sure you receive feedback that’s useful and most importantly actionable.
Reactive Or Proactive Data?
When building a VoC program, there are typically two kinds of data you can collect. Reactive and proactive data. Let’s look at each of them below.
As you’d expect, reactive data is when a customer offers their feedback after they’ve used your product or service. Common forms of reactive data include customer feedback surveys, complaints, support tickets, tweets and return requests.
The first thing to ask yourself when you receive reactive data is “what’s the root cause of the issue my customer is experiencing?”. Once you’ve identified the root cause, you can determine if/how to fix the problem and take the appropriate action.
The key thing to look for with reactive data are patterns or problems that keep occurring across your customer base.
For example, if hundreds of customers tell you they’re sitting on hold too long waiting to talk to your customer support team, then you can have a huge impact on a lot of customers by reducing phone wait times.
If you uncover issues that can’t be fixed straight away, help your customer service team understand the issues so they can communicate with customers. In most cases, if the issue isn’t critical, your customers will be happy knowing it’s currently being addressed – even if it’s not yet fixed.
- Reactive data comes in once a customer has used your product or service
- It comes from complaints, returns, warranty claims, sales figures or surveys
- Its purpose is to document a customer’s experience
- It’s easy to collect and is direct in nature
- Since the issue has already occurred, damage control needs to be a part of your plan in some cases where the issue is critical in the eyes of your customers
In comparison, proactive data is collected before a potential customer actually uses your product or service. Proactive data can help you plan more effectively, since it will be based on your potential customers’ expectations not experiences.
For example, you could survey your market about your pricing or ask for their opinion about a potential new product you’d like to launch.
Once again, this information can be collected in a number of ways, including surveys, focus groups and market research. Although you might prefer to collect feedback in house, many businesses will outsource this type of data collection by hiring a company who specializes in market research.
- Proactive data is collected before someone becomes a customer
- It comes from surveys, focus groups, benchmarking and market research
- Its purpose is to help you plan for launching new products or services and/or entering new markets
- It can be expensive to collect
Using Social Media To Compliment Your VoC Program
If you’re a small business owner, chances are you’ve got a fairly small budget for your VoC program. That’s where you can really leverage social media to keep costs low.
Twitter, for example, is a great way to find proactive data about your potential customers, your market and also feedback about your competitor’s products and services.
Just use Twitter’s search box to type in a few keywords related to your products or your market. For example, type in the names of your competitors and see what people are tweeting about them.
According to a report by Forrester, only 29% of customer experience professionals use social media feedback within their VoC program. Most rely on traditional channels for feedback, leaving so much valuable feedback on the table as a result.
You’ll no doubt come across a lot of ‘noise’ and useless data on Twitter, but you’ll quite quickly discover some of your (potential) customers’ greatest challenges and concerns.
As you kick off your VoC program, make sure you have a single “source of truth” for all customer feedback that comes from social media. There are a variety of social media monitoring tools available today that will collect all posts about your business from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
On a final note, you should address the most important types of customer feedback first. For example, feedback related to safety issues or legal threats should be addressed before feedback about spelling mistakes on your web site.
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