As its name suggests, VoC is all about listening to your customer – understanding the experience that they have had with your organization. Did it meet, exceed, or fail expectations? What is going well? What needs to be improved?
But it does not stop there. VoC is also about more broadly understanding how your customers think, feel, and act. Done right, VoC helps you get closer to your Customer Truth, which in turn facilitates business growth.
So what should you be thinking about when you are building a VoC Program? Here are five steps to consider:
Step 1. Create Crystal Clear Objectives
Before creating your VoC program (or any research program), it is imperative to be crystal clear on what the program aims to achieve, and what success looks like.
Do not rush this step. Take time to confirm what you know and understand what you do not.
Ask a lot of questions. What information are we trying to gather? Which departments are involved? How will we share the insights? How will we measure success (what are the KPIs?) What is not part of this program?
Step 2: Ask the Right Questions, in the Right Way
You need to decide what to ask and when to ask it. You also need to consider how to ask. Often, this will be a survey asking about your customers’ experience. Ask questions like: Overall, how satisfied were you with the experience? How likely are you to recommend us to a friend? What part of the experience could have been better?
But VoC should not be limited to surveys. That is just the start of the conversation. Add some qualitative components such as web cam interviewing or mobile diaries to deepen your understanding of your Customer Truth. Explore how people are using your products or services. Where and how they fit into their lives. What emotions are associated with your brand, product, or services?
Step 3: Track your KPIs
The customer satisfaction rating data you will gather from your survey will serve as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you’ll monitor on an on-going basis. Once your KPI dataset is robust enough, you can use it to understand the strongest drivers of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. This information can then help you prioritize changes needed to improve the customer experience.
Note: At this stage, it is crucial to set up a system for consistent reporting and easy sharing of the results.
Step 4: Closing the Loop
Now that you have given your customers a chance to provide feedback, how do you act upon it? Often this involves closing the feedback loop. This is especially significant when a customer complaint needs resolution.
A standard method is to send an email response when a dissatisfied customer comes through the survey. However, there may be other channels more suitable for your business. These can also be mixed and matched as appropriate to the feedback.
Step 5: Iterate
Finally, as patterns begin to emerge from your data, you will learn which tweaks, modifications, or large-scale changes may be necessary to serve your customers best.
As changes to your products or services are implemented, and innovations or new messaging comes into being, you need to continually revisit your on-going assumptions, questions posed, and KPIs set to confirm they are still relevant.
Do not be afraid to adjust if necessary. Yes, it may impact comparability to historical data, but ensuring you are asking the right questions, at the right time should be the priority. It is an iterative process – the only constant being the desire to hear your customers’ voice.