Your guide to Voice of the Customer tools
The Voice of the Customer (VoC) is an important part of successfully managing and developing the customer experience. By understanding the customers’ perspective on the brand, the product or service and their overall satisfaction, the organisation has the chance to make changes that can positively impact performance.
Voice of the customer survey: The next generation
Since its inception, Voice of the Customer has effectively referred to customer feedback primarily via surveys. Industries are now reaching a point of survey saturation as customers are invited to respond to a high number of surveys related to the various products and services that they purchase.
Inviting customers to provide feedback on products or services is an extremely effective method of understanding their thoughts and feelings about the organisation, and of course for gauging the essential NPS score. The challenge now, however, is to understand how to improve surveying techniques to achieve ever more useful VoC insights. There are a few techniques that can make a big difference to surveying methods and their results.
Surveys for the whole organisation
When surveys are coordinated across multiple business units, the insights they deliver should be used to cross-pollinate between different divisions. Through workshops and internal planning, business units can together determine survey design that will service the whole organisation rather than just parts of it. By taking a bigger-picture view of the survey design there is also the chance to gain a greater, more complex range of customer feedback.
Surveys as a communication tool
Surveys should be designed as a two-way dialogue: an opportunity to reinforce the brand message as well as invite feedback. The choice of words and phrasing, combined with the chosen styling and graphics will communicate a certain message to the user, a message which could be different depending on the time and nature of the survey.
Typically, surveys are executed post-purchase. This is an optimal time to gather feedback but surveys should not be restricted to just this stage. Well designed and executed surveys can also be scheduled pre-purchase or for service-based businesses within the period that the customer is experiencing the service. An additional option is to schedule a survey that potentially pre-empts a problem, for example, at a stage that other customers have highlighted as a negative part of the customer journey. This proactive move by an organisation is a strong CX bonus and can obtain very specific VoC insights.
Survey design is a universe of options and opportunities. Organisations have the option to select length, type of questions and the phrasing of the questions. The way these different variables are combined can dramatically change the feedback that is gathered and the insights that can be calculated.
Making data work for your organisation
Smart data; not big data
More data is not always the answer to achieving meaningful customer insights. Existing data sets when used well or combined with other existing data can provide insights and answers that are plentiful enough. And gathering the right data rather than all the data means a more efficient data strategy and a better experience for your customers.
Supporting your data
Driving information in to the organisation is the beginning. Being able to analyse and draw answers from that data is critical. The data that an organisation gathers through its VoC exercises should be matched by the internal expertise that are available to crunch that data. By ensuring that there is resource – technical and personnel – to manage the data, the insight gathering process and the impact upon CX is much more effective.
Voice of the Customer Technology
Voice and conversation analytics
Software for voice or conversation analytics provides an incredible opportunity to really sample the Voice of the Customer. The value that voice or conversation analytics adds is the evaluation of the customers’ emotions. This layer can be added to the given responses to provide more complete and significant insights. Emotion has always been a difficult variable for organisations to measure, now that is becoming ever easier, and holds a great potential for the CX role.
Just as with conversation and voice analytics, text analytics can evaluate the customers’ choice of language used throughout responses, searching for keywords or phrases associated with specific outcomes. This software can be applied in the survey environment, and any other written feedback environments including social media and contact forms providing a deeply holistic picture of the customers’ experience.
AI + NLP = PLAIN & simple
These new softwares largely employ Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP), two algorithm based technologies that consistently learn, improve and respond to changes in the material they are given. AI and NLP are both extremely powerful, able to analyse huge piles of data and deliver precise insights about the customers. It is also possible for AI and NLP engines to correctly predict a customers’ NPS. Which means that it’s now possible to generate the NPS without even asking for it. That’s an unbelievably close proximity to the voice of the customer.
What other voices are important to hear?
Every technique that is applied to understanding and analysing the Voice of the Customer can also be applied to an organisation’s employees. The Voice of Employees can also provide unique insights and action points, especially when cross referenced with the data from the Voice of the Customer.
Voice of the Customer programs that spark change
Responding- Closing the loop
Responses or reactions that are timely and precise mean a lot to customers. When they can see that their feedback has been a driver for change and improvement to a given product or service it enhances their feeling of partnership with an organisation, their satisfaction with product or service and their loyalty to the brand.
Gathering feedback, analysing the data and drawing insights and action points are important. There is a final step that represents the real ‘turn of the screw’ and that’s to ensure the correct business units receive the intel and understand how to act upon it. If insights remain within the CX team then they are not being fully optimised. A fully closed feedback loop needs to exist in order to make meaningful changes for the customer.
Process excellence and continuous improvement strategies, powered by Voice of the Customer insights, can make a huge difference to CX. Continuous improvement teams are always looking for the next wrinkle or kink that they can work on. Focusing their skills on the feedback from customers can only lead to a leap in the customers’ experience.
As with all relationships; communication is of highest value when it is a two-way dialogue and when both parties commit to listening. VoC surveying provides that opportunity to brands and organisations, to connect with the customer and to give them the chance to ‘have their say’. By combining improved survey techniques with new VoC strategies and technologies it is now more possible than ever to really understand the customers’ point of view, make critical changes and communicate results providing an extremely high value CX.