There is no business without customers. Yet, it is all too easy to focus on customers as simply a transaction. Sure, you want them to buy your products and services, but they are much more valuable than just a sales column fixture. They can assist with your marketing efforts, teach you more about the competition, help you improve what you have to offer as a company, and so much more. At least, that is the case if you listen to your customers.
Customers are a goldmine of information. Their comments, opinions, and feedback can help you shape and define many different areas of your company. However, you first need to know how to collect their thoughts and feelings effectively. That is where “Voice of Customer” enters the equation.
What Is Voice of Customer?
Also known as Voice of the Customer, Voice of Customer (VoC) is a popular research strategy that collects customer feedback.
With the right VoC program in place, a business can understand how customers feel about products, services, and the brand in general. These insights are valuable in crafting a more robust, refined customer experience. After all, accurately capturing the customer’s perspective is vital in knowing why they form certain decisions.
With VoC, your company can visualize customer expectations, match these against their experiences, and see the gap between the two. Being able to close this gap as much as possible leads to greater overall success with customers.
Here is a quick rundown of the benefits of using VoC:
- Develop a deeper, more fruitful bond with customers
- Spot opportunities to optimize products and services
- Create more efficient processes for tasks
- Produce more impactful messaging with marketing materials
- Gain visibility across all departments and their performance levels
- Improved customer retention and revenue numbers
While helpful in various areas, VoC is particularly important for improving customer service. You want to ensure that the service your customers receive remains tip-top across the board, from providing the best possible product to answering a simple inquiry.
Types of Voice of Customer Services
You now know what VoC is, but what types of Voice of Customer services are available to gather the information you require from your customers? How can you delve into the minds of your audience to gain those all-important insights and thoughts?
Here are the main tactics you can utilize for VoC:
- Feedback forms
- Phone calls and email
- Social media
- Online reviews
When these tactics are used the right way, you can learn everything you need from your customers. With that in mind, the following sections cover each of these strategies in greater detail.
Online surveys are an excellent VoC method. There is no need to go scouring for information or wondering about certain points and problems – you can ask your customers directly. With just a few well-constructed questions and responses, it is possible to learn more about virtually any subject relating to your company’s customer service. However, there are three potential issues you need to consider: asking the right questions, getting responses, and collecting all the data.
Asking the right questions is obviously vital. Still, it is not uncommon for organizations to misstep at this stage. Some aspects to remember include keeping your questions unbiased, avoiding loaded questions, and ensuring each one is clear and concise. Also, throwing in a mixture of question types – think multiple choice and rating scale – helps not just with getting the answers you require but also keeping responders engaged throughout.
Speaking of responders, one of the biggest struggles with surveys is getting people to fill them out. There are various tips to consider. Stick to only a few questions; too many can prevent people from finishing a survey. Plus, you should make it clear why your business is conducting a survey. You could also entice participants with incentives – such as a small gift or discount code – to complete the survey.
As for collecting and analyzing the data, numerous tools are available to complete this task – more on that later!
While similar to the aforementioned survey, it is also wise to include dedicated feedback forms as part of your VoC strategy. In fact, this is something you should never skip over, particularly with how easily and seamlessly it can be incorporated into your website.
Most businesses will focus on having a feedback form after a customer has completed a purchase – and for good reason. They can gain valuable information about the checkout process, website functionality, and so much more. In addition, if a customer has gone to the extent of making a purchase, there is a greater chance they will also fill out a quick feedback form.
With that said, feedback forms can be placed in virtually any area of your site, and they can appear at any stage of the browsing experience. If you choose to add any feedback forms to your site, just ensure that the pop-up message asking customers to fill them in is unobtrusive.
An effective feedback form is short to the point it can be completed in a matter of seconds. It could include something as simple as a ‘Rate your experience’ question with a 1-10 score option field, and that is it. However, it is wise to include a comment field for further feedback from customers.
Phone calls and email
Yes, phone calls and email are traditional contact methods, but they are still valuable in today’s business world. This is also the case with VoC. That is right: they are not just a way to communicate between customers and employees. They can also be used to collect beneficial, direct information from your audience.
Phone calls can be used in one of two ways. Firstly, it is possible to call customers and conduct surveys over this medium. Secondly, you can wait for customers to get in touch with your business. The latter is more popular for obvious reasons, although there is no guarantee you will get responses. Furthermore, customers might contact you about topics that have little to no relevance with regard to improving your customer service standards.
Nevertheless, you can still gain a lot of helpful information by recording phone calls received by your customer service team. The same is applicable to email and, for a more contemporary option, live chat.
Another great VoC source is online reviews. If you have a healthy collection of reviews for your products or business, this can provide you with a lot of information directly from customers. Not only can reviews cover a wide range of subjects, but they also offer constructive criticism, which you can then use to refine or diversify your business offerings.
What if you do not have many reviews to use right now? There is no need to worry. Various tactics can help you attract customer reviews. These include making it easy for customers to leave reviews, offering exclusive discounts or rewards in exchange for their opinions, and prompting them to do so. The latter can include simply asking your customers to leave a review.
The more relevant, considered reviews you receive from your customers, the more data you can pluck from them, and the more you can learn about your business. Using this data, you can subsequently improve your brand, its products, and its services.
Related: 5 Benefits of Opinion Mining
There is no underestimating the value of social media with VoC. Think about how easy it is for people to post on Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Now consider how many messages are directed in the way of businesses. From customer complaints to responding to promotional posts, even small organizations often receive plenty of interaction from their target audience via social media.
Another positive social media has over other VoC service types is the ability to have two-way communications. You can communicate directly, in real-time, with your customers, which helps to extract further information from them.
Okay, it can be more challenging to turn social media communication into hard data like a survey or feedback form. Still, it is an excellent source for unfiltered feedback that comes from your customers.
Online Voice of Customer Service Tools
Now that you know about Voice of Customer, and you have a collection of VoC service types on your list, the next step is to maximize these service types and gather as much valuable customer data as possible. That is made possible with the right software tools.
The good news is that you do not have to search for different solutions. We have highlighted some essential tools you can use for VoC.
The best tool for surveys: SurveyMonkey
We are big fans of SurveyMonkey. Whenever we want to send out surveys to customers, this is the first tool we turn to – and there are various reasons why this is the case.
The first is due to how easy it is to create effective, well-designed surveys. You can include all types of questions you want to add to a survey – drop-down, open-ended, multiple-choice, etc. – with great simplicity.
Most importantly, however, is how SurveyMonkey can capture and analyze data. There is no need to go through each survey one by one to collect and compare answers. SurveyMonkey does all the hard work for you.
The best tool for call recording: Gong
It is true: there are many call recording software solutions available. However, we recommend using the highly regarded Gong.
Do not let the unusual name fool you. Gong is a feature-packed tool; it records sales calls, both via phone or web conferencing, which is a prominent characteristic. However, what makes Gong stand out is its AI technology.
With this AI technology, Gong offers comprehensive, in-depth analytics from your calls. It highlights the information worth highlighting, saving you significant time and effort. After all, there is no need to perform the laborious task of going through each call manually to find relevant data.
The best tool for online reviews: GapScout
Have you ever tried to perform online review analysis manually? If so, you will be aware this is a time-consuming and surprisingly difficult task.
Regarding the latter, it is not easy to spot all the trends found within these reviews, and a lot of untapped information can be left behind as a result. This is where GapScout can help.
Using specialist AI technology, GapScout can analyze reviews almost instantly. Simply supply it with a collection of reviews – either for your business or its competitors – and it will sift through them automatically. The result: it pulls out all of the relevant gold, polishes it up for you, and presents it in an easy-to-consume way.
This is particularly beneficial if you are trying to go through hundreds or thousands of reviews at a time. You might be able to analyze a handful of reviews with relative ease, but it is a different story as the number of reviews goes up – and that is where GapScout can fill the gap (pardon the pun).
The best tool for social media: Brandwatch
Again, plenty of tools are available for analyzing your social media accounts. These tools also include many different features that can help beyond VoC. Yet, when it comes to the latter, one tool we highly recommend is Brandwatch.
This popular tool has a tagline of “Understand + engage with your customers”. That should tell you why Brandwatch is excellent for VoC. It performs deep research into all the comments that your customers post. With real-time monitoring, it keeps you up-to-date with the latest messages, and its technology will analyze these comments on your behalf.
It is worth noting that GapScout can also help with analyzing social media content. So, if you are on a budget and searching for a software solution that performs multiple tasks, keep this in mind when selecting your VoC services tools.
Also Read: The 7 Best Brand Sentiment Tools
VoC is an extremely valuable research method for organizations. With the right strategies and tools, you can use this to learn not only more about your customer service, products, and brand overall, but also what steps to take to improve these aspects of your business.
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