Voice of the customer (VOC) is a valuable process for gathering customer insights, learning through their own words about their wants and needs. A Voice of Customer solution is a way of completing this process with greater accuracy, efficiency, and overall quality.
At least, that is the case if you select the right solution for your VoC requirements.
The right solution is important for any business. When you can gather accurate, in-depth insights from customers, this supplies you with information that can assist with improving your products, services, and brand in general. Data that is not accurate, on the other hand, can send you down the wrong path, a path that will lead to poor decisions and costly mistakes.
When on the hunt for the best VoC solution, there are numerous factors to consider. These factors include your business needs, key features, customer support, and cost. The following guide will go through all of these – and more – to help you make the right decision with your VoC solution.
Understanding your business needs.
Before you even start scouring the internet for potential Voice of Customer solutions, there is one aspect you have to do: fully understand your business needs.
Without knowing your business goals, you fail to realize what steps to take in order to be successful. Of course, goals vary on a case-by-case basis, and it can depend on where they are at in their stage of development.
For instance, a newly launched company could have the goal of growing its customer base and reaching a stage of financial stability. A long-standing industry leader, however, may have the goal of maintaining their competitive edge in their market.
Once you have lined up your business goals, you are in a better position to decide on which VoC solution to use.
If you have yet to search for a VoC solution, it is easy to think they all take the same sort of form. While there are comprehensive tools available, it is often best to opt for tools that specialize in a specific VoC-related field.
As an example, SurveyMonkey is valuable for crafting customer surveys and collecting in-depth response data, or you can use GapScout to effectively pluck out all useful customer comments and data from reviews.
Related: The Best Voice of Customer Tools
Features to look for in your preferred voice of customer solution.
You know the importance of factoring in your goals when selecting a Voice of Customer solution. The next step is analyzing features. There are certain key features you should search for with any tool you are considering. These features help to collect better, more valuable data for your VoC needs.
Here is a quick list of the features to look out for with a VoC solution:
Real-time Feedback Collection
Imagine you are going through customer reviews left for your business. One year ago, you had an overall review score of 2/5. Now you have a 4/5 score. That shows a marked improvement in terms of public perception.
Now imagine you conduct a VoC analysis of these reviews to get feedback. Does it make sense to include reviews from over a year ago? No. The latest reviews are more of an accurate representation of your company.
Real-time feedback collection takes this approach and pushes it to the extreme. By gaining the most recent feedback from customers, you can learn exactly how they feel right now about your products, services, brand, etc. This is much more accurate than looking at comments from months or years ago.
Text data tells you a lot about your customers. However, it can struggle to capture the feelings and emotions of your audience. Sentiment analysis helps to fill that gap. There is no second-guessing – with sentiment analysis, you are able to gain data-driven insights about current customer emotions.
You understand the importance of text feedback from your customers.
The problem is if you have a large collection of data from sources such as social media, reviews, surveys, and emails. Attempting to go through all of this text for actionable insights is difficult. A text analysis feature ensures the process is done efficiently and effectively, with no valuable insights left behind.
Alerts can be valuable for reacting to any sudden information collected by your VoC solution.
Say that numerous negative comments are directed your way after an ill-thought-out social media post. An alert can tell you about this shift in public perception, giving you enough time to react and minimize the possible damage caused to your reputation.
If you are presented with a wall of stats and data, it can be difficult to comprehend all the information you are given. With data visualization, this makes it much easier to understand and take in all the data. This is particularly valuable when looking at website stats as part of your VoC efforts.
By using features like those listed above, your business is able to benefit in various ways. In general, however, it assists with ensuring your data is more accurate, more valuable, and easier to use to achieve your business goals.
Data privacy and security.
Keeping data secure has never been more important. Attacks are not just becoming more prevalent but also more sophisticated. This is why you have to take every precaution that your defenses are in tip-top shape. Yet it is not just on you – work also has to be done by those that provide the third-party software and tools you use.
That takes us to your Voice of Customer solution. When you are choosing a VoC solution, data privacy and security need to be at the top of the list of considerations. No matter how good a solution is, you cannot compromise your business data.
That said, when using a VoC solution, there is still work to be done on your part. Here is a quick list of the best practices to ensure your customer data remains protected:
Stick to data that is vital for achieving your business goals: The less data you collect, the less value it has to a hacker. For instance, the data becomes more valuable if you start adding names, contact information, location, etc. Aside from data protection, other positives include improved consumer confidence and a greater focus on your data collection needs.
Keep data access limited: Only certain people require access to the customer data you collect. As a result, ensure access to data is limited to just those that need to use it. You do not need to give it out to everyone in your company.
Password management tools: The use of complex passwords can help stop hackers in their tracks. With a password management tool, employees are able to produce and safely store complicated passwords. A VoC solution that utilizes two-factor authentication is also worth considering.
Avoid data silos: Data silos lead to pieces of data being split up and stored in different areas. This can result in unsecured, non-approved applications being the place where data is stored. A data management strategy can help minimize data silos. The right VoC solution can also provide storage for the data you have collected.
When your VoC solution offers a strong foundation for data privacy and security, it makes it easier to keep customer data safe. However, that does not mean no effort is required from your side.
Customer support and training.
Some solutions are easy to use and require minimal assistance. Some are complex, with a plethora of features and options. Either way, it is vital the Voice of Customer solution you select is backed by strong customer support and training.
It may not seem that big of a deal if the tool is straightforward to utilize. However, you never know when you might require assistance. If the support and training are lackluster, it could lead to you waiting an extended period of time before resolving an issue. The result: business operations are slowed down, costing you time and money in the process.
Customer support can come in different forms. Options include:
Email support: The most basic option that virtually all VoC solutions will offer is email support. Also found in the form of a “support ticket”, emails are an effective method for sending a text-based message to customer service agents. The problem is that email responses are far from rapid. Some may take a few minutes, while others can take 24 hours or longer.
Live chat support: The solution to the slow pace of email is found with live chat support. Live chat is an instant message service where you gain fast, direct support after sending a message. You typically do not wait longer than a few seconds before receiving assistance, although you might not necessarily chat with a human service agent.
Social media support: There is a growing trend where customers use their social media accounts to contact businesses. Although it is typically not the most efficient way of going about things, it is an effective way of getting the response you require – particularly if you voice your concerns publicly.
Telephone support: It is a traditional form of customer service, yes, but it is still an effective one. By talking to a call agent, you are able to have a natural conversation and resolve any issues effectively.
Self-service support: This is usually found as a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section on the website for your VoC solution. With an FAQ, a lot of standard problems customers face can be answered. This allows you to resolve certain issues before needing to get in touch with customer support.
The aforementioned self-service support can act as a form of training. However, some VoC solutions will supply guides and video tutorials. The more training that is available, the less you will require customer support.
Cost and return on investment for a voice of customer solution (ROI).
Cost will always be a factor when selecting a VoC solution. You can find solutions that cover the entire pricing spectrum. Some will set you back four figures a month, some will cost less than your gym membership, and some will come free of charge.
While the price is important, it is essential you consider it in the context of your return on investment. It might not be worth spending the time and resources on a free VoC solution, for example, if you are getting little in return. Due to this, it is essential you attempt to calculate the ROI and see if it is worth spending the money on your chosen VoC solution.
When working this out, you have to factor in various points when assessing the cost of a VoC solution. Some of these will include elements listed above, such as features, security, and customer support. You also have to think about the type of information you will extract and how this ultimately supports your business goals.
Say you are utilizing a VoC solution that gathers feedback left on social media. Now, imagine your goal is to enhance your marketing efforts, but you have discovered a problem. Most posts on social media about your business are not marketing-related. Instead, they revolve around the products you sell. As a result, you are gaining little information to build on your marketing strategy, and this leads to a poor ROI.
Summarizing the importance of finding the right voice of customer solution.
A Voice of Customer solution is a valuable asset for any company. By listening to your customers and learning from them, you gain the necessary information to enhance your business across the board.
Before you select a VoC solution, and as seen above, there are numerous factors to consider when choosing the best tool for your business. You have to think about the features that will best support your goals, keeping customer data secure, cost and ROI, and a clear vision of your business needs. If you overlook any of these points, you could end up making a costly mistake.
Do you want to improve your products and enhance the customer experience?
The right VoC solution allows you to develop and refine your offerings, helping to drive growth, bring in more customers and sales, and make your business more successful.
You may also like:
Ready to Automate Your Market Research?
Get exclusive access to GapScout prior to release!