Voice of the Customer Tools to Transform Data into Customer Insights
- You cannot accurately predict what it takes to satisfy customers. But you can ask them what they want. That's why a Voice of the Customer program is a requirement to efficiently meet customer expectations.
- Research shows that failing to clearly and measurably understand what customers want from customer service is the top impediment to achieving successful customer service outcomes.
- Only when customer service implements programs and processes that directly align with known customer objectives can they deliver on-target service at the least cost.
- Also, knowing exactly what customers want avoids investing in things that don't matter.
Most company executives and customer service leaders think they know what their customers want. Most of the time they are partially right.
Unfortunately, being partly right is a recipe for inconsistent results and puts a major drag on growing customer satisfaction and the financial benefits it brings.
The most direct route to predictable customer and company goals is to start by listening to your customers. Voice of the Customer tools capture, categorize and prioritize customer goals, expectations, preferences and dislikes. This data becomes some of your most valuable customer intelligence. When integrated with the CRM software 360-degree customer view these customer insights can be forwarded to any customer interaction for an improved customer experience.
Voice of the Customer (VOC) programs seek to answer two initial questions.
- What makes a customer satisfied? Or for the bold, what does it take to delight a customer?
- What makes a customer dissatisfied? These are the friction points in need of improvement.
Customer satisfaction is a vague term so it's important to pose questions with parameters so that a clear and measurable definition can be achieved. We know from experience it's a good idea to categorize responses as answers from customers will fall into the three primary groups of company, product or service, and customer service or support.
Depending on your industry or business other categories may surface. It's also a good idea to structure customer goals into a hierarchical framework so you can see how solving one customer need will contribute to others.
And one more thing, customers are not homogenous, so you need to segment them and their feedback. Customer segmentation will reveal more specific insights that can be used to deliver more efficient, prescriptive and effective customer services.
Only with VOC can you discover what is most important to your customers and design the methods to deliver differentiated experiences that achieve predictable results.
Voice of the Customer Tools
A VOC program must transform customer data into customer intelligence to be applied at customer interactions for predicted results. How the VOC data is sourced varies by industry.
Business to Business purchase decisions are medium or high consideration purchases. They incur a conscience decision-making process, occur over a lengthy period, involve multiple people or buying committees and result in a high value expenditure. B2B VOC and customer insights are primarily obtained from market research, interviews and surveys.
Business to Consumer buying decisions are low consideration purchases. They are fast, frequent, impulse purchases made with a minimum conscience decision-making process. Consumers typically cannot tell you why they made a purchase because much or all the decision was made from emotional or unconscious behavior.
Consumers typically discover, rather than know, what new products they want. B2C VOC and customer insights are not created from market research. Instead, companies use a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods that include personas, journey mapping, empathy interviews, ethnographic research (including focus groups), design thinking workshops and surveys.
For those with a higher VOC maturity, there are more advanced methods such as using artificial intelligence (AI) to acquire, analyze, classify and tabulate customer feedback. AI-based text analytics with Natural Language Processing (NLP) can scour social media, online review sites and other public websites. They then group emotional and other types of meaningful keywords and quickly decipher customer feedback. They often categorize feedback for the company or a product as positive, neutral or negative.
These tools can also measure sentiment analysis and extract insights such as what customers like, dislike or want. They can classify insights into categories such as price/value, product quality, fulfillment/delivery and customer support.
VoC Data to Customer Insights Transformation
Regardless of method or tool it's essential to integrate the customer data to the lead, account, contact or case records in the CRM system. Then the data can contribute to the customer 360-degree view, update customer segments and build upon the customer intelligence to better personalize customer communication, offers and other interactions.
Feedback is a gift. Knowing what customers like or don't like about your company or products is an invaluable source information for innovation, acquisition programs, growth campaigns and customer support services.