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Strategy

The Era of the Silent Customers Is Over

Customers aren’t putting up with unresponsive businesses anymore. They’re taking their money elsewhere. If you want to identify worrisome trends in your business beforehand, make sure you create Voice of Customer (VoC) programs

Adebisi Adewusi
December 06 2017

Customers aren’t putting up with unresponsive businesses anymore. They’re taking their money elsewhere.

Statistics state that 96% of unhappy customers don’t complain, and 91% of those will simply leave and never come back.

Similarly, a dissatisfied customer will tell 8-16 people about their experience and over 20% will tell more than 20 people.

In recognition of the above, businesses are dedicating resources to collecting and responding to customer feedback, and enhancing the overall customer experience.

While there are many ways to collect customer feedback, businesses are allotting their resources to Voice of the Customer programs to find out what customers need and expect from them.

What is a VoC Program?

A Voice of the Customer (VoC) program is a process or program that collects and analyzes customer feedback, informs customer experience improvements, and tracks the results of those improvements.

If you’re wondering if your business should bother with voice of customer programs, check out these 5 benefits:

#1 Service Improvement

Quality service delivery leads to customer satisfaction, and customer satisfaction leads to brand loyalty.

Before you can provide top notch service to customers, however, you have to listen, gather feedback, and respond appropriately to your market. Getting feedback from customers with a VoC program will help you collect real time insights about which part(s) of your services customers don’t love, as well as provide you with insights on how to improve customer satisfaction.

For example, through its VoC program, German multinational sportswear manufacturer PUMA, found out what customers thought about the company’s website. The VoC program revealed that the wants and needs of PUMA customers were different from what marketing had previously prioritized.

Customers expected strong localization (content translations), and preferred English language content over automated machine translations. These insights could not have been gained using analytics and spreadsheets alone.

By using feedback insights to better understand customer motivations, challenges and needs, PUMA improved both their customer experience and their web performance.

#2 Brand Management

Customers make purchase decisions based on brand image, not on the product itself. And how you engage customers determines to a large extent how they view your brand. While brand management is important, keeping tabs on what customers are saying about your company across different channels can be overwhelming.

However, with a VoC program life will be easier for you.

With a VoC program, you’ll be able to monitor customer engagement across multiple channels and respond to complaints on time. For instance, post-interaction surveys provide insights into emerging issues before they spread to other customers, shared on social media or word-of-mouth—and they can also help identify your at-risk customers. Additionally, VoC offers insight into the potential need for changes within your organization, updates to existing services, or ways to improve agent interactions.

Jet Blue is one organization that understands the value of listening and acting on the voice of customers. The customer-centric organization uses VoC to help frontline employees better serve travelers. No wonder the company remains a top performing brand in the aviation industry with a Net Promoter Score of 59.

#3 Product Development and Innovation Management

Some businesses don’t succeed because they refuse to pay attention to how customers evaluate products and make purchase decisions.

Developing products with a clear understanding of what your customers want and are willing to pay for determines to a large extent if you’ll fail or succeed in delivering on customer expectations.

That’s why a VoC program is a must have if you want to learn what your customers love, hate or in the case of Gillette, what they need.

Gillette launched the very first product for assisted shaving (Gillette Treo) based on feedback gathered from social media and Tesla improved the company’s app based in part on CEO Elon Musk reading and understanding a customer’s complaints on Twitter.

On the other hand, companies who pay little attention to customer complaints or their needs have often lost prominence or customers.

In 2011, Netflix ignored what their customers wanted and split its DVD and streaming businesses, effectively increasing the price of both by 40%. The result was that 800,000 subscribers cancelled their service and Netflix was rated as one of the 10 most hated companies in the US.

Similarly, Blackberry’s current 0.0%  share of the smart phone can be traced to the company’s slow response to customer demands for a phone with a better operating system.

Moral of the stories:  Listen to your customers. With a VoC program you can listen better, build products customers will buy and ensure customer loyalty. 

#4 Increased Sales

A study by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that 80% of U.S. consumers would pay more for a product or service to ensure a superior customer experience. Happy customers= increased profits and Watermark Consulting confirms this.

The customer consulting experience firm states that businesses with satisfied customers have better performing stocks over a six-year period than those with less satisfied customers. Also, companies with superior customer experience have a growth rate of 17% versus 3% for customer experience laggards.

From market research to mobile surveys, a VoC program provides the right information: advice and opinions directly from customers about what matters to them. These insights when acted upon will improve customer experience, strengthen customer loyalty and ultimately lead to an increase in sales.

Research from Aberdeen Group projects a 2% increase in annual customer care costs for business that don’t have a robust Voice of the Customer Initiative in place. Whereas those that do are expected to increase annual revenue by 10. 9%.

Invest in a VoC program to give your sales team access to data that will help them proactively detect trends in business outcomes and make decisions that will increase sales.

#5 Actionable Intelligence

Getting the right data is central to the success of any business. Data is key to keeping your business ahead of the competition, making customers happy and ensuring operational effectiveness.

With a structured VoC program you’ll be able to gather feedback from customers via social media, email, surveys and track Net Promoter Score (NPS) trends. The large amount of data VoC programs provide holds a lot of information that’ll help you identify customer pain points and fix internal processes.

High-speed railway service Eurostar used its VoC program to find out what was important to its customers by asking segmented customers to choose the 3 factors most important to them when considering booking with Eurostar.

By targeting customers based on how they used Eurostar and their reasons for traveling, Eurostar was able to get specific, valuable and relevant feedback. By implementing a VoC Program, Eurostar saved time and money by eliminating the guesswork and going straight to the source.

Similarly, by combining several sources of data including VoC, CXC award winner Direct TV changed it field services organization and realized $34 million in net savings annually.

Data gathered from a VoC program provides actionable insights that drive profitable growth and make you a pacesetter in your industry.

Bottom line

The era of silent customers is gone forever. If you want to survive in today’s competitive business environment you need to understand and respond to your customers’ needs, wants and concerns.

With a VoC program you can not only actively collect, manage, analyze and act on customer feedback, but also identify unmet needs and create products your customers want.

Implement a VoC program today. You’ll be glad you did.

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Adebisi Adewusi

Adebisi Adewusi is a freelance B2B writer and a Huffington Post Contributor. When she’s not creating compelling content for businesses, you’ll find her capturing moments with her Nikon d600.

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