Most writings on voice of customer define it as something like this: An application or procedure that focuses on questions about customers by gathering and reporting results and feedback from them. Furthermore, these are sometimes then compared with other competitors.
The problem with most companies’ VOC system is that the definition stops there. In reality, there’s another whole step that is being cut out. That step revolves around actually taking that research, the observations, and converting them into tangible action. Being able to use your results and make predictive models about the future is the first part of this step, and then taking action to change anything you don’t like about what those predictive models tell you is the next part. Finally, you need to monitor how well any implemented changes achieve your goals and actively revise them as necessary. Let’s look at these ideas a little more in depth.
Think about what ways you’re currently collecting data about customer experience. Are you using surveys? Are you sending them by mail? Email? Phone? How about focus groups? Now ask yourself if you’re getting sufficient information back from these channels to get a clear pictures of where you stand with customers. Identify your strengths and also identify weaknesses. If these are not readily apparent, you may need to change your data collections methods, adjusts the questions you’re asking, or, as is often the case, organize your results in a format that is easier to pull trends out of. For example, many companies get a much clearer picture for how things are going when they map out survey results over time to see changes over months and years.
Straight to the Source
In addition to the aforementioned classic ways of collecting data, try factoring a few, person to person observations in. For example, visit sites in the customer’s shoes and go through their thought process; what works for you? What’s confusing/doesn’t work? Next talk to the customer directly. Let them do most of the talking, but also bring up any observations you had yourself and see if they agree or disagree. This can be a great tool for gauging how good you are at getting inside the mind of your product users.
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Make a Move and make them FAST.
Once you’ve narrowed in on what is going on with your customers, start taking corrective action immediately. Don’t delay at all because sitting on this information is wasting time that your customers could be having a better experience.
Imagine this scenario: You’re surveyed about a business that you had a negative experience with. Not so negative that you’d never deal with them again, but not exactly smooth either. You tell them what went wrong in their survey and then go on your merry way. Now let’s say a week later you’re working with that company again and you find out that the hangup that frustrated you before has already been eliminated. You’d feel pretty good, right?
When involved in any kind of business, you have to give before you receive. More specifically, you have to provide value, you need to over-deliver, before you get customers to take out their wallet. In order to keep that money coming, you need to continue to over-deliver by constantly improving your process. Not only will your customers be happier for it, but the health of your business will be improved over time as well.