How to Start a Voice of Customer Program?

We are all about the notion in believing the customer is king and what not! It’s true, isn’t it? As a brand, although we start the engine, the customer is in the driving seat- steering us all the way. He/she will decide where we are headed and it’s up to us to ensure that our engines are oiled and ready for the joy ride ahead. If you get this notion right, you’re good to go! If you don’t, prepare yourself for some heavy repairs that consume lots of time and energy – that could have been saved if you only understood what was wrong. Listen up. The Voice of the Customer is what’s going to save your brand and your peace of mind (phew!). To make your life easier, let me take you through a couple of essential steps to start your Voice of Customer Program.

Listen Up!

Everyone loves to give their two cents on everything. It’s a part of being human. Listening, however, is something that should be practiced over time. It’s an acquired skill. Especially true, when it comes to nurturing a good relationship with a significant other. Believe me, when I say, most people never listen and don’t even realize the value of it. In this context, however, listening to your customers adds onto your learning curve to steer your brand in the right direction. Yes, improving their experience is supposed to be on top of the list for most organizations. But, the starting point of improving their experience begins as soon as you take the time to listen to them. Listening will enlighten you on how you can get a lifetime commitment from your customers. It’s just around the corner. So, it’s high time for you to listen. Listen to them and show them that you are genuinely concerned. The genuine concern goes a long way during this progressive time and age.

Hey! Yes, You Right There! Merely Listening Isn’t Enough.

You heard that right. It’s not just about listening to your customers. It’s about what you’re doing about what they say to you. If you get this right, you’ve got yourself a silver lining. This could mean opportunities that translate into hard dollar benefits. So, my advice to you: capture what your customers are saying, while you can. Because, they will constantly have opinions about your brand, products or services etc. If you maintain that component of customer engagement and capture it, you are taking the time to understand what they’re saying about you – the good, the bad and the ugly. And, they are bound to share these opinions with their family, friends, colleagues and sometimes, a multitude of people in the social networks they visit. As much as they want to be heard, they also expect you to get back to them ASAP! If you don’t respond in a timely manner – this is something customers will broadcast too. A big red flag right there. Listening to the voice of your customer and acting on it leads to a wealth of business and customer experience improvements.

You Better Make Hay While the Sun Shines

Most brands focus on investing in the wrong customer experience measurement and satisfaction mechanisms in the hope that the insights derived lead to product/service improvements and positive customer experiences. However, they make the mistake of merely handing over customer feedback to managers with directives to just use these results to act on the required improvements. Most often, no action is taken and required improvements in customer experience don’t really materialize.

The Voice of Customer provides you a view of customers’ behaviors, needs, what they truly believe in and what they really want out of their shared experience with you. By examining information gathered from VOC individually and holistically, and taking necessary measures – be it solving a customer’s issue or revamping a product/service based on ideas that are aggregated via a social network will help improvise your brand image. VOC translates into so much more than improvements in products, services or processes. It increases engagement and lowers the cost of serving customers. In addition, VOC can become a leeway to your sales, marketing, operations or complement your R&D department. If you let your customers take on the role of the devil’s advocate, they guide you with product/service development and translate into promoters for your product. Having a comprehensive VOC program helps your responsiveness. The insights generated help re-invent your customer experience, strengthen loyalty and improve profitability remarkably. But, this can only happen if you are willing to act on VOC information and make hay while the sun shines.

Kick-starting your own Voice of the Customer Program is not rocket science. It is indeed the breakfast of champions and so much more than sending an occasional survey to customers. It takes the time to recognize the importance of your customers and shows your commitment to include their perspectives in the company’s decision-making process. Understanding the importance of the essential steps (as mentioned above) can be your starting point to choosing the right VOC program for your brand. So, take a step back and ask yourself, “Are you prepping yourself to get your engine up and running, so that you’d be ready to roll, and follow your goals?”