How do your customers feel about your business? Are they satisfied with the digital experience you provide? Which hurdles are they running into? What is their general sentiment with regards to your product offering? These are the questions businesses ask themselves on a daily basis. Unfortunately, making assumptions isn’t going to bring an organisation success when it comes to providing these customers with what they need. That is why it’s important to listen to what is the called the online voice of the customer. But what is it? And why is it important? Find out below…
Updated: May 2022
What is the online voice of the customer?
Traditional Voice of the Customer studies consisted of focus groups and individual interviews, but times are changing. Nowadays because customers are buying more online than from a physical store, the Voice of the Customer is collected online. This VoC data provides insights into your digital channels such as websites, mobile apps and email campaigns, enabling you to continuously improve the online customer experience. Not to mention – thanks to listening to the online Voice of the Customer, your business is likely to achieve higher sales and increase customer loyalty.
In short, the voice of the customer is a research technique that maps out the detailed wishes and needs of your customers. It means listening to what your customers have to say about a product or service.
A well-rounded voice of the customer program should include three different stages of feedback: Collection, Analysis and Taking Action. While many companies only collect voice of customer data, there is so much more to the process if you want to really understand your customers and provide real value for them. In other words, you should have a voice of customer tool in place that not only collects VoC data via voice of the customer surveys, but also enables your team to analyse and act on the data you’ve collected. A great example of one such tool that will help you bring your VoC program full circle is Mopinion.
Why is the online Voice of the Customer important?
Imagine your company has a new website. After having worked on it for months, the website is finally online. You’ve most likely monitored and tested it out a few times, but you don’t necessarily use the website the same way your customers do. In fact, you most certainly experience the website differently from your customers and visitors, which means you don’t always know if the website fully meets their needs. It is therefore important to view the site from the perspective of the customer which is why collecting the online Voice of the Customer is so essential.
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Customer-driven companies collect online Voice of the Customer data to get a clear picture of their visitors. Entering into a dialogue with your visitors helps you to create a better user experience. It also helps bring in new customers because it’s easier for them to achieve their goal online and thanks to their customer insights, you can better set your company apart from your competitors. A win-win situation.
VoC data delivers different types of insights
In addition to identifying the needs and wishes of the customer, you can achieve even more using the online Voice of the Customer, including:
1. Strategic insights
These insights are used to determine or make changes to the company’s strategy. They also allow you to see if you’re overlooking a relevant segment. Take the telecom industry, for example. One customer uses his smartphone as his most important data source, while the other still has a Nokia that he uses just for calling and texting. As a provider, it’s important to have insights into both segments so that you can determine the value of the segments and assess which are still relevant.
2. Marketing and communications insights
Marketing and communication insights are used to start up a marketing and communication- targeted campaign, which is fully aligned with how the customer wants to be approached. These insights are also useful for things like tone of voice, brand values and the marketing strategy as a whole. For example, insights into online content performance.
3. Program-specific insights
These are insights into a specific part of the business. Using these insights, you can improve that part of your business. Take the “My Account” section of a website as an example. By collecting VoC data, you are aware that certain information cannot be found by that specific customer, or even group of customers.
4. Insights at product-level
Using these insights, you can modify a product or service. Product feedback insights are collected in various ways and oftentimes it is centered around a certain product goal such as a product launch, the product development pipeline, user onboarding, or even user testing (i.e. the introduction of new services, features and upgrades).
Knowledge is power
When you start working more actively with online Voice of the Customer, overtime you will have collected so much data that you risk losing your overview. Therefore it is important to determine beforehand why you collect online VoC data as well as discuss the success factors internally.
A common method is to report VoC based on the Net Promoter Score. This lets you measure the what extent the customer will recommend your product or service to family and friends. There are also some pitfalls to using this metric – read more about them in this article about measuring NPS on digital channels. There are of course many other customer feedback metrics to leverage when collecting VoC data, including Customer Effort Score, Goal Completion Rate, Customer Satisfaction and more.
Listening to your customers is the only way to create an optimal customer experience. Customers look at your business different than you yourself would. In other words, there is a “gap” in how you expect or want your customers to experience your company and how they actually experience it. The conclusion of this story: the online Voice of the Customer is not just something that you do on the side. It is a strategic choice that goes along with running a successful business.
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