Companies that excel at delivering great customer experiences drive revenues 4% to 8% higher than that of their market, according to Bain & Company. No wonder big brands like Amazon, American Express, Indigo, and others are always talking about customer experience.
The power today lies with customers who can choose from hundreds of brands with just a few clicks on their phones. What’s needed is to understand what it is that you can do to get your customers’ attention, and eventually, loyalty.
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In this article, we will talk about why businesses need to understand the voice of customers and create remarkable experiences through VoC (Voice of Customer) programs. Read on.
Voice of Customer Definition
Coined by Abbie Griffin and John R. Hauser, the term Voice of Customer is used to refer to a market research technique to understand customers’ perceptions, preferences, and needs.
Let’s understand Voice of Customer in a little more detail.
What is the Voice of Customer?
Successful brands tend to gather insights directly from customers to understand their expectations from a brand or even a certain market. This helps businesses devise strategies and make decisions that are based on data instead of assumptions.
Voice of Customer isn’t just a buzzword; VoC strategies have proven to be an asset in customer-centric organizations. A VoC program is specifically designed to identify the pulse of the target audience, and therefore, is a major contributor in building customer loyalty and gaining a competitive edge amidst the ever-evolving market trends.
Let’s understand why VoC has become so popular and hence, a critical tool in a high-growth and high-competition business environment.
Benefits of Understanding Voice of Customer
1. Reliable Market Data
Understanding the voice of customers is the first step to making a sound business decision. Based on the buying patterns of your target audience and their perception of an old or similar product or service, the management in your organization may have a positive feeling about a new launch. Understanding VoC is a way to quantify that feeling.
Instead of making business decisions on market predictions, VoC allows leveraging qualified data that increases the odds of making just the right decisions.
2. Optimization of Time, Resources, and Money
Each year, over 30,000 products are launched, and more than 80% of them fail, says Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen. There is hardly a market that isn’t competitive. While the popularity of some products continues to grow, some never see the light of day. And some make it to the history of biggest flops. Let’s take the ‘marketing blunder of the century,’ for example.
In 1985, Coca-Cola launched “new Coke”, replacing Coca-Cola classic, which was immediately followed by a global backlash, leaving the brand no option but to bring back the classic taste. Though the stakeholders never shared the details of the loss, it is said that Coca-Cola blew over $4 million used in the development and over $30 million after deciding to pull New Coke from the shelves. This is one of the biggest examples which proves that Voice of Customer can make or break your brand.
3. The Ability to Meet Customer Demands
VoC programs allow engaging with customers at every touchpoint throughout the customer journey, which can be a game-changer for businesses positioning themselves as customer-centric brands. And when we say customer engagement, we do not only talk about understanding customer perspectives before making decisions; customer engagement using VoC programs also allows capturing unique experiences that define how accurate your decision was. This, in turn, makes way for improvisation and adaptations to deliver value and create an indelible influence in the market.
4. Faster Resolution of Customer Complaints
Whenever you, as a business, make a wrong move, you fail to meet customers’ expectations. And it doesn’t take long before they move on to your competitors. In fact, nearly 74% of consumers would switch providers after a poor customer service experience.
This is the reason excellent customer service plays an important role in the success of a business. Customer service representatives can collect customer feedback to understand the expectations of their customers and close the feedback loop faster. This means that if you’re actively listening to your customers and fixing problems before they get bigger and reach a wider set of customers, you can prevent losing out on significant business.
5. Improved Brand Reputation
If there’s one thing today that brands cannot afford, it is a negative brand reputation. Customers in this day and age are quick to look for reviews online before making a purchase. And with social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, sharing a negative review instantly with hundreds and thousands of your potential customers has become even easier. Therefore, it is important to deliver nothing but the best so as not to steer your customers away. And this can be done by using VoC programs.
VoC programs allow giving customers a platform to voice their opinions and complaints before they become global reviews. This buys businesses time to resolve the issue at hand and prevent it from repeating. In addition to this, it gives product or service end-users a sense of being valued, which is critical in building customer loyalty and improving customer retention by leaps and bounds.
6. Competitive Edge
In a world where there is a product or service for every demand, standing out to become the top choice can be a challenging job. While you and your competitors may have a similar offering, delivering flawless customer experiences can make your business a preferred choice. Research says that 86% of buyers don’t mind paying more in return for great customer service. This makes it very clear that listening to what your customers have to say and acting immediately would take your brand to new heights irrespective of a competitive industry.
To stay competitive, businesses need to offer solutions, fix problems, and keep innovating to become better than they are. But brands innovating without the knowledge of demand certainty are like a deer in the headlight. That’s why it is important to have a VoC program in place to be able to identify the pulse of your target audience. After all, better is the opinion of the person buying the mousetrap, not the person building it, as author Josh Weltman said.
Using VoC programs for innovation in businesses allows making changes before it’s too late, measuring the likelihood of customers adapting to a new concept, and figuring out its positioning amidst competitive offerings. All of this together increases the chances of making an innovation a success.
8. Improved Marketing Efforts
If you are creating marketing strategies for your business without knowing your customers, the chances are that they won’t work. By listening to the voice of customers, you can constantly test the waters and find out the best way to launch a marketing plan at the best time. Moreover, knowing what gets your target audiences’ attention is a huge advantage when it comes to advertising your product. If used strategically, VoC programs help in customizing and scaling marketing plans in a way that they render the most conversion.
Understanding the voice of customers can be challenging since you may require working with new ideas, revamping the existing ones, and sometimes even reworking a business plan. But once you get a hold of it, you can set your business up for success and ensure its survivability in the long run.
So, create a VoC program for your business today and prepare to emerge as one of the top players in your industry.