Voice of the Customer

Benefits of Using a Voice of Customer Questionnaire

Voice Of Customer QuestionnaireA voice of customer questionnaire shows you're listening
It doesn't matter which brand or product we're talking about, we know it's safe to say that customers have an opinion about it. Somewhere, someone's had a run-in that's formed their opinion. Good or bad, you'll hear them in casual conversation or read about it on social media. Customers aren't shy. We've all heard, or we've been the one doing the raving over the latest feature or update from our favorite brand. Or we've warned friends not to waste their time or money on a product we've used that didn't work, or came with an unfortunate customer service story. A voice of customer questionnaire gets to the heart of what customers think and feel, allowing them to comment on important aspects of their experience. It allows you to get an overall feel for what's going right and what you can improve on, based on the feedback you receive.
Some reservations about using this method for customer feedback
Some common complaints about using a questionnaire, or similar methods to gather feedback, comb through, and then compile it mostly have to do with the amount of time it takes. It's looked at as a time drain, which actually depends on the efficiency of the system your business has in place. If you have a hard time on the organization end of things, it might be more difficult to keep up and stick to your process. The problem then isn't with the feedback you're gathering, but with sticking to your system - which is a whole other problem entirely! Organizational skills aside - it can feel overwhelming to manage what's being said about your product or brand. Unless you devote yourself 24/7 to seeing what's being said on social media, it's going to be difficult to watch every conversation taking place, record the feedback, and use it to make positive changes. Which is what feedback is all about. Hearing your customer so you can look at their experiences and determine what needs work so they can have an even better experience, and you can grow in the process. Using a questionnaire or other means to hear what customers are thinking after they've encountered your brand, for better or for worse, is crucial. In a lot of cases, there's a deep-rooted fear of hearing negative comments. The alternative is letting that negativity hang out online and be passed around by word of mouth, without addressing it or taking an interest in making changes that'll give your customers a better experience.
A brand that's afraid of hearing negative feedback is one that's going to have a hard time growing in a meaningful way.
Being proactive by asking for feedback is going to benefit your business in a number of ways. Whether you're asking for their opinion or not, customers are ready to give it to you. It's best for you to be involved in what they have to say, in order to have a good idea about the changes you can make as you move forward to make their experience that much better. Otherwise you're not keeping up with what your customers need and want. And that's not going to do your brand any favors.

Decoding What the Voice of the Customer Is Telling You

Voice Of The CustomerVoice of the customer questions are set up so you can get an overall feeling about how your brand is perceived, and whether consumers feel a connection, or use your service merely out of necessity. The key to unlocking what they have to say is understanding how it correlates to changes you can make, in order to better serve their needs.
What you ask: If consumers feel a sense of loyalty toward your brand
If you find that consumers aren't giving high marks for loyalty to your brand, there could be a variety of reasons for that. It means taking a look at your brand and understanding whether it's a case of you not sending a clear message about who you are as an organization, or the message your sending doesn't line up with what your customers are experiencing when they work with you. It's up to your team to follow up and dedicate some time to figuring out where the disconnect is and how it can be fixed. Otherwise, you're going to continue to lose support, and make the problem worse in the process.
What you ask: How satisfied are consumers with the value of your product or service
If consumers give you high rating on this one - congratulations! You're meeting their needs in a way that is likely to keep them coming back. If you're not scoring so high, there's been a breakdown somewhere between what you promise and how your product or service performs. Every time your brand fails to deliver what you promise, your credibility is taking a hit. There are bound to be glitches that come up with any product or service. Mistakes and mix ups happen. What's important is how often do they happen, and do you actively work to fix them so they don't happen again? If not, you've just found your problem.
What you ask: Our team is knowledgeable and friendly
Many brands out there would not get high marks for customer service. The reason? It's not prioritized, which leads to disastrous encounters with the people we should be treating with respect and kindness. If your customer service isn't at its best, the reality is that you need to put the work in to make it better. A lot of brands make empty promises about putting emphasis back on customer service, but without any follow through, you're not doing your customers or your brand any favors.
What you ask: Would consumers refer your brand to friends
This question can be viewed as the culmination of the other questions you ask, and statements you ask consumers to rank. Without customer loyalty, which includes their satisfaction and top notch customer service, the chance of them feeling like they'd be doing their friends a favor by referring you is slim and none. It's up to you to look at the questions you're asking and how you can use responses to make your brand the best it can be. One of the worst things you can do is gather this information and then never use it. Ask the questions, mull over the answers, and when you promise to do better, deliver results that'll keep consumers coming back to your brand.

Effectively Capturing the Voice of the Customer

Capturing the Voice of the CustomerThere's no secret recipe for effectively capturing the voice of the customer. The good news is that it's a matter of mix and match and using what makes sense for you. While another brand may have success with focus groups and surveys, depending on the kind of feedback you're looking for, you might find that complaint logs and direct interviews yield the best results. Want more good news? None of these methods is inherently better than the other. The important part isn't just what method you're using, but why. Here's what you can expect to get out of each method, and what to consider when choosing which to use:
Mystery shopping
A mystery shopper can accomplish quite a bit, depending on what they're sent in to do. They can check out how a complaint's handled, how knowledgeable and friendly salespeople are when they're peppered with questions. The downside here is that they aren't actually a customer. Instead, they're trying to mirror the experience so you can take the results and run with them.
Feedback from customer associates
Customer associates have the experience working closely with customers and hearing their likes and dislikes, often in great detail. It's also the easiest feedback to get your hands on, with that added insight as a huge bonus. Once of the drawbacks is that what you're hearing might be altered to keep the associate from looking back. There's a good chance they're not going to run to you and report on the poor performance of their peers or themselves, for a lot of reasons. So, while this feedback can be vital, it's important to remember that it's not coming directly from the customer, which means you might need to take some of it with a grain of salt.
Surveys
Brands love surveys. A lot of bigger brands are including surveys with an incentive, like a cash prize, to make sure they're hearing back from consumers. The great thing is that you are hearing directly from the people you want to be hearing from. They can give you insight into the overall experience, including customer service, product/service satisfaction - all the ins and outs that you really need to know in order to move forward effectively. The downside is that it can get costly, depending on how you go about it. Another issue is actually motivating your customers to partake. But if you can plan, prepare and execute it in a cost-efficient way that also returns results, it can turn around some pretty important information.

How to Highlight the Voice of Your Customer

Voice of Your CustomerNothing's more important than the voice of your customer. Who else is going to paint an accurate picture of what you're doing right, what you have to offer, and maybe what you could change? If you're looking to highlight what they have to say, here's how you can go about it. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in going forward and being more proactive about highlighting the voice of your customers is to not be the one facilitating conversation. We know people are talking about their favorite brands, on and offline, but are you involved in the conversation? The most obvious way to be is by monitoring what's being said on social media. Comments, good and bad, are going to be Tweeted, shared, and even blogged about, whether you're tuned in or not. But if you make sure you're interacting with them, hearing what they have to say loud and clear, you're less likely to be one step behind about where you stand. No one can, or should, dedicate all their time to checking out comments on social media. But that kind of interaction can be pretty vital, and it's worth figuring out where you stand vs. how you could improve.
Another way to make sure you're highlighting what customers have to say, is by asking for video testimonials, success stories, and general feedback about how you're doing.
Bringing the voice of your customer into marketing is a natural progression, and a great way to reflect what your brand does so well, and why consumers should throw their support including time and money behind you. It's great to let customers know they're being heard, and that you value what you have to say. One of the reasons why more brands don't go ahead and amplify the voice of their customers is because they're afraid of negative feedback. The reality is that you need to understand your brands reputation, whether it's good or bad, before you proceed. And if you're not hearing what you like, your focus needs to be on how to make changes so you can move forward in a more positive direction with consumers.

Listening to What Voice of Customer Research Has to Tell You

Voice of Customer ResearchVoice of customer research is going to help identify the top priority needs and wants of your clients. You're getting the information you need through interviews, focus groups, surveys and so on, right from the source. Rather than speculating about how to continue meeting the needs of your clients, you can gather the information yourself to get a better idea of where you need to be heading in the future.
What you can do with that feedback
Every brand has an idea of the type of interaction they're hoping for with clients and consumers in general. Even if you never sit down and fill in the details about what that would look like, there are a few components that are pretty universal. You hope that it's a positive interaction with top-notch customer service. The client is pleased with the product or service. All good things! But here's the thing: The way you perceive your interactions is going to differ with the actual customer experience. It doesn't mean that all of your clients are secretly dissatisfied, just that it's better to check in and get the details about what they're liking and not so fond of, instead of making assumptions. A lot of brands engage in some form of voice of customer research. There are handy little surveys and polls, interviews, and many other ways to hear from customers. What matters is what brands are doing once they're given a peek into the average customer experience. Too often, it's collected and then mostly ignored, or under-utilized. It's actually a great resource if you're trying to look ahead and determine where your brand's headed. Who better to give you a sense of what needs to change than the people who are most familiar with what you do? Too many times, brands make changes for the sake of change, rather than understanding what users are asking for and need. What your brand does with feedback can have a lot to do with successes and failures down the road. Brands that stick around and accomplish great things tend to be the ones who understand that change needs to happen in a way that makes sense to customers. It means looking at feedback about feature updates, customer service, and other aspects of what you do to see where change is needed most. The great thing about voice of customer research is that it gives you the insight to head in the direction that'll keep you competitive and able to please customers. The key is making the choice to invest and truly listen and act on what's being said.

Voice of the Customer Definition: How to Get the Most Out of Feedback

Voice of the Customer DefinitionVoice of the customer definition
Voice of the customer is all about capturing feedback from consumers and what they have to say about some of the most important aspects of your brand. If you have trouble keeping clients after their initial use of your product or service, or if you’re just looking to be more in tune with the average customer experience - it’s your best bet at gaining some insight. If you’ve been looking ahead, trying to map out where your brand’s headed, this type of feedback can help. Instead of making changes for the sake of change, or progress, if you’re listening to the people who use your product or service most, they’re going to have some pretty good ideas that can clue you in about where you should be headed.
How to collect feedback
There are a variety of ways you can ask for and receive feedback. For some, the decision comes down to what’s most cost effective. A natural place to start is directly from within. Your sales representatives are working closely with customers day in and day out. They’re going to be hearing all kinds of feedback, good and bad, and are worth enlisting so you can get a feel for what’s coming up most often.
Interviews
This is the method that’s most connected to the idea of what VOC can accomplish. There’s some concern, and for good reason, about conducting in person interviews. While it’s a great way to better your understanding and make sure the interview is actually completed, especially with the person sitting directly in front of you, it’s also the most expensive way to go about it. Some brands choose to interview through email, video, or by phone as an alternative.
Survey
With the right questions, and a thorough understanding of what it is you want to know - a survey can be an excellent way to collect feedback. You should go through a few rounds of looking at your questions and making sure they match up with what you’re looking to find out, otherwise your survey won’t be as effective as it could be. Coming up with the right combination of questions isn’t as easy as it sounds, and it’s a good idea to have a few sets of eyes working with you to determine if your questions are touching on the right things. It’s another traditional method for gathering info, and can be employed in a variety of ways, to suit the needs of any brand. Quite a few brands have used incentives, usually money or some kind of prize, to sweeten the prospect for consumer who might not want to spend time going to a website to answer questions.
Focus groups
A small group of a certain demographic is brought together to share their opinions, beliefs and perceptions about your brand. It can help better understand their priorities and where they stand on the concepts you put before them. The openness and group setting allow for a collaborative environment that can really tell you a lot about where you stand with consumers. Focus groups are often used in conjunction with other methods to add to feedback you’re receiving.
Indirect feedback
Blogs, social media, email, forums - feedback is happening all the time. Sometimes, if we’re not actively looking for it, we missed what’s being said. Plenty of larger brands get burned on social media after a particularly disastrous encounter manages to go viral through Twitter or Facebook. It can be pretty difficult to make heads or tails of this type of feedback if you’re a larger brand, which means it’s important to implement a system that cuts through the noise so you can get to the heart of what’s being said.
What to do once you have it
The great thing about VOC is that every brand is going to have a different system for collecting feedback, one that works for them and suits their needs. There’s no singular system, or one size fits all approach. That means knowing the methods that are used, and understanding which ones suit your needs. One of the worst things you can do with any type of feedback is sit on it so it becomes an afterthought, or forgotten completely. If you’re going to make the effort to hear some truths about your brand, you also need to be committed to implementing changes based on feedback. Consumers like the feeling they’re being heard, but it doesn’t mean a lot if you aren’t willing to improve their experience once you get all the facts.

What Is Voice of the Customer? How It Can Make You the Best at What You Do

What Is Voice Of The CustomerVoice of customer, explained:
What is voice of the customer? It's feedback you receive from the people using your product or service, which can help you improve the experience going forward. When you update a feature or other aspect of your product or service based on the feedback you've received, or you use a focus group to get feedback on something you've done - you're listening to the voice of your customers.
Benefits
I'm sure you've heard some of the feedback from users of platforms like Facebook and Tumblr when there's an update. Users often wonder why platforms choose the updates they do, instead of listening to make changes that'll actually improve the experience of the user. For awhile now, Tumblr users have been asking for a block feature that does what the name implies and blocks other users, usually trolls, from coming on to their blog and being creepy. Instead, they see ads on their dashboards and other changes that not only do nothing to improve their experience, but can actually take away from it. When brands actively seek out feedback and implement changes based on what they've been hearing from multiple users, people know that, as a brand, you're actually listening. It sounds simple, but it can make a world of difference when a lot of users are used to brands that aren't tapping them for feedback or making those meaningful changes. Another benefit is that it keeps you competitive. What you consider important as a team member isn't necessarily going to translate to what your customers need, right? In order to grow and to do so in a way that keeps you from being phased out by competitors, you have know what the majority of your users want, and why.
How you can gather feedback to make those meaningful changes for your customers
  • Interviews with your sales and customer service reps. This is a good way to find out what they're hearing from customers that they're interacting with pretty regularly. A lot of brands aren't putting in the effort to gain insight this way and are missing out. It's worth making the time to have these conversations and understand a little better what they're hearing day in and day out.
  • Online surveys, focus groups, interviews, and customer feedback forms are just a few of the ways you can speak directly with customers.
Don't shy away from what customers have to say. There's some fear that it's going to open the floodgates for negativity, but at the end of the day, negativity is something you can work with to make changes and be the best at what you do for users. It's better all around if you actively ask for that feedback rather than ignoring the good and bad and not being connected to what your customers need.

What is Voice of the Customer Process?

Voice of the Customer ProcessThe voice of the customer process is taking place whenever you're collecting and receiving valuable feedback from consumers. Whether you're seeking consumers out, or they're coming to you, it's a key aspect of making sure you're in the loop about the average consumer experience. The information you gather will also allow you to make meaningful changes for your brand, especially when considering long-term goals.
Ways to collect feedback:
There are a lot of ways you can tap into how the average customer prioritizes their needs. Interviews with your sales and customer service reps are a great way to start. It's an excellent way to find out what they're hearing from customers, things you wouldn't be hearing unless you were in their unique position. Brands that aren't putting in the effort to gain insight this way and are missing out. It's worth making the time to have these conversations and understand a little better what they're hearing day in and day out. It also shows that you valuable this type of feedback from your reps, which should be true. Another popular route is the use of online surveys, focus groups, interviews, and customer feedback forms. All of them provide a more direct route to consumers, allowing you to catch a glimpse of what they actually think about your brand and what you do.
The benefits of VOC
There's a lot that VOC can do for your brand. It can help with decision making as you look to the future with a better understanding of customer needs and how they rank. When you correctly interpret the data you receive and use it to make meaningful changes to your brand, consumers know that you're actually listening to what they're telling you, and they can count on you to make their needs a priority. That isn't something every brand can say, and it's definitely something you should be proud of!

What to Ask: Voice of the Customer Survey Questions

Voice of the Customer Survey QuestionsWhen you're looking to gain insight into the wants and needs of your customers, preparing a list of voice of the customer survey questions is key. You can learn a lot, depending on the questions you're asking, which is why it's important that your questions get to the heart of what you need to know. Here's a breakdown of the type of questions you need to ask in order to learn the most.
Q: How much do you trust (your brand)?
Questions that deal with brand image and trust address how much loyalty the average customer feels toward your brand. Are they using your services because they love who you are and what you do, or because you're the only option? There's a big difference between the two, and these questions can help you figure out which it is, and whether or not consumers actually want to stick with you. The ideal way to frame these questions is by asking consumers who take your survey to rate the accuracy of the statement you provide from 1 to 5, with one being strongly disagree and 5 being strongly agree. Additional statements for them to rate, include:
  • My interaction with (your brand) has always been positive
  • I trust (your brand)
Q: How satisfied are you with the value of the product/service (your brand) provides?
Here's where you allow consumers to comment on the value of what you do. Everything from how helpful your staff has been to whether your product or service is performing the way it's supposed to. These questions will shed light on the promises you make and whether they deliver, and can also pinpoint where you can improve so consumers will stick with you after deciding to make an investment of their time and money. Additional statements for them to rate:
  • The (your brand) staff members are knowledgeable
  • I would refer (your brand) to my friends
If you're looking for specific feedback from your surveys, take the time to pinpoint questions that are direct and will lead you to what you need to hear. The great thing about surveys is that they allow you to blend questions in any way you choose. Whether you focus more on consumer loyalty, value, or both at once is totally up to you!

What You Can Do With Great Customer Service Stories

Great Customer Service StoriesGreat customer service stories deserve to be told! The feedback that comes from interactions your team's having with consumers can be pretty valuable stuff. Put it to use instead of briefly acknowledging what happened, and then putting it out of your mind.
Use them for training
Customer service training is key if you want team members who handle the ins and outs of customer interaction in a way that aligns with your brand. Training can help employees be prepared for all types of situations, promote brand culture, and hopefully have consumers walking away feeling good about the interaction. Great customer service stories are an important way to highlight what's gone right in these types of interactions. It can highlight how things like attitude, tone, and making the customer know they're being listened to can make all the difference in the world, in the same way that a less than great customer service story can show what not to do.
Work with the customer and they can become testimonials
The best time to get a video testimonial is after a successful encounter. Makes sense, right? They're walking away happy, you're feeling good. They're definitely more likely to lend their voice to your brand. They can produce a quick testimonial about the interaction, including any issues they were having, and how they were helped by your team, so other consumers can watch when they're looking into your brand. The only way to get these testimonials is if you take the initiative to ask.
Use all stories to make changes from the inside
All customer service interactions and stories, good or bad, have a purpose. Positive stories can be used in the ways mentioned above, and to re-affirm that you're team is doing something right. Negative interactions, on the other hand, can often indicate where change needs to happen in your brand. They can point out mistakes that need to be corrected, and serve just as much, maybe even more, purpose as the great stories that we love to hear.