Coleman Wick

How companies can build a Voice of Customer (VOC) Program

Over the past years, Voice of Customer programs has gained enormous traction in the business world. Fundamentally, a Voice of Customer (VOC) is a process to understand customer’s needs, desires, and preferences. In a basic Voice of Customer (VOC), a company collects the customers’ data through interviews or questionnaires and then analyze that data to answer the question regarding the company growth and profit. The main purpose of Voice of Customer (VOC) is to take the valuable insights from the customers regarding the needs, wants and the loyalty drivers of the customers.

The simple rule in the marketing world is that whoever knows the customer in a better manner will be the winner. A Voice of Customer (VOC) offers you the valuable intuition to quantify the various marketing ideas and assumptions. The people who are associated with the marketing field know it very well that they may assume who their customer will be and where would be maximum potential lies. However, they can never be 100% sure about that. There is a huge difference between listening to the customers for the sake of listening and actually listening for the sake of change.

If you are planning on making a Voice of Customer (VOC) program for your business, then keep on reading as this article will help you to follow the crucial steps involved.

No matter how much data you gather from the customers if you lack the proper strategy you are not going to benefit from the data at all. Developing a thoughtful strategy is the foremost and the most crucial step in the formation of Voice of Customer (VOC) program. A Voice of Customer (VOC) program needs to reflect the company’s strategic goals and objectives Market share, profitability, new product/service development and customer satisfaction are popular goals and objectives. Therefore, a VOC strategy should incorporate these criteria as to how we can use this program to achieve those goals.

At ColemanWick, we think of the customers in four distinct stages. Develop your VOC program based on what you want to achieve.

1. Identification: Who is our ideal and most profitable customer? What’s their market potential? What products/services are they currently using? What do customers value with respect to the product?
2. Acquisition: How do we acquire our ideal customer? What’s the best channel? What’s the best channel? How are the considerations related price, promotion, place, and product?
3. Retention: How do we increase revenue and profits from our customers? When are they likely to churn? Which tactics will deepen customer satisfaction and loyalty? What can be improved with our products/services?
4. Reactivation: How can we win-back lost customers? Why have customers chosen another product?

Generally, there are three types of methodologies to consider: exploratory, descriptive, and causal. These methodologies can be employed independently or in combination.

Exploratory research is often used when little is known about the customers’ preferences. For example, exploratory research is often used in new product development when a company does not how customers will respond to its offering Exploratory could be quantitative or qualitative. This research is about assessing which way the wind blows and is almost invariably followed-up with the following type of research.

Descriptive research is often utilized to answer who, what, where, when and how. Researchers are able to get information about consumers’ behaviors, perceptions, and attitudes. This level of research provides precision and is popular when assessing likelihood to buy, customers satisfaction, and the degree to which customers value certain features and attributes of a product.

Causal research is aimed to solve the question of why. This of this type of research as a function of cause and effect. It informs decision-makers about the relationship between variables and how changing one can impact another – either positively or negatively. For example, if a company extends its product warranty from 48 to 60 months, will customers value the change enough to pay more for the product.

Involve the Right Departments

Although the whole Voice of Customer (VOC) program intends to integrate the business goals and mission. However, this particular step will ensure the maximum integration and issue resolution across the various departments within an organization. Along with the survey, you must have included the opinion of the front desk employees who have the direct interaction with the customers. These are the ones who listen to customers’ opinions personally and directly. So it is always advisable to centralize the whole VOC program. All you need is to analyze the data gathered from across the organization to pinpoint the problems and the opportunities.

Data Capture
After the setting of the methodology for the survey, the next step involves the conduction of a survey. Well, here we want to add that this could prove to be the most difficult step in the entire Voice of Customer (VOC) program. At this step, you have to first make the customers willing to take the online. For example, it may make sense to develop a panel of representative customers who agree to complete the surveys on a timely basis. These respondents are compensated on the number of questionnaire’s completed. Consider working with a customer analytics firm to develop and manage these panels.

Centralization of Voice of Customer (VOC)
The efficiency and the effectiveness of the Voice of Customer (VOC) program rely on the integration and the teamwork within the organization. No matter from which channel you gather the data, the next step would be to integrate the efforts and summarize and analyze the data keeping in mind the joint company goals. Most of the time the business form the VOC teams to carry forward the program.

Disseminate the Data
The data collected from the customers would be of no use if the VOC team just gather it and deliver it to the higher ranks. Basically, a VOC team is not the one which is going to make the requisite changes in the businesses after the survey. It has to deliver the results to the higher management for the proper action. So the dissemination of the data should be such that it transfers its importance the need to make necessary changes. Delivering the data in an efficient manner helps the others to point out the problem as well as the possible solution.

Proceed with Strategy
After the delivery of the data to the relevant department within an organization, the job of the VOC team is done. Next, the company or the business has to decide as for how it is going to use that data. Here we want to make clear that a VOC process could pinpoint various issues and the areas that need changes. However, you have to set your priorities before taking any action. Define the priorities areas where the immediate changes needed and then proceed towards the other areas.

Voice of Customer (VOC) program offers the solution to the most common marketing issue as to what the customers want. This program provides an insight into the issues that the customers have to face and let the business improve its services and products.

Apply this program in your business and gain the valuable insight into the customers to get the most reliable information for the improvement of your profits and customer base.

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