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Listen to the Voice of the Customer
Would you like incremental purchases from existing customers? Would a lower churn rate help your bottom line? Would referrals from existing customers help reduce the cost of sale for your company? We hope you answered a resounding yes to these rhetorical questions. And if you did, our next question which isn’t rhetorical at all is, “Do you conduct Voice of the Customer (VoC) research?”
If you do, fantastic, you’re among the few organizations that do. According to a study by Temkin Group last year only 57% of large North American firms have a formalized VoC program and many medium to small size organizations don’t. The premise of VoC is to collect and analyze customer data to transform an organization into a truly customer-centric operation.
VoC is a market research technique designed to help a company better understand customers’ wants and needs and to be able to prioritize these in terms of importance and satisfaction with current alternatives in order to positively affect the customer experience. When executed well, a VoC program enables you to acquire business insight about customers and what is important to them. You can then use this information to enhance the customer experience. Research by Forrester shows that a better customer experience drives improvement for three types of customer loyalty: willingness to consider another purchase, likelihood to switch business to a competitor, and likelihood to recommend to a friend or colleague.
VoC takes an investment of time and money but the results directly affect a company’s bottom line with incremental purchases from existing customers, lower churn, and new sales from referrals. Hopefully we’ve convinced you to conduct a VoC study. VoC research is typically more than a customer satisfaction study which is designed to measure how an organization’s products and services meet or surpass customer expectations. VoC research should enable you to make customer-focused decisions.
Most firms turn to experts for help. Whether you decide to move forward solo or with the help of an experienced third party, you should know the basics.
The Basics of VoC
The point of the VoC study, or any research for that matter, is to derive actionable insights from the results. So once you the findings are reported a key step is to develop an action plan. And of course, measure your progress and the improvements once the action plan is implemented.
To succeed VoC studies, you need a minimum of two things. First you need a robust voice of the customer (VoC) process. Second, you want to implement the initiative with people who are properly trained. As you embark on your VoC initiative, keep in mind that the objective is to understand how satisfying particular customer needs, wants and desires will influence the purchase decisions and improve the bottom line. There are numerous benefits from listening to your customers such as faster adoption of new products, more repeat sales and loyalty, and lower cost of sale or cost to serve. Engage in VoC and reap the rewards.