Why prefer Voice of Customer over surveys?

Why Voice of Customer

Are surveys still the single source of truth?

It’s a given that any successful business has used and will keep using market research and customer feedback surveys to receive valuable customer input.to adjust its product development, branding, and Customer Service efforts aligned with the customer needs.

The GRIT Report, a leading market research publication surveyed 3,930 researchers to measure industry sentiment and forecast trends in market research. The results showed that 39% of researchers expect feedback quality to worsen over time, that is, despite technological advances in questionnaires and surveys, companies appear to be getting worse insights about their customers.

Here are some possible causes for this reduction in feedback quality:

  • Privacy concerns

More and more consumers nowadays are hesitant to give away their data. Moreover, a recent survey (Swant, 2019) showed that customers are afraid to share their personal information because they are not fully aware of how it is used.

  • Missing out on the persona

    Even though surveys can be conducted to a pretty big random part of an audience, unfortunately, they might not reach all the valuable and targeted consumers. It is pretty likely to have vague results, as you do not know exactly the sample and you are probably missing out on valuable feedback from your precious customer persona.
  • Honesty

    Psychological and Cognitive factors play a crucial part in affecting survey results. Some consumers might not feel encouraged to provide accurate and honest answers. It is possible not to answer honestly because they are filtering their responses to be more favorable.
  • Biases

    Biases are pretty likely to be faced when conducting a survey. Biases can be personal or non-personal but both of them might affect the way that consumers will process and respond to a question. So, the answer might be unreliable due to a respondent’s personal beliefs, education, culture, etc.
  • Customer Burnout

    There are thousands of businesses trying to conduct surveys simultaneously of the same random sample. Of course, consumers do not have the time nor the motive, or even the attention span, to respond to all the surveys. So, it is certain that the responsive rates will not be satisfying, and the sample will not be specific (DeFranzo B, n.d, Cornell, 2022). Only after you’ve invested in getting a customer can you begin the process of getting their honest feedback. That takes time and money, and if you’re not paying attention, it could take a lot more of both.

Why prefer Voice of Customer over surveys?

So, it seems that customer surveys can no longer be regarded as the most accurate tool to collect unique customer insights, making customers feel connected to the brand and appreciated, as it could no longer get that valuable, to-the-point, unbiased information businesses are after.

This means that making sure that you will be getting the real picture, instead of a collection of instances where a customer has responded to a survey,  can be a different story whatsoever.

It is a story about the customer experience itself, rather than fragmented feedback around it. It is about getting to know what the customer really experiences across the customer journey.

Voice of the Customer (VoC) is exactly that term that describes your customer’s feedback about their experiences with and expectations for your products or services, focusing on customer needs, expectations, understandings, and product improvement.

This is what places Voice of the Customer (VoC) right at the core of any successful customer experience (CX) program, referring to the customers’ needs, wants, and expectations as it pertains to a company’s products or services.

A customer voice solution gives your customers a voice within the organization, capturing their expectations, likes, and dislikes, by gathering and analyzing customer insights and identifying trends and strategies to improve customer experience.

Why customer’s voice is important?

Although most organizations would believe that they’re customer-centric, only a fraction of their customers find this claim agreeable (According to a study conducted by Bain and Company), a big problem by itself, as poor customer experience can really become a business breaker.

There is no better start along the process of improving your CX than to make it a top priority to listen to your customer’s voice, integrating the right VoC program to assess what you are doing well and where you’re lagging.

As customers’ input is strongly correlated to the Net Promoter Score (NPS), this needs to be accumulated through the customer feedback via any channel you will run the survey on– voice, chat, email, or more; that means that to really start knowing what is in the mind of the customers and listen to the Voice of the Customer, you should start getting these 360 and Quality Management analytics, that will take you past their perception or opinion of the experience at a specific moment in time, weighted with any other beliefs, biases, and experiences, whether that be other experiences they had with the organization in the past.

360 Analytics

360 analytics solutions provide actionable analysis of every customer interaction, analyzing the content and identifying trends and opportunities to improve the customer experience.

By viewing the trends and analysis in dashboards and reports and actually listening to the conversation, or reading the transcript from the call, chat, email, etc, you can see both the customer’s and the agent’s side of the story that could lead you to new insights that you can then add into your customer feedback survey. 

You can also leverage analytics to validate initial findings from customer surveys to understand if a customer’s feedback was an isolated incident or a trend that is being observed across multiple interactions.

Quality Management Analytics

A quality management software solution infused with analytics also enables you to develop a deeper understanding of the Voice of the Customer. With this solution, evaluators can effectively pinpoint specific interactions to evaluate and coach specific agents on the voice of the customer. With a quality management analytics solution, a contact center manager could create a quality plan that automatically identifies interactions where the customer had a negative sentiment or complaint, and route them for further evaluation.

Getting the right VOC insights

VOC is the key to understanding your customers, but first of all, you will have to understand yourself, by assessing how you want to approach them and what you really want to know about them.

There are three types of customer feedback that you can collect:

  • Direct: Customers know they are being monitored i.e. when they provide feedback through a website or live-chat surveys, interviews, etc.
  • Indirect: Customer talks about the brand, but not directly, e.g. in the form of a tweet or on a third-party review website.
  • Inferred: Inferred feedback is based on how customers use your products and services.

There are three focal points you can concentrate in:

  • Your customers’ perception and what they could be telling friends and family, where a customer survey solution will be key.
  • The actual experience of the customer as they interacted with the contact center, where an omnichannel analytics solution should work!
  • To coach and develop your agents, where a quality management analytics solution is the right way to go.

You can employ all approaches to capture a more holistic voice of the customer and certainly when used independently, each tool can be really powerful, but when combined, you can really, truly hear your customers’ full voice and better understand where your customer experience is succeeding and where you need to improve.

How to use the Customer Voice

There’s more to Voice of the Customer than simply distributing surveys and collecting responses.

To be a customer-centric organization you have to consider feedback from every customer, respond as quickly as possible, and use the insights uncovered to make improvements across departments.

For example:

  • Product development: Product teams can use VoC insights to prioritize feature requests and reduce friction points associated with using a product.
  • Marketing: Can use customer voice to create better-targeted campaigns that highlight value propositions customers actually care about based on data rather than intuition.
  • Sales: Sales reps can use the data acquired through VoC programs to identify ideal customers and the selling points that appeal to them the most.
  • Customer support: VoC empowers support teams by highlighting touchpoints customers have the most trouble with as well as identifying dissatisfied customers so that they can be assisted.

The insights you get from customer voice programs have to be shared across all departments.

The VOC approach

Improving CX through  VOC isn’t a one-off project, but rather a state of mind, a new business culture where you put the customer first and try to keep up with the customer values, as they change over time…

More benefits of listening to the customer’s voice

Listening to the Customer’s voice has better customer experiences and the benefits of those are countless. Here’s some:

  • Companies with high Net Promoter Scores® (NPS®) grow faster.
  • Companies with great CX have a 16% price premium on products and services.
  • ⅔ of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience.
  • ⅔ of customers would recommend a brand to a friend after a positive CX.
  • ⅔ of customers find a positive experience with a brand to be more influential than great advertising.
  • Essentially, making VoC a priority leads to higher retention rates, an increase in revenue, and reduced churn.

How to know if you’ve lost touch with the customer’s voice

Most companies don’t know that they’re delivering bad customer experiences until it’s too late. Here are some warning signs that show your customers are unsatisfied with your brand:

  1. CS keeps opening tickets on the same customer issues
  2. Reviews and ratings are deteriorating and customer churn rises.
  3. New product/feature launches are met with negative reception.
  4. Customers are contacting you about issues that your team has never even considered.