The Voice of the Customer Speaks Volumes

Guest Blog by Laura Sikorski

Your customers are the very reason your company exists. Your commitment to your customers’ needs should be clearly defined in your mission and vision statements; understood by all employees; and drive continuous product, service and process improvements.

To properly serve your customers, you should be able to answer the following questions.

  • What percentage of customers does our company lose each year?
  • What percentage of customers have been with our company one year, two years, five years or more?
  • Are retention trends changing?
  • What are the top five reasons our customers leave?
  • What are our customers’ main service expectations?
  • Do we know the lifetime value of a customer?
  • How much does a customer buy during a typical transaction?
  • In the last three months, have we contacted at least five customers to find out why they left?

Customer service isn’t a one-size-fits-all phenomenon. Tailor your products and services to what your customers want and expect. This translates to the commonly used phrase Voice of the Customer (VoC). And it’s critical to gather and share VoC details within your organization.

You can collect this data in real time, post-experience or through social channels.

  • Real time: This is done through SMS (text), text analytics tools, survey URLs, mobile integration, face-to-face interactions, focus groups and contact center software.
  • Post-experience: Use email surveys, receipt-based codes, paper surveys, web intercept, mobile feedback, telephone surveys and live-agent collections.
  • Social: Turn to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

Measuring Customer Loyalty

Identifying critical improvement opportunities, competitor benchmarking and industry best practices — as well as using a Net Promoter Score (NPS) — help you measure customer loyalty. NPS is a simple way to measure customer satisfaction.

You want to create more “promoters” than “detractors by asking one question based on a 0 to 10 point scale: Promoters 9-10, Passives 7-8, Detractors 0-6. For example, you could ask: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?”

Managing the Customer Relationship

Customers are people first; they’re customers second. Welcome people into your business like you would welcome them into your home. Your customer should be treated like lifelong friends. You have only one opportunity to make a good first impression.

In addition, products and services are becoming more complicated — you need experienced employees. In many cases, loyalty is to a person and not necessarily to your business.

Think like a customer when developing your products, services and marketing campaigns so you can help your staff create, cultivate and retain customer relationships. Customer relationship management is a strategy designed to increase retention, enhance loyalty and build brand equity. According to Pareto’s Law, 20% of your customers, regardless of the industry, typically will give you 80% of your sales and profits. Identifying these higher- and lower- performance customers — and aligning investment strategies commensurate with value — is critical to knowing who your customers are.

Once you’ve identified all sources of available customer information, your organization will know what your customers want and how to provide them with outstanding customer experiences on their chosen touchpoint or channel.

The contextual capture of their journeys is the “hot” integration requirement with your CRM system and contact center software. The ability for staff to know where the customer has been or needs to be in your applications and systems — and then correcting shortcomings that could occur — will give you the competitive advantage.

Knowing who your customers are is your responsibility. Remember: Customers want to do business with you on their terms, when they want, on the channel of their choice. And they expect the same service and answers to their questions, regardless of which method they use to communicate with you.  For more information, check out the 7 Best Practices for Building Customer Loyalty.