discover online voice

How to Discover the Voice of Your Customer

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Data is Key

When handling social media accounts within the business industry, it’s no surprise that the customer is always at the front line. Consumers want to engage with companies who have a good reputation in which they can trust. In order to uphold this, you’ll need to discover what your customers are really saying about your current business model. 

Not only is it critical to discover the voice of the customer, but also to back up your efforts when doing so with data.  Starting a business takes lots of hard work and effort, so it’s important to maintain your online growth and relationships in the best way possible. Below we will dive into what the voice of the customer is and how to define it within your outreach channels. 

What is Voice of the Customer (VoC)?

Voice of the customer (VoC) is how you understand what customers expect from your company, what they like, dislike, need, fear, and how they currently feel about the relationship overall. Defining your VoC is an essential part of building out your customer personas. With this knowledge, changes can then be made based on these personas to leave your customers with a better experience when dealing with your company. 

To get a grasp on defining voice of the customer you’ll need to reach out to customers themselves. This can be done through various outreach channels such as: focus groups, surveys, and, of course, social media platforms. The more consumer data you can analyze from listening to your customers, the better understanding you’ll have of your target consumer group as a whole. 

Realistically speaking, you won’t be able to address every customer’s concerns on an individual level. Although what you can do is identify recurring issues and trends that affect a majority of the consumer group. Hence why VoC is such an integral aspect of a business’s customer experience strategy.

How to Set Up a Voice of the Customer Program

Setting up a VoC program consists of three basic steps: gathering feedback, analyzing feedback, and then deciding on action.

Step 1. Gather Customer Feedback

As mentioned, there are many different channels available to gather consumer feedback. Depending on how your business is structured, some channels may work better than others. Consider also using a mix of different channels for increased feedback retention.

Focus groups are great in the fact that you’re dealing directly with your customers when getting feedback. Focus groups work by bringing in members of your target consumer group to evaluate company products and services. The downside of this technique is that it can get pricey with the resources used and the compensation for those participating.

Customer surveys are similar to focus groups, but less personable since they aren’t usually done in person. With surveys you can evaluate how your customers are feeling when purchasing items and engaging on your different platforms. Surveys have the ability to reach many people, but getting people to actually do the survey can be difficult. 

Social media engagement is also a key way to gather feedback, especially if your platform has a large following. These platforms are becoming essential outlets for customer service. Customers are always leaving comments and sending DM’s on company pages when they have questions or concerns. You can also leverage social media posts to your benefit by asking followers to engage with your surveys and provide casual feedback.

Step 2. Analyze Your Customer Feedback

Once the data is gathered, it needs to be analyzed and translated through data coding. Data coding means taking the qualitative data you found and transforming it into quantitative statistics. In other words, you’re going to take the thoughts shared and turn it into numbers on a scale. Qualitative data helps understand what themes and issues are recurring across the target consumer group overall. 

As a company, you won't be able to address every customer’s individual concerns. This is why it’s important to focus efforts on trends that are recurring for maximized benefit. It can also be more effective to initially focus on your most profitable consumer group, rather than all your personas in order to maximize your efforts right off the bat.

With extensive amounts of customer data, it can also take a long time to analyze the information. While this process may be tedious, it’s important to realize data needs to be measured and analyzed in order to reach maximum potential with your business goals. Some companies have reduced this manual coding process by implementing AI programs to help automate the process and relieve stress throughout. 

Step 3. Decide on Business Actions

Once you’ve uncovered insights, decide what actions you’re going to take based on the customer feedback. These insights will help you rebuild business to make it more user friendly for your customers. Consider also showcasing what changes are going to be made on your social media platforms. By doing so, you can demonstrate your brand’s value and commitment to great customer experience to your followers.

You should prioritize actions that work to keep existing customers vs finding new customers. It can be 25 times more expensive to acquire new customers, than it is keeping a loyal customer base happy. Also evaluate which changes can impact your ROI in the long-term. This can help narrow down and prioritize changes that need to be made.

Voice of the Customer Survey Examples

As mentioned previously, surveying customers is a popular way to gather consumer feedback. Two very popular quantitative survey methods are the net promoter score and the customer satisfaction survey. These can be sent out to your customers via email, after completing a form on your site, or directly on social media.

The net promoter score (NPS) asks customers how likely they are to recommend the product or service to others. Customers can respond on a scale from 1-10, and are associated with the following:

  • From 0-6 are known as detractors.
  • From 7-8 are known as passives.
  • From 9-10 are known as promoters.

Once you have all the results, you take the percentage of promoters and subtract it from the percentage of detractors. The resulting number is your final net promoter score.

The customer satisfaction survey (CSAT) asks the customer to what extent they’re satisfied with their experience. The scale used can vary based on the company posing the question, although a typical scale usually goes from 1-10. To get the final CSAT percentage, you take the amount of positive responses on the scale (8 and above) and divide it by the total amount of respondents to the original question.

Wrapping Up

While understanding the voice of the customer can really transform a business, the process of doing so can be quite challenging and requires the help of expert social media and outreach professionals. Gathering customer data from social media and surveys, analyzing the data to identify trends, and creating plans based on the VoC feedback is a huge, but very valuable, next step to take. Each step of the process has its difficulties so if you need more guidance, check out Chattermill’s extended guide for discovering VoC.

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