What are your customers saying about your products? How many bad reviews does it take to deter shoppers? According to a recent study, 64% of customers surveyed said they trusted product reviews from other consumers; but between one and three bad online reviews would be enough to deter the majority (67%) of shoppers from purchasing a product or service.
Voice of the Customer (VOC) programs are revolutionizing the way the business world operates. Internal business functions, from billing to marketing, brands are constantly and consistently changing to meet the needs a modern social and mobile customer base. The golden rule of “the customer is always right” has become a necessity for business operations rather than a favored plan of action. VOC programs create an ongoing conversation which addresses interactions in real-time.
With VOC programs increasingly becoming mainstream, it is crucial for companies to adopt new customer-centric practices. Companies need to capture consumer feedback and expectations to convert it into useable data to drive and direct how they offer products and services. The key is to not only to listen to the voice of the client, but then, in turn, act upon it. When a customer takes the time to provide a company with ways to improve upon itself, the consumer expects the brand to have the same goal in mind.
Organizations are always looking to gather feedback from their customer base, hoping that information will help reach and maintain goals such as customer satisfaction and retention. If a company can better understand the voice of their customer, they are enabled to drive brand awareness, loyalty, and even top-line revenue growth.
Businesses can use several channels including social media monitoring, events, and post-service surveys to gain a better handle on customer insights and buyer behavior. In fact, the main reason that companies today are investing in VOC programs, is due to the ability to capture customer feedback and incorporate it into current and future business practices. In order to truly capture all of the value that a VOC program have to offer, the right questions need to be asked to the right customers, at the right time. John Russell, former Managing Director of Harley Davidson, put it best when he said, “The more you engage with customers, the cleaner things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.”
When an organization finally decides to increase their sources of data, they are pleasantly surprised with what they find. They begin to realize that they are no longer forced to react based only on changes in the marketplace. Organizations are given the opportunity to the react based on the information they collect from customers on their own. They become the changes in the marketplace.
The overall negative potential and financial impact resulting from lost customers can be devastating. Organizations need to implement Voice of Customer programs and policies before the lack of one begins to take a toll on the overall customer experience. A customer’s voice is not a trend or a fad that a company can afford to discard and ignore.
As long as a business has customers, the customers will have voices. Effectively listening and responding to these voices in an efficient manner can make or break an organization. Top performing companies constantly use this strategy of VOC to build and maintain customer advocacy in order to improve retention while increasing revenue.
The true question you need to ask yourself is not whether you can afford to implement a Voice of Customer program, but whether you can afford not to.