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From Touchpoint Surveys to a Continuous Conversation: How to Use VoC Data More Strategically

The way most companies use Voice of Customer (VoC) data today is leaving opportunity the table.

Generally, VoC data is used behind the scenes to identify problems, plug holes, and get a general sense of how associates or agents are performing at one particular touchpoint.

While there is value in this approach, it remains highly reactive, and limited. It only provides brief glimpses into the customer experience—a snapshot of a single moment in time. It is looking at individual interactions rather than the entire journey.

The data tends to be siloed and used only by the team that collects it. Doing this means those valuable insights can be used to improve that touchpoint, but misses the opportunity to create a better end-to-end experience for the customer.

A more strategic approach: Using VoC—both the process of listening, and applying the resulting insight—continuously at every touchpoint along the customer journey.

By shifting your perspective from surveying customers, to being engaged in a continuous conversation, you will open a wealth of new opportunities for both operational improvements and more profitable relationships.

Transforming Customer Experiences with VoC Data

VoC insights are one of the most important tools for developing a personalized and memorable customer experience. Customer expectations continually evolve and when done right, VoC intelligence can help ensure the customer experience continues to align with those expectations.

A recent Forrester report—How to Build the Right CX Strategy—highlights just how important customer insights are in designing effective customer experiences. In particular, these insights serve as a basis for developing the right CX strategy. VoC can be used to understand the following:

  • Customers’ Emotional Needs: What are your customers’ pain points? Are there unmet expectations? Do these expectations differ across personas? VoC data is a powerful tool because it makes something seemingly intangible, such as assessing emotional connections, possible. And considering that how customers feel when interacting with a brand is a significant driver of loyalty, it’s absolutely critical to understand customers’ emotional needs and execute a strategy to deliver a more personalized, engaging experience.
  • CX Expectations: What touchpoints are the most important in your customers’ journey? Leveraging VoC feedback across the entire journey will enable brands to understand customers’ expectations and prioritize the touchpoints that have the greatest impact on loyalty. Also, focusing on open-end narrative feedback will create a deeper understanding of expectations and allow you to uncover insights you can’t get when focusing on scores. These expectations evolve quickly in today’s marketplace. By eliciting and examining customer feedback continuously, you’ll ensure you are delivering on these evolving needs.
  • Drivers of Loyalty: Today’s VoC analysis tools empower businesses to learn more from feedback. For example, you can identify specific touchpoints that have a large impact on loyalty and are likely to either create promoters or detractors. Focusing on these “moments of truth” and ensuring you exceed customer expectations will drive customer loyalty and create brand advocates. As customer feedback pours in from these important touchpoints you can deploy resources to fix issues and recover customers.

What a Continuous Approach Looks Like

VoC intelligence powers how a brand shapes and refines the customer experience. You can ensure you’re aligning with customer expectations. And when you’re constantly monitoring these expectations and emotional needs, your CX will become more dynamic and adaptable.

A continuous approach requires VoC data to be plugged into the entire customer journey. So beyond merely just researching and designing CX opportunities, you can use customer feedback for:

  • Discovering Opportunities: Rich customer feedback data can reveal what your customers want and where opportunities exist. New products, new features, or servicing options can all be discovered through effective analysis of customer feedback when listening across the entire journey.
  • Identifying Solutions to Problems: You know the types of feedback detractors are sharing. This information can help you in the moment to isolate problems and provide quick solutions. For example, let’s say in Region A, you see a spiking number of customers are having trouble getting answers to a particular product issue. You can use this insight in real time to optimize your workforce and deploy targeted training to address customer concerns.
  • Relationship Monitoring: VoC data can also help us nurture relationships at the individual customer level. You can use it to check in with customers throughout the customer lifecycle and determine how you’re delivering on their expectations over time.
  • Identifying Differentiators: One of the most profound insights you can discover by listening to customers are your differentiators. What makes you special? What makes you stand out? Many brands do this with no or very little customer input, which is a huge mistake. Customers are telling you. All it takes is the willingness to listen.

Bottom Line: A Strategic Approach to VoC Data Starts with a Mindset

Looking at VoC data differently can help you glean more strategic value from customer insights. The data and the tools are at your fingertips. The key, though, is mindset. A reactive-only approach leaves opportunity on the table. Instead, we should approach VoC data with a mindset that customer insights are a source of intelligence for the entire enterprise.

Your customers are your best partners. And that means they must have a permanent seat at the table. Their voices should be heard. Every day. Across all areas of your business.

If your organization isn’t currently taking this approach, take the first step. Look at what customers are telling you, and connect that intelligence to one new initiative or area of your business. Share those insights, and you’re on your way to a more strategic and vastly more beneficial way of bringing the voice of your customers into your business.

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