Do you know the difference between a business that’s killing it and one that’s just, well, meh? The most successful brands are customer-obsessed. They go beyond customer-centric and pay microscopic attention to how their customers are thinking and feeling.
There are a lot of ways to understand how your customers are feeling, including reading Google Reviews and monitoring social media comments, but Voice of Customer (VoC) goes that extra 10%.
A VoC strategy is the process of actively seeking out and addressing customer feedback. It uncovers the good, the bad and the ugly so you can create better products and serve standout customer experiences.
In this post, we’ll dive into:
- What Voice of Customer is
- What common VoC methodologies are
- 5 ways to unlock hidden revenue with VoC
- How to get started with VoC today
What’s Voice of Customer and why are brands utilising it as a key business strategy?
Let’s not beat around the bush - the answer to why brands utilise VoC as a key business strategy is really simple. It improves your bottom line and generates repeat business.
VoC is a hyper customer-centric approach that feeds data and insights into an iterative process to help you validate or scrap business initiatives.
Put simply - VoC is the feedback loop between your happy (and unhappy) customers, resulting in actionable data and insights that lead to growth.
VoC can be as simple as sending a post-purchase experience survey, or it can be as complex as segmenting customers with open tickets out of automation flows. The beauty of it is that you can make it what you want it to be - but the goal is always the same.
Understanding your customers deeply is the difference between a really successful business and one that’s flying by the seat of their pants. So if you’re tired of reacting to bad customer views and not implementing the processes and tools to fix them, this post is for you.
Common VoC methodologies you can start using today
Implementing a VoC strategy is really a no-brainer for any online seller. They don’t cost anything. They can be utilised quickly. And the data they provide can turn into real results pretty much instantly.
Most online businesses will use a few of the below techniques to gather customer data and feedback:
- Customer interviews
- Online surveys
- Live chat
- Social media monitoring
- Website analytics
- Customer reviews
- Dedicated website feedback
Getting started with a VoC strategy shouldn’t be labour intensive. Start small and iterate over time. Afterall, your customers will thank you for caring enough to get their feedback, and they’ll love you for turning their feedback into real action.
1. Close the gap between your brand’s expectation and reality
Have you ever ordered something online from a brand you had really high hopes with, only to be disappointed with slow shipping and subpar customer service?
It happens. A lot.
The scary thing is that 86% of customers will leave a brand for a competitor if they have two bad experiences with them.
Customers are screaming for great service though and it’s known that great customer experiences improve customer lifetime value (CLV) for online sellers.
Voice of Customer data is your key unlocking a range of hidden benefits that will unlock real revenue. These include:
- Spotting early warning signs with disgruntled customers (and a potential brand crisis)
- Customise your products and services to cater to your high-value customer segments
- Serve your customers the experiences they rank highly, and work to improve the not-so-great experiences your customers have
Your VoC data gives you a clear, unbiased view into what your customers are truly thinking and feeling. For an online seller there could be nothing more critical and if this is the one takeaway you get from this post, then our job here is done. Luckily for you there, there are other benefits to VoC data so let’s keep exploring…
2. Then take your brand to new heights
When you look at some of the most successful eCommerce brands in Australia, they are great at combining data with building their brand.
Believe it or not, eCommerce businesses aren’t in the business of selling products. They’re in the business of making customers feel a certain emotion. That emotion sparks the need to purchase an item.
This is where branding comes in. A brand is more than just a logo. It’s the way you make your customers feel. Customers admire, remember and prefer brands that provide positive experiences and feelings.
A brand can provide growth for a business, but it’s the processes and data behind the brand that leads you into a new direction. This isn’t necessarily easy, it takes time to analyse the data, and brands certainly don’t grow overnight. But it is possible.
Ever heard of the Australian larrikin brand Budgy Smugglers? They used their data to enhance their brand through new product lines and to launch into the UK.
Similarly, St Frock founder Sandradee Makejev spoke about her new cost-effective clothing line at Online Retailer because she saw there was growing demand for low-cost, fashion-forward wardrobes.
3. Define and remove friction in your customer journey
The customer journey is the series of interactions a customer has with a brand before they make a purchase. Depending on the industry of the business, the customer journey could last minutes, days, weeks or even months.
Typically, businesses will break their customer journey into 5 stages:
Across each of these stages, a customer may receive an email, click on a retargeting ad, view multiple pages on your site, or reach out to your customer service team. Every single one of these interactions can be tracked effectively through your data, and you can utilise a simple customer journey map to understand the points of conversion and drop-off for your customers.
Here’s an example of a simple customer journey map built by cdp.com
The process of mapping out how your customers are thinking and feeling as they go through this journey gives you the power to truly optimise every interaction. This delivers a seamless customer experience, and provides a range of solutions for you to start addressing any issues or friction points in that journey.
If you’re seeing an uplift in abandoned carts and don’t want to splash out on expensive ads just yet, we’d highly recommend starting with a customer journey map. This will help you understand your customers and their decision making process, and gives you a first hand, objective view into your customer experience.
4. Create an email and SMS strategy that resonates
Picture this. You’ve put together a stellar new email marketing campaign. The template is 🔥. The photography is 😍. But you’ve selected the wrong segment when you hit send.
We’ve all been there and we’ve all learned from this mistake. There is one thing many eCommerce Marketing Managers are still doing to this day though - and it’s impacting customer satisfaction and sales.
Any customer with an open ticket, tracking their package, or any customer that’s left a 2 star review or below needs to be excluded from any and all email automations 🙅
Put yourself in your customers shoes for one minute. They ordered a black t-shirt in size M week ago and haven’t received any tracking information. So they reach out to customer support to see what the deal is and suddenly they’ve received five automated emails for more black t-shirts and maybe even a navy blue one.
Why would they be interested in the navy blue t-shirt before they’ve received their first one?
Secondly, customers with 2 stars and below need to be segmented out of your workflows and treated with a little TLC. These interactions have the opportunity to make or break a customer relationship so start looking into which customers are detracting from your brand and send them a little love.
5. Test new features and bundles
According to Survey Monkey, a staggering 30,000 new products are launched every year but only 5% of those end up being successful…we know, massive, right?
So what are businesses that launch the 5% of successful products doing differently to those that launch products that don’t succeed? You guessed it - they tap into insights from their customer data!
Customer data gives eCommerce brands the opportunity to:
- Know which demographics a product will resonate most with
- Gives you confidence in features that help your brand stand out
- You get buy-in for your product concept
- Build agility in your product development lifecycle
There are 100s of businesses that exist just to help you harness this data so your products succeed with your target audience, and as a result, there are a range of frameworks and processes to assess how successful your product will be. Here’s an example framework from Survey Monkey you can start using today:
The great thing about this framework is that you can start using it today, without any tools. Simply choose which product or feature you need feedback on, send a quick email out to select customer segments, and bang! See what happens next.
Tools to get started with VoC today
If you’re not already asking your customers for their feedback after their purchases, then today is the day.
Here are a few tools and platforms you can try for different eCommerce platforms:
AutomateWoo is a power tool that allows you to do a range of things in a fast and efficient way, through triggers, rules and actions.
It abandoned cart email functionality, and has a really cool feature of offering customers discounts in order to leave a review. What better way to understand your customers while also growing retention?
Create different polls and surveys in your Magento 2 store easily with Amasty’s Survey Extension. There are a range of different reporting features and you can customise your settings and URLs easily as well.
Many online sellers use Mailchimp as a quick and easy email automation tool but it’s also got a suite of other products that are great for small businesses. Mailchimp offers the ability to host surveys and also integrates with third party-tools.
If you use an eCommerce platform without any native integrations for surveys, you can create a free account with Survey Monkey and set up their Customer Satisfaction Survey in basically minutes. The downside to this is it may not integrate with your other tools and you may need to manually import responses.