Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Everything you do, you do it for them (Bryan Adams style). Since customers are the ones who affect your bottom line and act as your brand advocates, think of the benefits of keeping them in the driver’s seat.
A Voice of the Customer program does just that. It helps you gather the right insights from the people intimately connected to your brand. With those insights, you can make better business decisions that keep you competitive and profitable.
Here’s a look at how to get your VoC program up and running successfully.
Step 1: Define your VoC strategy
You’ve heard it a million times, “start with the end in mind.” In other words, set goals based on what you want to achieve. When it comes to a VoC program, consider how you want your VoC to interact with your brand and corporate objectives. This includes defining key business issues to plan for like financial impact, driving culture change, and planning for product or service adjustments.
Create your plan
Once you’ve set goals, the next step is to create your plan for execution. Start with an audit. This will help you understand what tools you have at your disposal and what investments you may need to make.
During your audit, determine what data sources you have, what vendors you currently use, and what data you are already collecting. Once you determine what data you already have access to, determine if it’s enough. Are you already getting the right data, but just don’t have a plan to utilize it? Are you lacking when it comes to data collection in general? An audit will help you take stock of what you already have.
Next, you need a solid execution plan. An execution plan will ensure you have thought of everything when it comes to putting your plan into action. You need to identify:
- Who is involved with the VoC program (employees, teams, stakeholders)?
- Who owns what?
- How will you put your plan into action?
Once you have answers to each of these questions, have a project manager to assign tasks to each person involved, and set a launch date.
Create a follow-up plan
It’s exciting to start collecting feedback. But, if you’re going to request feedback from customers, you also need a plan for responding to feedback.
In a perfect world, all your customers would provide positive feedback, but this isn’t always the case. Customers that don’t like your products, services, or customer experience team will also provide feedback.
Before you even start collecting feedback, it’s vital to have a plan for how to close the feedback loop. In other words, what is your plan for managing complaints? Do you have a plan for responding to feedback? What kind of feedback will you ask your team to respond to immediately? How will you update your customers?
You want to make sure your VoC program is yielding positive results. Take the time to plan to close the feedback loop.
Step 2: Get executive buy-in
You’ve set goals, performed an audit, and created a solid plan for execution and responding to feedback. Now it’s time to get executive buy-in, so you can secure budget and internal support.
Here are some ideas for getting C-level backing:
- Seek out an executive sponsor. Getting someone to champion cause in executive meetings will go a long way. Approach someone you know with a vested interest in customer experience. With their support, you’ll see your VoC program goals included in company meetings and rallied from the top-down.
- Show them the business benefits. You’ve already done a lot of research on why you need a strong VoC program at your company. When presenting your case to the executive board, show them the data. If competitors are already benefiting from VoC programs, explain the advantage. Point out where your customers are experiencing gaps in service. Show them how VoC will help improve customer experience, lower churn, enhance marketing, and drive revenue.
- Involve stakeholders. There are plenty of people that influence business decisions that are not on the executive team (e.g. investors). Once you have the go-ahead from your executives, work with them to get buy-in from stakeholders. When you have the support of everyone on board, it’s easier to deliver value.
Remember, without executive support, your airtight plan will quickly crumble.
Step 3: Implement VoC tools
Yes! You have executive buy-in. Now, to get the most bang for your buck, you need to invest in the right tools to get started.
Pick the right survey tool
Picking the right survey tool is potentially one of the most important parts of developing your VoC program. With the right survey tool, you can rest assured you are creating surveys that are easy to access via email, mobile device, and desktop. You also have higher chances that your customers will engage with your surveys. And, you know you can quickly gather data and turn them into actionable insights.
Here are some things to look for when picking a survey tool. Your tool should:
- Integrate with a top email provider for easy distribution
- Provide templates and suggestions for creating top-notch surveys
- Allow for easy collaboration across departments
- Integrate with your CRM to enhance your customer data
- Incorporate voice of the employee surveys as well, for contrast and comparison
- Help you visualize feedback through user-friendly dashboards and summary reports
Consider the integrations you’ll need
We touched on this briefly above, but it’s important enough to dive a little deeper.
When it comes to distributing a survey, there are many different methods for distribution. However, not all methods are created equal. A generic point-of-sale survey won’t get the same quality of feedback as a personalized survey sent via email right after a customer interaction.
With the help of a 3rd party email integration, you can:
- Embed surveys directly into an HTML email
- Set up triggers to automate distribution at optimal times
- Create a cohesive design between email and survey
- Ensure mobile optimization of survey distribution
GetFeedback integrates with Campaign Monitor, giving you an easy way to send beautiful survey emails from within our app. You can also export an HTML email to send from your own email service provider.
When you use the export feature, you can choose to embed a survey question into your email, so respondents can start the survey right from their inbox. One-touch email surveys boost response rates by making it easy for people to give feedback.
Your CRM holds all the customer and business data that you’ll be analyzing alongside customer feedback. Integrating your survey tool with your CRM makes your VoC program that much more seamless.
Remember how we talked about finding a solution for closing the feedback loop? This is where a survey CRM integration works its magic. With GetFeedback for Salesforce, customer feedback flows onto the customer record, where it can set off follow-up alerts, trigger email notifications, and automatically update your dashboards.
With customer feedback lives alongside your customer data, you easily spot trends, address issues, and discover new opportunities for growth.
Step 4: Create Your VoC Survey
Voice of the Customer surveys are notoriously long and exhaustive because companies want to get all their questions answered at once. But if you’re not employing a market research firm or rewarding customers grandly for their feedback, 20 questions is just unrealistic.
We’ve all been on the receiving end of the endless, questionnaire-like survey. Questions are mundane and often irrelevant, so you answer thoughtlessly, if at all. That’s not the recipe for dazzling insights.
If you want to collect quality customer feedback, here are some tips:
- Avoid biased questions. It’s easy to influence survey takers without realizing it. The way we choose words and frame sentences can make a big difference in how people respond. Steer clear of these 7 biased survey questions.
- Stick to the essentials. Shorter surveys are better, period. If it takes your customers a few minutes or less to respond, your response rates will be higher. More data equals more action.
- Pick the right question types. What type of feedback do you need? What do you want to measure over time? Once you’ve honed in on your key customer experience metrics, you’ll be able to determine which question types make the most sense. For instance, if you want to study customer loyalty, you might pick the Net Promoter Score question.
- Optimize for higher response rates. Before sending out your survey, make sure to go through your pre-send checklist: preview your survey on mobile devices, make sure text is clear and readable, and adhere to survey design best practices. Be sure your survey email is properly optimized too. Here’s a handy email checklist from Campaign Monitor.
A VoC program will help you collect the feedback that can positively guide your business practices. The time is now to set up a VoC program.
Take the time to complete an audit, determine where the gaps are in your surveying capabilities, and set up a plan for VoC program implementation.
Sign up for a free trial of GetFeedback to start building your VoC survey today.