“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.” — Elon Musk
Voice of Customer feedback is not just insightful for Customer Support and Product teams. The process of collecting continuous feedback can actually unlock all sorts of benefits for increasing conversion, retention, and customer value across your entire company.
What is Voice of the Customer?
Just so everyone is on the same page, let’s define Voice of Customer.
Voice of the Customer (VoC) is the process of collecting insights into a customer’s wants and needs through their own words. It began as a way to link customer needs to performance measures in Japanese product development, but currently, it’s a popular method of market research and customer feedback collection for top performing companies in many verticals.
The process of collecting Voice of Customer insights is simple. As Jen Havice wrote on the ConversionXL blog:
The first step is always gathering customer feedback.
There are many methodologies you can follow, ranging from quick and easy to complex and time-consuming. Here are just a few ideas of the ways you can gather customer feedback:
Long form customer surveys
Phone call feedback
Live chat transcripts
Marketing email campaigns
Social media monitoring
Real-time feedback tools
Why Voice of Customer insights should be shared
Customer Success is a team sport.
In other words, in trying to reduce churn, many different teams exert some varying degree of influence. Here’s how a colleague of mine put it:
“Churn is a team problem, and the Customer Success department acts as the captain. They don’t single-handedly carry the team.”
Let’s say the breakdown of influence looks something like this:
It’s like the Product team is the car’s engine, and the Customer Success team is the gas.
If you can open up your insights somehow — it could be robust like using an internal knowledge management system or simple like an email newsletter or Wiki post — you can align your teams to improve your customer experience across the board.
How to use Voice of Customer insights across different teams
You can probably dream up more teams and use cases for VoC data, but to start, here are a few easy ways to deliver insights that help Product, Marketing, Sales, and Success.
How Product teams can use VoC
The impact of Voice of Customer insights on product is maybe the most obvious: without knowing the voice of the customer, your Product team doesn’t really have an idea of what to change, improve, or fix.
One of the easiest ways for Product teams to collect feedback is through an in-app feedback form. Usabilla gives you the option to gather both specific and general feedback about the product experience, plus users can actually highlight the specific element they’d like to comment on.
You don’t need to solely rely on straightforward in-product feedback, however. You can also source insights from your Customer Success team.
Think about it: who has more data on why users are churning, what features are most requested, and what the biggest user pain points are?
How Marketing teams can use VoC
Not long ago, marketers didn’t have much exposure to customers. They dreamt up clever campaigns and hoped they would speak to their customers’ hopes and desires.
Thankfully, most marketers know they need to occasionally step outside of their brainstorm session and actually hear from some real customers.
It’s easier than ever for marketers to find the “why” in their customer behavior data by using methods like on-site surveys; analyzing everything from product page friction to blog post sentiment.
However, the usual feedback loop marketers set up for themselves is somewhat short-term. By that I mean they can measure a message’s resonance once they generate a sale or a marketing qualified lead (MQL), but they don’t often hear about a possible message mismatch when a lead has converted into a customer and starts using the product they saw ads or read blog posts about.
This information can be incredibly valuable in crafting better copy and campaigns. It can set you on the path to true customer-centric marketing.
In addition, if we look further down the funnel, we can use this data to inform “customer marketing” efforts — turning our happy customers into our best salespeople.
How Sales teams can use VoC
While every customer experience is unique, there are some trends you can extrapolate from Voice of Customer data to help salespeople discover:
Biggest general pain points and frustrations.
How customers are comparison shopping.
What features matter most.
What would make a successful customer experience.
Furthermore, using a similar set of customer data helps to align Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success. Otherwise, goals become compartmentalized and Sales may be incentivized to bring in customers that don’t succeed and churn as a result.
For example, if customers see more value from using two products or services in tandem, salespeople should be incentivized to upsell customers on those benefits so CSMs can help them get more value down the line.
Customer Success: The engine behind it all
Finally, if Voice of Customer data is collected by the Customer Success team, then, of course, it’s useful for them, too.
However obvious it seems, different teams tend to work out of different applications and are therefore making decisions with different datasets. Aligning Customer Success team feedback with that of Product, Marketing, and Sales can make all the difference in delivering a better end-to-end customer experience.
Every part of the company has a responsibility and impact on lifetime value and churn, but when it comes down to it, the Customer Success Manager is the captain.
They should be tasked with collecting and analyzing customer feedback collected through surveys, comments, and conversations, as well as informing the other teams so they can adjust their strategies to bring more value to your customers.
Utilizing customer feedback can help our Customer Success team improve touchpoints — calls, emails, live chats, knowledge base articles, whatever — with customers.
But bringing the voice of the customer to your whole organization is where the real power comes from. That way, you help everyone improve the customer experience and customer retention; increasing both revenue and business results.
Customer feedback and Voice of Customer data can help each team in an organization operate more efficiently and with a straighter compass when it comes to customer goals and attitudes.
While you can collect this data individually and silo it along team division lines, it helps to have a centralized Voice of Customer fuel center (usually headed by Customer Success) in order to align company functions with the customer journey.