The voice of the customer is more than just feedback; it's the cornerstone of a thriving business. When customers share their thoughts, they're essentially guiding the company on how to meet their needs better. According to a Microsoft study, a staggering 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a new company. This statistic alone underscores the critical role that customer voice plays in business success.
Why It Matters: Customer voice helps in product development, improves customer service, and even guides the marketing strategy.
Highlighting the Disconnect and Inconsistency in Customer Voice Programs
Unfortunately, the customer voice often gets lost or diluted as it travels through the different departments in a company. Sales might hear one thing, while customer service hears another, leading to a fragmented approach to problem-solving and product development.
This inconsistency often leads to missed opportunities and can even cause customer churn.
The Current Landscape of Customer Voice Across Teams
In many companies, each team—be it Sales, Marketing, or Customer Success—works in its own bubble. They collect and analyze data independently, which often leads to a disjointed understanding of customer needs and wants.
The Downside: This siloed approach makes it challenging to form a cohesive strategy for customer engagement and satisfaction.
Dissecting the Broken Nature of Voice of Customer (VoC) Programs
Many Voice of Customer (VoC) programs are excellent at gathering data but fall short when it comes to translating this information into actionable insights.
Here are some important numbers to show how often we use this data and how it’s collected;
- A Gartner study revealed that only 29% of companies systematically act on the feedback they collect.
- 46% still manually generate insights from historic support data and customer feedback
The Gap: The data collected is often voluminous but not structured in a way that makes it easy to act upon.
The Disconnect Between Product Usage and Customer Value
It's common for teams to focus on metrics like user engagement and time spent on the platform. However, these metrics don't necessarily translate to customer satisfaction or value.
The Oversight: High usage doesn't always mean high satisfaction.
What Works and What Doesn't: Team Strategies for Customer Insights
In this section, we'll explore specific approaches that teams typically take to gather and interpret customer voice. While each team has its own set of methods and metrics, they often come with inherent limitations that can hamper a unified understanding of the customer.
Product Teams: The Data-Driven Approach
Product teams are often the architects of the customer experience but ironically can be far removed from the actual voice of the customer. They usually rely on hard data and user research to make decisions, but this approach has its pitfalls.
- Reliance on Data and Interviews: They heavily rely on analytics and occasional user interviews to guide their decisions.
- Not Understanding the 'WHY': They may know what features are being used but often miss out on understanding why those features are popular or if they are having a negative impact on customer value.
Challenges: The focus on quantitative data often leaves a gap in understanding customer sentiment and nuanced feedback.
Customer Success: The Relationship Builders
Customer Success teams serve as the face of the company for existing customers. They are not just relationship custodians but also significant contributors to revenue growth. This dual role makes them crucial in both maintaining customer satisfaction and impacting the company's bottom line. However, balancing these two aspects can sometimes lead to challenges.
- Gut feel: Customer Success teams often strategize based on relationships and one-on-one interactions, which can sometimes cloud objective judgment.
- Relationships over Revenue Generation: Customer Success teams are increasingly tasked with driving revenue and increasing NRR. Their initiatives directly influence a company's financial health, from onboarding and renewals to upselling and cross-selling. But their dual role in managing relationships often come at the expense of revenue or vice versa.
- Siloed Insights and Metrics: The data that informs Customer Success strategies is often siloed, fragmented, or misaligned with their core objectives. This makes it difficult to have a unified strategy that serves both relationship-building and revenue generation.
Relying too much on relationships can lead to biased or incomplete feedback. This approach may not represent the broader customer base and could miss out on critical data points that could drive revenue.
Sales: The Deal Closers
Sales teams are focused on one thing: closing deals and often net new customer acquisition. They often rely on win-loss data to gauge their performance and understand customer needs. However, this narrow focus can lead to missed opportunities for deeper insights.
- Reliance on Win-Loss Data: Sales teams often focus on the end result—either the deal was won or it was lost.
This binary approach doesn't provide insights into why a deal was lost or won, missing out on valuable feedback.
Marketing: The Trend Trackers
Marketing teams play a crucial role in understanding what's hot and what's not. They keep an eye on market trends and customer likes and dislikes to create campaigns that hit the mark. But how they gather this info can sometimes be a bit old-school and come with its own set of problems.
- Outsourced Insights: Marketing teams often hand over the job of market research to specialized firms. These experts dig deep to find out what customers really want.
- Surveys and Reviews: Another common method is using customer surveys and online reviews. These can provide quick insights into customer preferences and market trends.
High costs, time lag, limited scope, and data overload can make it difficult to get actionable insights.
The Need for an Aligned Customer Voice Strategy
Having a unified strategy for collecting and interpreting customer voice is not just beneficial—it's essential. A well-aligned strategy ensures that all teams are on the same page, leading to more effective decision-making and, ultimately, increased revenue.
The Upside: A unified approach can lead to better customer retention and more effective up-selling and cross-selling strategies.
Characteristics of an Effective Customer Voice Program
An effective customer voice program is continuous, targeted, actionable, and trusted across the organization.
Continuous Feedback: The program should be designed to collect feedback at every customer touchpoint.
Asking the Right Questions: The quality of feedback is often determined by the quality of the questions asked.
Making Feedback Actionable: The program should translate feedback into actionable tasks and goals.
Trust and Consistency: Data should be consistent and trusted across all teams to be effective.
In today's competitive business landscape, the voice of the customer is more crucial than ever. Companies that invest in understanding and acting upon this voice are more likely to see sustained growth and customer satisfaction. It's high time for businesses to re-evaluate their current strategies and align themselves more closely with what their customers are saying.
Ignoring the voice of the customer is no longer an option. It's a necessity for survival and growth in today's market.
Unlock actionable insights across your teams today with a unified customer voice strategy—because asking the right questions at the right time can transform your business. Learn more about TheySaid’s Customer Journey Pulses.