5 good reasons to capture the voice of the customer

The term “voice of the customer” has gone viral. According to Google Trends, interest in voice of the customer has increased by over 100% worldwide during the past year alone. But why is it getting so much attention, and how can it help you and your employer?

Before going any further, let’s make sure we’re on the same page:

Voice of the customer is the process of collecting feedback from your customers related to their experiences and preferences and then sharing that insight internally.

Seems simple enough, but implementing it at the organizational level can be challenging. It requires cross-functional buy-in, and both an understanding for and execution on each step of the process. As a result, implementing a voice of the customer program can be a time-consuming and daunting task.

If implemented effectively, however, your voice of the customer program has the potential to significantly improve the operations of several functions of your business, and the experience of your employees and customers.

Here are the top five reasons to implement a voice of the customer program at your company:

1. It will allow your organization to become customer-centric

Customer feedback is relevant for nearly every area of business. But how can it help each of your teams become more productive in their work?

Product Management: A big part of the team’s focus is to maximize the value that your products and services can deliver for your clients. With this priority in mind, the team needs to get a handle on how their products are being used and understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of its various features.

The voice of the customer can play a pivotal a role in this process. According to a recent study of 200 Product Managers, more than half cited that feedback from customer surveys was “highly influential” in shaping their product roadmap. By giving customers a platform to be anonymous and asking the right questions in your survey, the responses are likely to be effective in determining whether products and features should be improved on, removed, or created.

Customer Support: The customer support process should never become static. It’s critical to understand how clients’ needs are changing and how their experiences can be improved on over time.

There’s no better tool than surveys for routinely gathering customer feedback at various stages of the customer lifecycle. The responses offer support reps an opportunity to assess the health of their accounts and determine which aspects of support are more valuable than others. The responses also give reps a handle on how each of their clients like to be supported, allowing the customer experience to become personalized.

Marketing/Sales: Without guidance from clients and prospects, your messaging will flounder. Marketers and sales reps need to understand why customers bought your products, how it’s helping them, and why your offerings differ from alternative options in the market. By polling clients and the stakeholders at your best accounts, your team will be able to understand and communicate the product’s value propositions more effectively.

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Proof points, which can also be directly attributed to the experiences of your clients, add additional credibility to your brand and products. According to a 2017 study by Demand Gen Report, 75% of B2B buyers place a high emphasis on the trustworthiness of the source. What’s more trustworthy than the experiences of your customers? Leveraging voice of the customer stories throughout the prospect lifecycle enables greater trust in your products and brand, ultimately enticing prospects to move through the purchasing funnel faster.

2. It will identify opportunities for sales

Sometimes customers will catch you off guard. Their perspective on engagement with your company may differ from yours. For example, a client might be more successful than you’d guess and request an upgrade to a more aggressive package. In another case, the client may tell you about another challenge that their organization is experiencing, unaware that it can be addressed by another one of your offerings.

The most efficient way to identify clients who are most qualified for additional sales? Make sure you’re asking the right questions!

3. It evaluates and rewards employees fairly

A critical piece in evaluating the performance of your support and success reps is to understand the quality of the relationships they have with their clients.

One way to measure the strength of the relationship is by using a traditional customer satisfaction metric, such as Net Promoter Score. A single standardized score gives management the ability to easily compare reps against each other, and see how they’re stacking up on aggregate to the score that your team is aiming for.

Incorporating reps’ NPS scores as part of their compensation package also incentivizes them to prioritize the client experience. Your reps will become increasingly motivated to understand an account’s health at a deeper level and take the appropriate steps to improve the engagement.

4. It guides your company strategy

A voice of the customer program can also give your team a better understanding of the challenges and priorities that your clients anticipate in the future.

This forward-thinking insight helps leadership more effectively align your organization’s efforts with the future needs of your clients. As a result, new features and products will be attractive and valuable to both clients and prospects. Planning in advance also allows your team more time to thoughtfully craft the roadmap and execute against it.

Entrepreneur David Cancel, CEO of a fast growing start-up (Drift) and advisor/investor to countless other start-ups, furthers the notion that the changes of a business need to move in parallel with the needs of their clients:

“Customer needs will inevitably change over time, which means your product will need to change too. There is no real end goal. The end goal is evolution.”

5. It gives your customers a platform

Have you ever gone on a 20 minute rant, sharing personal information that had been wearing you down for days, just from a question as simple as, “How are you feeling?”

Asking your clients a simple open-ended question can also prompt them to open up with new information. Even if the response isn’t necessarily valuable for your team, the client may feel relieved and valued just by speaking up.

Implementing a voice of the customer program

Though there are a variety of ways to collect feedback from your customer base, you can probably tell by now that we recommend using surveys.

Well-crafted surveys can be easy to take and provide clients with a way to offer their opinions through relatively private means. From your organization’s perspective, surveys offer time efficiency and scalability for both collecting and analyzing a wide range of answers from your customers.

Whether your organization is focused on gathering and leveraging proof points to support your marketing and sales teams or collecting customer satisfaction data to understand and improve on your client’s experience, SurveyMonkey offers a variety of tools and solutions that will enable your voice of the customer program to thrive.

3 quick tips to improve survey response rates

Here are some ideas to ensure that respondents will answer your surveys.

1. Be quick

If your survey is short and sweet, there's a greater chance that more respondents will complete it.

2. Offer incentives

Little incentives like small discount or an entry into a drawing can help ensure respondents complete your survey.

3. Buy a targeted audience

With SurveyMonkey Audience, you can purchase access to an audience who meets specific demographic criteria for your survey. It's a great way to get targeted responses from a specific group.

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