Marketing no longer defines a brand, it’s all about the customer experience which by 2020 will take over price and product influence when buying a product.
This means companies need to sit up and listen to its customers and this is where the Voice of Customer (VoC) program comes in. It lets you collect customer feedback, analyse the data and then act on the feedback.
“An effective VoC program will drive competitive advantage and can help marketers gain a seat at the executive table,” explains Qualtrics managing director Asia Pacific and Japan, Bill McMurray. “However, marketers should be aware of the common pitfalls that could hold them back from executing an effective program.”
There are, however, six mistakes to avoid when introducing the VoC program.
1. Lack of ownership
Some marketers take little ownership of their VoC program and rely entirely on someone else’s expertise.
“The best practice is for marketers to take control of their VoC programs to drive a customer-driven organisational culture. This does not mean that marketers have to do everything, but they do have to take control. It is only when companies exercise full control over all parts of their VoC programs that can they gain a competitive advantage,” says McMurray.
2. Failing to start small
Often marketers want to create programs that give them as much information as quickly as possible. However, not everything may be relevant to the business at the beginning and can distract from the focus of the program. Rather than overstretching the program too quickly, marketers should develop and build out programs in a modular fashion.
“Marketers need to be careful not to try and boil the ocean, but rather start with an initial focused program, learn, iterate and scale by adding more elements and metrics as their understanding of the customers becomes more sophisticated and their capabilities grow.”
3. Lack of leadership buy-in
Executive buy-in is needed to create maximum impact for any customer-centric initiative. Marketers need the support of senior leaders to establish a customer-centric culture and encourage others to improve the customer experience.
4. Poor employee engagement
Employee engagement is critical to excellent customer service. Often the fastest way to improving customer satisfaction scores is to increase employee engagement scores. More engaged employees provide a better customer service, which in turn drives customer satisfaction. This should be a key priority for any business.
5. Being reactive
Too often organisations are reactive to customer issues and simply ‘put out fires’. They often lack a vehicle to follow up on customer dissatisfaction issues or negative feedback. Marketers must take a proactive approach to their VoC program, which involves including an element of market research, to predict what customers want. This leads to delivering ahead of customer expectations and truly delighted clients.
6. Not taking action on customer feedback
Marketers that collect customer feedback and don’t do anything about it cause more damage than good to their brand.
“Customers will be more easily put off your brand because you didn’t respond to their feedback rather than by an initial poor experience,” McMurray adds.