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Blog

Jan 13, 2017

3 Essential Elements for a Successful VOC Program

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Voice Chat

[Estimated read time: 4 minutes]

How important is customer feedback to you? Understanding how to meet customer expectations will have a significant impact on your company strategy and overall success. This is one of many reasons companies are implementing voice of the customer (VOC) programs.

"Voice of the customer" refers to information gathered about your customers throughout their journey with your brand. Insight from VOC can be used to find areas of improvement and track progress against current goals. Once companies understand the three different customer voices, they can begin to use the data to reveal customer expectations and improve the customer experience.

To get the most value from these programs, it isn’t enough to just implement them and hope for the best. Here are three fundamental elements that make up a successful VOC program.

1. Gather feedback at multiple touchpoints

VOC depends heavily on high-quality data, which is why collecting information from every interaction needs to be one of your top priorities. This includes gathering data from social media, surveys, reviews, and other unstructured data.

Tracking data from a combination of sources will give you a better picture of how customers view your brand. Surveys, for example, solicit feedback after customers interact with your brand. They can be presented in a variety of ways, such as:

  • At the end of a live chat
  • A pop-up on your website or app
  • Order confirmation emails
  • Alongside a self-service response

The closer the survey is to the interaction, the more accurate the result. 

In addition, social media has become a major source of data as companies can engage directly with customers. However, only 29% of CX pros say they collect and report on social feedback in their VOC program. This is unfortunate as companies can use social to quickly identify and resolve issues. For example, American Airlines learned from customers on Twitter that they were unhappy with music played on their planes. Shortly after, they switched out the music for something better.

2. Leverage technology to make feedback timely and actionable

Customers want their interactions with brands to be quick, convenient, and easy. This means not having to change their language to fit what companies are looking for. Being conversational in customer experience matters, which is why social media is great for staying alert to trends and communicating with customers in their own words.  

Social Listening 

Being aware of social chatter helps businesses stay current and alert to what customers are saying in a timely manner. This practice, referred to as social listening, is actively observing what is being said about your brand, your industry, and your competition on social media.

Unfortunately, only 24% of brands say they use social listening at all. Arguably, it can be difficult to find relevant information in the noise, but using the right social media monitoring tool can better inform your decisions and strategy.

Social media engagement happens in the moment. As such, having an analytics dashboard that enables you to monitor conversations and trends real-time will help your awareness of current social activity. Leveraging a social media management tool with this feature built in allows for a complete view of interactions, reach, demographics, geographic locations, engagement, sentiment, and trends across the social web. 

Natural Language Processing 

Misinterpreting customer questions or comments could lead to the wrong conclusions. For accurate understanding, natural language processing (NLP) can provide incredible benefits for customer engagement. 

When combined with social listening, NLP offers the ability to understand meaning and intent behind customer comments and questions. This ultimately helps in identifying relevant and urgent information from the noise on social media and establishes a direct line between company and customer. As a result, you can get insight into how to best serve your customers. The technology also allows you to follow up promptly and diffuse negative situations. 

3. Turn insight into action company-wide

If a VOC program is really going to be effective, it needs to change company culture. This includes affecting daily routines as well as training and rewarding employees. Training in particular needs to explain to employees why this data is valuable and what they need to do with it. Crowe Horwath, for example, has their VOC team meet with other employees regarding what is driving customer experience and success stories on how they’ve delivered on those factors.

Active participation from executives is another huge part of changing the company culture and implementing VOC. They are responsible for creating awareness of the program and the value to the company. Giving managers and decision makers access to detailed reports allows them to quickly identify and respond to problems, trends, and opportunities. Any customer issues ultimately impact finances and with full support the VOC program becomes the best way to fix critical customer issues.

For more information on how Astute ePowerCenter and Astute Social can help you form better voice-of-the-customer understanding, contact us for a demo.

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