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Voice of Customer (Voc) Program is Now More Important Than Ever

Your Voice of the Customer (Voc) Program Is Now More Important Than Ever

How do you cope when user needs are changing by the minute? With consumers currently reliant on online shopping for their needs, ensuring their digital journeys deliver as expected matters now more than ever. But how can you make it easy to deliver the successful experiences that they want?

With investment in user experience having the potential to double your revenue in 36 months, now is the time to act. But failure is not an option when it comes to understanding what customers need and you must create strategies that work.

In just half an hour, Chris Regan, Lead Optimization Strategist at Kin + Carta Connect, and Nindi Kalsi, Business Lead at Usabilla by SurveyMonkey, will discuss how to implement a Voice of Customer strategy that truly works.

Avoid the pitfalls that many face with VoC programs and remove the delays that often follow the data collection. Create a roadmap for change that resonates with your audience, both now and into the future.

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Chris Regan, Lead Optimisation Strategist - Kin + Carta Connect
Nindi Kalsi, Business Lead at Usabilla by SurveyMonkey


What is the ‘Voice of the Customer’? 

- Essentially, the voice of the customer really describes the feedback you can receive as a business, from your businesses and your customers. I mean, it's really about putting that feedback in the hands of the right people in your business that can do something about it that can drive that continuous improvement and enhancement. What are the outputs for it? What are the main advantages of doing or carrying out some form of voice customer listing? 1.) You can understand customer needs and wants, as core steps of your experience. So, as a commerce client, you might have search results pages, and you might wanna understand how well they're fulfilling their needs. Are customers happy with them, all the products being displayed relevant? You can now start to ask those questions and crucially get those answers. 2.) I also think it does a really good job identifying issues and bugs. So, you're visitors and your customers will be very, very vocal in telling you things that are wrong. And why wouldn't they? So, that something's not working on their device on their browser, we can now have the ability to understand that real time and do something about it. 3.) We're the first who are looking at optimising what we have, I think perhaps even more exciting is that we can now understand what we should be creating. So, what should be in our new product development pipeline? This too will tell us that areas and parts of the experience customers wish they had. And, that's something that is really, really exciting, we can then start to look forward, use the voice of customer data to drive what we do next. And, then the second part, I think, What value does it bring for businesses? I think we've discussed in a few talks already today, now is a time to listen and to act, businesses have changed overnight. And, a really nice stat is, 81% of businesses surveyed this year expect to be competing mainly or entirely on the basis of good customer experience. And, then perhaps even more importantly, 67% of customers are willing to pay more for that customer experience, that good customer. That for me is really compelling, and there are reasons straightaway to think about how we can start asking our visitors what they think, collecting data. So if once we’re collecting it, we know the areas we can start to do something about it. And, I think for me, success in this climate right now, is really taking a step forward in this area.


Have you noticed a change in demand for VoC data? 

Historically, we've seen the voice of the customer being more of a ‘nice to have’, an additive, something on the side. And, over recent years, we've seen a shift in from ‘nice to have’ to business critical. And, I think it's all around aligning with your users, co-creating with the users and rebuilding with your users as opposed to just following your users. So, really understanding what it is that they need, as Chris mentioned, not only what made those experiences, more, successful but what would they need next? So, how would their requirements change, how are we keeping up with their policies and their requirements? And Chris, you're right, two thirds of users will pay more for better customer experience now, in terms of investing in voice of the customer there's research to suggest that actually double your revenue in the next three years. So, now is really the time to act and so to work with your users. It's a little bit controversial but I think in my opinion, a lot of businesses have been too reliant on reputation alone and have been dictating what types of experiences their end users should get. So, for us, it's really about stepping on the same side and working one-on-one with our users and giving them that sort of sense of enjoyment and kind of participation when we create journeys for them. And, if you look at the climate that we find ourselves in, I think, Chris, you mentioned this before, but it's a very uncertain time. Because of the kind of climate the user's interactions with brands have changed, they're not going in store, for example, they're having to go digitally first. So, how are we able to understand those anxieties, those concerns, those frustrations? And, how do we incorporate that data into making sure that what we're building is the right thing for our users. So really, if we look at the unfortunate reality that we're in at the moment, now is really the time that we're able to kinda bounce back out of this with a really strong digital offering, 'cause ultimately, that's where our users will be looking for us first.

How do businesses actually start this process?

I think it can be quite challenging, there are five core areas that we recommend businesses look at when starting out. 1.) Making sure it aligns with your overarching business strategy and your goals. Let's not try and create some new measurement framework for the customer. I think, in order for it to be a long term success, you'll already have business goals. This is just a way that it can work into those, the voice of the customer can help you achieve those. So, having something like improving customer experience, likely isn't enough as an objective for this type of program. How can it work into improving returning purchase, right? How can it work into improving average order value? If you can try and align to the overarching business goals, it will stand you in really good stead in terms of actually getting this program off the ground successfully. 2.) Auditing - understand what you have and what you don't have when it comes to data. So, chances are, when you look at your whole customer experience and the customer journey, you'll have a lot of different data across that. It might be in certain silos, but really for me, it's about understanding that and understanding the gaps and then staying where the customer can really plug those. 3.) Process. And, we've been talking a little bit about that. but I think, from collection through to action, so how can you close that feedback loop? What things have you got to put in place? what plans you're gonna have in place for forums or mediums by which you're gonna share success? How are you going to report on customer satisfaction? Getting this right now and early on and understanding how you're going to act on the feedback that you receive will really benefit you in the long run. 4.) Executive buy-in, find the executive sponsors or just a sponsor for this type of program for the voice of the customer in general. It can permeate across the whole of your business, again it'll put you in a really good position for longevity. So, having someone from data strategy, UX Development, having someone that champions the value of this type of work and type of initiative across your business will mean, again you'll achieve longer term success. And a great way of doing this I find, is showing competitive advantage, perhaps and understanding, okay, your competitors are doing that over there? Why are they collecting data? Where are they collecting the voice of customer insight? Trying to bring this to the table that will ensure that the executive in your business will take notice. They'll understand that other people are doing this and why shouldn't we be doing it? And we'll practically start small, although you'll see your whole customer journey, pick an area that really, really well. But you've got constant data that understands that it's a problematic area, might be your checkout, it might be a product details, page of your comments. Start asking questions, understanding the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ that some of your analytics will give you and estimate five core areas, this will put you in a great position for success in this area.

Starting small is the best advice that I could give. It doesn't necessarily matter how you start, it's just about getting started. I think that's the best way of kinda putting a stamp on it. So, the lucky thing about the voice of the customer is that it's interactive and you can tell from me dipping out and coming back that it really is something that we can show me in real time. So, I think we have a couple of demo videos where you're right and the first is how you can actually start listening to users and working with them. So, if we can play the first demo video, fingers crossed, it won't kick me out. But this is an example if we're able to get the demo live, I think it's on its way. This is an example of how you can just start working with users. So just start asking why, So as you can see here, there's a feedback button pinned on the right hand side. As I said, we use Lexus as an example, because we've seen so much success with them. But, this allows you to capture the specific feedback and general feedback. 

So here a user, as you can see, is able to pinpoint parts of the page, or leave general feedback across the whole of the URL around the experience that they've had. So, this really allows you guys as a digital team to understand what's working really well for users equally and arguably more important, perhaps what's not working so well for those users. And, generally start to identify themes amongst what users are thinking or feeling as they interact with your website. And again, as Chris would have mentioned, about getting buying from different teams, you can start to map this feedback back against your roadmap or against general business objectives. So, what is the website aim to do, people coming here to find information or if you're a commerce site, are people here to buy. What is it that should provide a successful experience? 

So if we take a look at the next demo video, you'll see how Lexus spend a lot of time and through sort of joint work with them and we can call it we're working on a customisation piece for them. So, how can users who are on their site customise a vehicle spec? Or, how can they really get a one-on-one experience based on what they would like to purchase or look to purchase. So, we've got a really simple survey here, which is identifying users that have interacted with this feature, and then are showing exit intent on the page. This gives their product and UX teams all the information necessary to understand what's really working well with this product feature and ultimately, what needs to be improved for that general CSET or just general NPS score to be lifted. So these are two really, really simple ways of capturing feedback one from a kind of take a step back and have a look at general feedback site wide and other kind of mapping that against your product roadmap, understanding what features on a micro level are working and not working. But, hopefully you'll see how simple it is to do but also how enjoyable it is for the user to actually leave that feedback, which is paramount to getting these insights. So, yeah, I'll leave it at some, I'm conscious that I was a bit late so I don't know how I am with time.


How can we harness this data? 

You're starting to collect data, you're starting to clip sites, your understanding the needs and wants of your visitors. Then it's really about taking action and closing that loop as I mentioned earlier. I think, what we do know is only about 52% of people that leave feedback, believe and are confident that brands are gonna do something with it, which I think is really, really interesting and that spending on your brand and your business, I think be transparent about when you're actually making updates, making feedback. Making feedback tweaks as a result of this stuff you're gathered and you know about. If you can be transparent, recognise that you're taking into account what is right for the experience, your visitor already thanked you with return purchasing. We're breaking that down into actually how we should take action. I think number one for me is defining that process in a data model. There's lots of different ways you can do this but the way that I find really works with a lot of our clients, particularly with Lexus, where we wrote out a voice of customer program across 38 markets, 38 countries. Where we've actually looked at, it's more of a hybrid model. And, what I mean by that is, we've opened the door to the voice of customers, we've given everyone access to this type of data and insights. You can ask your own questions, you can actually then mine in every day if you want, you can then raise bugs and issues and you can push them up the chain to be prioritised and acted on, that can be product lead as well.

If you've got product experts in your business, let them have access, they're the experts, right? They can ask the right questions at the right time and gather that feedback, and it can be prioritised centrally but opening that door is what I would say. Secondly is more of a fundamental but dashboards I know we probably all have them, we all use them, We all either love them or hate them or find them. Equal parts of both are so we say but I think for this is now no different, we're going to need some form of reporting. So, we generate a voice a customer dashboard for a lot of our clients that allows us to monitor that continuing trend of customer satisfaction, their happiness scores, everything that goes with that across different parts of the website so fundamentally allows us to monitor the effect of our change, allows us to understand how are we doing this week versus last, this month versus last and is accountable so we've got something we can share within the business. So again, back to that point earlier kind of the success of the program is meaning shouting about it, sharing it, reporting is gonna really, really help you to do that. And then you can dive into Usable to really understand the why behind it. Thirdly is kind of making it part of your BNA to log in Look at feedback, understand what it is, raise it, share it, celebrate it. Again, continued success that will be accountable in this area, nominate someone in your business product champions to log in, make it part of their routine, share that data. I think I can't emphasise that enough. The more people that are talking about it, believe me it will stick. 

Integration is one that we found really, really beneficial. We work with a lot of minds. So, look at your current stack that you use, your current workflows, no doubt, a lot of you will use JIRA, a lot of you will use slack. Lots of these voices of customer technology will integrate seamlessly with them, which means that works into the current way of working that you already have. A lot of them as well will allow you to upload feedback specifically to JIRA as an example and it will again create a new workflow for it. So, use the technology to your advantage, it doesn't need to be reinvented. You've already got a lot of the tools there more often enough. Actionable buckets is my next one. And what I mean by that is, you're going to get a lot of feedback, the more places you add it, the more areas you've got to analyse, the more time it's gonna need. You can let the technology do a lot of the work. And, what I mean by that, you gonna get comments that are compliments, you gonna get comments, that are gonna be website issues, they gonna be suggestions. With a lot of the technologies now, you can now start to create themes. What I mean by that is, you might have a theme of development bugs, and then you can ensure that every comment that you receive on your site contains does not work, will not work, broken, can't use, will be assigned apps in something like that, that allows you to filter on it, report on it, push it up to the teams that matter. So, a lot of the technologies can voice a customer well, can do a lot of the work for you, so really recommend that. And lastly, shout about your work, create forums, voice the customer sharing forums again with Lexus, we have Webinars, we talk to the markets regularly, they celebrate success. That is so important, the more we are talking about that monthly, weekly, however you like using your dashboards I've already talked about that again will ensure that you are taking action, and you're closing that loop.

How can Usabilla’s platform support this?

- Yeah, it's a really good question, and it's a very timely question, because we're seeing more and more companies, kind of understand, as you mentioned, Chris, right at the top. Trying to understand or do you understand that they need feedback, but then what happens next, and that's kinda where we see results kinda tail off. And, it's something that's very consistent through workshops, as you mentioned, with Lexus or client sessions. But, it's about making sure that the right data is going into the right places. So, from an actual or more of a practical basis, it is having filters that are relevant, so the right feedback is going through to the right teams. Make sure that bug data for example, is going through to Dev Teams. And, optimisation feedback is going through to UX and product. You don't wanna get that the wrong way, because then it's just missed and it's just kind of sat there. 

For us we play around with this, it's a bit of a joke, but it is quite serious in that having loads of feedback, sitting in a dashboard or in an inbox is kind of like having a car without any fuel. So, it looks like it works 'cause on the surface, you have feedback, but it's not going anywhere, it's not doing anything. So, for feedback to be utilised, and by voice of the customer to be a successful part of business development and sort of growing revenue for business, it has to remain at the heart of each team. So, whatever you're working on, whatever part of the team or part of the business that you're in, it's about having access to data that is relevant to you. So it's all about accessibility, It's all about making sure that the right eyes are on the right data, 'cause ultimately, it's asking a bit too much of our teams to sift through thousands of items of feedback. It's about making sure that however your team or business is structured, if it's on a per journey or per section part of the journey. However a market based like Lexus, it's about making sure that the right data is in front of the right users or in front of the right teams, then you can really drive as making that a part of their workflow. So, it's really not about adding workflows or adding volume to workflows, it's actually about kind of taking a step back and optimising the effort and hard work that goes into making sure that all of our users are happy on a continuous basis.


What is a good response rate for user feedback?

You can imagine how popular a question is. So, we're going do some surveys, but who's gonna respond? So, it's a very popular question and it really depends on the style or survey of question that you ask. One of the things that is ingrained in our methodology, is asking questions that are relevant to those experiences. So, not just asking, traditionally, surveys might be awesome, and email two or three weeks after their product has been received, you're going lose a lot of the sentiment and real meaning behind that experience. So, for example, with the Lexus example that we looked at earlier, you're going to get a really high response rate. So, when I say high response rate, we're looking anywhere sort of 20 to 30% on completion, because the user has just completed that journey or they've just interacted with that part of the website, the survey or the question that you ask is super relevant to what they've just done, it's top of mind as well. So, the quality of the data that your going capture is going to be mind blowing. And, we actually refer to surveys as campaigns are usable, simply being you run that campaign for two or three weeks, you have all the data necessary, and then you move on to something else and you ask a different question. So, yeah, you would work closer to sort of 15 to 20% as a standard for the surveys that we do it usable.


How can we make VoC feedback more accessible to everyone?

I think we can we can certainly look at that. It's not so much of a use case we've worked so much on at the moment, I think with Usabilla I'm sure that's something that's on your roadmap at the moment. But, without a doubt we can look at that. I'd love to have a bit more of a conversation actually with you about it, because it's certainly an area known a lots of talks going on today about designing with empathy, and making sure that voice of customer deals with that and the right way, so without doubt, I think it's something that we should definitely have a follow up chat on 'cause it without that warrants the conversation

Just to jump in, now just gonna say I would love to be a part of that conversation simply because I know we work with so many nonprofits, and we work with so many different types of users. So, although I can't say that I've had the experience or the opportunity to do that so I would love to kinda learn more about that and equally, how usable it facilitates that alongside yourself, Chris, so yeah, really good point.

What is the first step of a VoC programme?

Just start asking questions and understanding your journey, where there are problem areas. So, if you're primarily working on the website, without a doubt, you gonna have an idea from your quantitative data where perhaps there are sticking points in that experience might be in the checkout, it might be a product list pages, product details pages, it might be really, really small parts of that journey. We can now start to ask why. So with Usabilla, you can ask lots of things in the form of exit surveys. When people are looking to leave the website, we can ask Why are you leaving? Is there something that was wrong with the page? From a landing page point of view When people are scrolling halfway down, you can ask, okay, is this meeting your expectations? Again, like I mentioned earlier, search results start asking if the content is relevant. So, there's lots of things you can do within your current journey. Without a doubt you probably have an idea, it's been bugging you why that is. You can use the voice of the customer to really understand the why behind what.

The first thing we do when we work with a new team, individual or business is that feedback button. So, surveys are fantastic, maybe post transactional exit intent, as Chris mentioned, how is your experience today? And, that's a great way of understanding and highlighting some top level themes, we find that, as I say, the first step for us is usually that button, put the button on your website and let your users come to you don't worry about asking too many questions initially, just let them come to you and tell you exactly what's up with your website, or with your app, or if you've got an internal and we haven't really spoken too much about sort of employee feedback or voice of employee, but at a time, which is so uncertain, there's now larger companies are trying to sort of delve a little bit deeper. And, so what is it that your employees are most concerned about? Or how can you talk to colleagues and peers? So, that button is a fantastic way of being able to highlight themes very, very quickly. Then Yeah, the next step is, as Chris mentioned, is honing in on those sticking points and really trying to understand the choke points and frustrations that your users are exhibiting. And then suddenly, now you're kind at stage three, which is hold on, we have a Voice of Customer Program, which is where we want everyone to be really being able to leverage your users as assets, not just as customers. That's an old school way of thinking, we need to be a bit more current now.

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