Five ways to build a voice of the customer mentality


1. Bring teams together for a holistic understanding of the customer


2. Focus on the customer experience, not the features


3. Fix problems first, then add new capabilities


4. Think creatively about what customers want


5. Seek continual improvement


Listen to the voice of the customer by working together and sharing data

Your customers are talking to you. How do you get your entire organization to listen? To adopt a voice of the customer approach, you’ll need to create a company culture in which everyone sees themselves as customer champions. 

A customer-first culture is the foundation that brings functional teams together to reimagine the way they do business. Customer experience data —also known as voice of the customer data—is the fuel for understanding how users really feel about your products, your customer support, your distribution and fulfillment systems, and your messaging. 

It will take time and effort to truly see your business from your customers’ perspective.  Here are five ways to get started.   


1. Bring teams together for a holistic understanding of the customer

Different teams—product management, user research, customer support, marketing, and sales—view customers from different perspectives, but all must work together to develop a holistic view of their needs. Shared data on customer experiences is a great start.  

Data that might seem like the purview of customer support should be shared broadly with the entire organization. That includes support tickets, customer satisfaction (CSAT) or net promoter score (NPS) surveys.  

User research surveys and focus group research conducted by the user experience team; social media engagements and product reviews typically “owned” by the marketing team—all should be shared broadly if the entire organization is to effectively advocate for customers. 

Then, by incentivizing cross-functional, team-led success metrics around the customer experience, you can ensure that all functional teams share a common understanding of customers’ pain points and the needed product improvements. 


2. Focus on the customer experience, not the features

Too many times, companies get caught up in adding features rather than understanding the needs of their customers.  

Voice of the customer data gets past your organization’s often siloed view of how your products work and what your sales and marketing campaigns should focus on.  

Analyzing this data—particularly qualitative customer feedback—will help you learn how customers navigate your product or customer service systems. You can then focus on what they’re trying to do and how you’re helping or hindering them from accomplishing it.  


3. Fix problems first, then add new capabilities

Voice of the customer data can identify points of friction in the buyer’s journey, that is, places where customers tend to drop out without buying.  

For example, maybe your check-out process is confusing. Maybe shipping costs are higher than customers expect. Or they can’t get through to customer service to answer questions about the products they’re ordering. Address problems that are costing you sales right now first. You can always add new capabilities after these problems are solved.  


4. Think creatively about what customers want

Customers know what’s bothering them, but they don’t always understand the best way to fix it. That's why user research best practices recommend digging deep in open-ended conversations with customers or surveys to uncover their pain points and understand their workflows. Asking "what features would you like to see?" rarely leads to the solution that actually solves a customer's problem, especially for complex solutions.

User research and feedback surveys are great sources to get at the root of what makes customers tick, what excites them, and what turns them off. Then, it's the job of the user research and product teams to transform this type of feedback into meaningful product or service changes. 


5. Seek continual improvement

Voice of the customer analysis is never over. You’ll need to frequently seek customer feedback to know how their perceptions, priorities, and experiences are changing over time; you’ll want this feedback to continuously inform your product strategy. Every time you use voice of the customer data to make product improvements, you’ll need to test and retest customer perceptions to find out if you are really addressing the problem.   


Listen to the voice of the customer by working together and sharing data

Understanding your customer well requires engaging your whole organization, including product management, customer support, marketing, sales, and operations teams in an integrated effort to see things from the customer perspective.  

Customer experience data that can be easily shared across functional teams is the foundation of a voice of the customer program. Aggregating different datasets and structuring them for easy analysis is where Viable can help. This frees up time so teams can focus on putting insights to work. 

Breaking down your strategy into manageable steps will make it easier to build a culture where the customer experience drives business decisions and ultimately growth.  

Viable Team

Viable Team

Staff

Last Updated: 05/26/21

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