It is January and an excellent time to begin listening the voice of the customer (VOC). Regardless of whether or not your focus is consumer-based or B2B market research your customers (both existing and prospective) have something to say. Are you listening?
If you do not have a formal VOC program you are not alone, nor should you fear getting a program started. Yes, there are costs involved, but the question remains: what are you missing out on by not incorporating customer feedback into your marketing and business efforts? The simple answer is lost opportunities to gain market share and the ability to contain costs. Both of these actions are critical if your organization is to grow in an otherwise sluggish economy. In fact, it is when growth is difficult to come by that investments in voice of the customer are the best prescription.
Why you may ask? When the economy is growing significantly, company revenues will grow almost in spite of themselves. However when there isn’t a growth wave driving increased sales and profits, incremental gains must come from increased cost consciousness and market share gains. These can only be achieved if you are fully aware of what matters most to your customer segments.
A VOC program should include both qualitative and quantitative research components. These can be supported by an online survey program such as Cvent, any of the numerous online qualitative research tools, as well social media listening. An effective VOC program must focus on key market segments and what drives their purchase process. It also must include input from your employee base. As Zig Ziglar would say, “Not everyone is in sales, but everyone can impact a sale.”
Employees from sales, fulfillment and even finance have insight into what customers are thinking. Hence it is critical to include employee feedback into your VOC program.
Yes it is January and it is cold outside, but the customer, their opinions, and their dollars do not hibernate in the winter. Now is the time to begin exploring ways to incorporate their voice into your marketing, product development, customer service and operational processes.
For more tips, download our 5 Steps for Driving Sales with Customer Insights whitepaper.