19 May Voice of Customer: Are You Doing It Right?
Here at Axiom, we are always touting the value of our research services when it comes to voice of customer (VoC) insights. Why? Because, like many modern businesses, we believe that the real strength of corporate success does not start with the corporation itself—it starts with the people to whom that company is catering, and then adopting and adapting business practices to meet the needs of those consumers. But research isn’t the only way to find value in VoC insights. Aside from its tremendous importance on the back-end construction of your corporate vision, VoC is also immensely invaluable in front-end implementation. In the digital age consumers want their own voices amplified—and given that the average customer trusts a fellow social media user’s opinion more than he/she trusts a brand’s content, that fact makes sense. As digital advertising and brand mainstreaming move more and more toward the single-voice magnification of the customer, your company needs to be ready to strategize and improvise. So, how can your business better augment the voice of its customers? Here are three of Axiom’s tips, not coincidentally called, our “Three C’s.” Customer Service We hear it all the time, but too many brands ignore it: the customer on social media is just as important as the customer in your store. Too often, brands do not know how to handle complaints or concerns raised on social media—so what do they do? They ignore them and hope they disappear. News flash: they don’t. In fact, they often just get worse. Make sure your business has a plan in place—and yes, we recommend putting a detailed guide on paper and circulating it around the office. Know that feeling when you’re chatting with a customer service representative online, and you get that stock response that’s clearly been copied and pasted? That’s not a bad maneuver if you are looking to streamline everything. Sure, it can be a little impersonal, but that’s also the point—by taking the personal aspect out of the responses, your business just might avoid the all-too-common peril of responding to an upset customer with something inflammatory or inappropriate. Now, that’s not to say that your responses should be distant and ambivalent. There is a middle ground. Write up a few go-to sentences that your employees should post, and make sure that they direct the social media user to call the office. Social networks are a great place for an upset customer to start a conversation…but they should never be the place where that conversation unfolds. Quell the storm, and move it to a more interpersonal medium. Collaborate It’s no coincidence that more and more brands are turning to social media users to make their corporate decisions for them. Take Lay’s, for instance. Their Do-Us-A-Flavor contest is one of the more brilliant campaigns we’ve seen in recent years. Why? Not only did the company create a contest that inherently aggregated fans’ attention toward the brand, but also, and perhaps more importantly, it ensured success for a new product by giving the final decision over to the fans themselves. In other words, when a company wants to introduce a new product and needs to ensure that it does well, who better to outsource that decision to than the very people to whom a business is catering? This version of collaboration then accomplishes user involvement in two ways, thereby bringing more customers into the fold, and successfully convincing them that their voices matter. With digital media, this type of crowd-sourcing is easier than ever. Content Yes, it seems a little disingenuous to talk about the value of user-driven content in a business-written blog, but some evils are necessary. As noted earlier, customers tend to trust other users’ opinions far more than they do the brands themselves—heck, there’s a reason that Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, and a whole slew of other businesses are successful. User-driven content works. So, why is your business only producing content in-house? Focus instead on amplifying what your customers are saying (with permission, of course…the law is highly applicable here, so make sure you are in compliance). By doing so, your business can incorporate user-generated content into its marketing plan, thereby seamlessly integrating real-time users’ opinions with what you’re trying to sell. What could be better? For more tips and tricks on Voice of Customer insights in the digital age, shoot Dillon White an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.