Voice of the Customer

4 Expert Tips for Creating a VoC Program

Voice of the Customer (VoC) may be a term used by businesses and contact centers, but it’s also a straightforward technique: collecting customer feedback – their “voice” – to figure out what their expectations are and whether or not you’re giving them the experience they want.

A VoC program has four parts to it:

  • Listening by collecting data
  • Understanding and gleaning insight from the data you’ve collected
  • Distributing those insights to your team
  • Taking action

Here are four ways to knock your VoC program out of the park.

  1. Create the plan backwards.

It’s difficult to create an effective VoC program if you don’t know the end goal. Figure that out first, taking into account your customer personas, and then start creating the roadmap that will get you there. From there, add the metrics you’ll need to collect and strategies for collecting them.

  1. Ask new questions.

If you’re going to use surveys as part of your VoC strategy, limit the number of questions you ask the customer. To do this, remove any questions you already know the answer to. The idea here is to uncover the most valuable information, which is the info you don’t yet have – this isn’t the place to get confirmation on the answers you already know.

  1. Think outside-the-box when listening.

In the past, rankings, scores and structured surveys were the main ways of collecting VoC data. Those techniques alone don’t work anymore, though, especially with so much unstructured data out there. Today’s data needs to include things like chat logs, social comments, social reviews and voice recordings.

  1. Just get started.

Start collecting data ASAP while you work on the rest of your VoC program. It’s easy to fall into the trap of waiting for everything to be perfect before you start gathering VoC information, but the truth is that your VoC program is going to continually evolve and change, and you’re going to be refining your strategy for as long as you have customers.

Don’t be afraid to jump in by choosing one touchpoint and one metric and just starting – refer to your customer journey map to choose an important one. To measure, isolate the treatment group so you can split-test your strategy.

By tuning into the voices of your customers, you have a better chance of improving customer engagement and the customer experience as a whole.

How Inconsistent IVR Personas Damage Your Brand

Imagine coming across an Instagram post for a brand you’ve taken notice of a few times before. You love their aesthetic and they have a product you’ve always wanted to buy. You decide that it’s time to make a purchase. First, though, you have a couple of questions.

You call the company, expecting an exchange that’s reflective of the warm, kind, youthful energy they exude on Instagram. What you get, though, is a cold, to-the-point response, making you stop to wonder if you dialed the wrong number.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems may technically be robotic, but they can also be personalized to your brand. Your IVR needs to give your customers the same impression that your website, live agents and marketing campaigns do. If your IVR doesn’t sound on par with your brand, it could easily turn off customers.

Stay True to Your Brand Voice

Your brand’s voice includes specific words, overall language and the general attitude that your IVR persona should convey. You’ll want to record your IVR prompts using a brand-appropriate persona. Refer to the style guide for this – the brush-up won’t just help your IVR, but your entire team of agents, too.

Avoid Common IVR Persona Mistakes

Regardless of the brand voice, there are a few things that no customer wants to experience when they call your support line, no matter what you’re selling. Avoid IVRs that sound too mechanical. Don’t use strange or unnatural language. Limit the different voices customers hear, and use only trained voice actors for prompts. Make sure the IVR is actually helpful ­– the last thing a caller wants to do is use a different avenue of communication to get the help they need.

Instill Trust in Your Customers

Having a consistent brand voice does more than just make your company seem unified. Behaving consistently also instills trust in your customers, which can improve loyalty. Plus, your customers are more likely to recommend your brand to others, come back as repeat customers, and even stick with you should your prices increase.

One Last Thing

Want to know if your IVR persona is truly hitting the mark? Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and call the IVR yourself. Pay close attention to how it speaks to you. If you find the persona jarring, chances are your customers are going to be even more affected by it.

 

4 Best Practices for Your Social Media Customer Service Strategy

The days of wondering whether or not your contact center needs to have a presence on social media are over: the answer is a resounding “yes.” Now, the main questions revolve around how you should be listening and responding. Here are four tips that will help your agents build beneficial relationships with customers through social media.

  1. Use the right platform.

Not all social media platforms are created equal. For example, Instagram and Pinterest are ideal for image-focused brands, like retail shops, while LinkedIn may work better for B2B companies. The ideal social media platform is the one where your target customers are ­– don’t waste time on the others.

  1. Keep track of mentions.

Staying on top of customer needs doesn’t mean staring at your feeds all day long. There are plenty of listening tools out there to help you monitor when your company or product is mentioned online, even if your profile isn’t tagged (which it probably won’t be). Modern contact center software with social media integrations will put these mentions right in your help desk. (P.S. Make sure to monitor for common misspellings, too.)

  1. Respond quickly.

Customers use social media for convenience and speed, and you need agents who can respond quickly. Since social media is based on live feeds, customers have different expectations than with other communication platforms. Whereas a 24-hour response time may be okay for email support, a 30-minute or 60-minute response time is expected on social media. You may need to adjust your scheduling to accommodate for this quick response time, especially during something like a product launch.

  1. Customize your tone.

Tone is important for customer service overall, but with social media it can trickier to (1) figure out the right tone for the situation at hand and (2) fit an appropriate tone into a character limit, like on Twitter. Here are three quick tips for getting the tone just right in-the-moment:

  • If the customer uses a casual tone, like through slang, exclamation points and emoticons, you can reciprocate.
  • If the customer doesn’t seem to be 100% fluent in the language, keep your tone basic and avoid nuances.
  • If the customer is agitated, be more empathetic and apologetic than usual.

 

While social media support is a necessity for contemporary customer service, you can simplify the process by following these basic, tried-and-true tips.

Satisfying the Mobile Customer During Micro-Moments

Brands can no longer consider mobile strategy to be insignificant. Today’s smartphone users check their phone almost immediately upon waking and they keep their device by their side for a majority of the day. Micro-moments, which are the crucial mobile moments of truth during the digital customer journey, influence purchase decisions.

The Four Types of Micro-Moments

1. I Want to Know: The consumer gathers information about a topic or product.

2. I Want to Go: The consumer wants to know where to go and when to go there for either an activity or to find a product.

3. I Want to Buy: The consumer gathers information about purchases, opinions, special deals, facts and comparisons regarding products or services. They may do this when they’re in the brick-and-mortar store.

4. I Want to Do: The consumer gathers how-to information on a variety of topics, like home repair or beauty techniques.

During these micro-moments, brands have the opportunity to serve the customer in three main ways:

1. Be present.

During the “I want to know” micro-moment, make sure it’s your brand’s information that shows up in search results. To do this, the metadata of your content (titles, descriptions, tags) must be optimized. Figure out which terms people are using when searching for the type of content you product. When developing your content, include information about your niche, not just your brand. Consumers often search for a category, not a specific company, when looking for a product or service. Your content should incorporate industry-specific trends, topics and events.

2. Be helpful.

Consumers prefer to choose brands that regularly provide them with helpful information, like how-to guides and unboxing videos. To generate content ideas that satisfy your “be helpful” goal, read comments on your own content or on the content of your competitors. This is where you’ll discover needs that have yet to be filled. What are people still trying to learn? What questions haven’t been answered yet? You can also straightforwardly ask your customers what they want. For example, send a poll or questionnaire to your mailing list to find out their most plaguing questions or what kind of content they’d like to see from you.

3. Be fast.

The purchase process a customer goes through has to be quick. If there are too many steps, they’ll go to another brand. Eliminate as many steps as possible and consider enabling one-click functionality. The opportunity to make a purchase should be obvious and at the beginning of your content.

Register for the Journey of the Connected Customer Virtual Conference to learn more about the Mobile Customer.

Customer Journey Mapping Techniques: Research and Behavioral

There are several different approaches to mapping the customer journey. Two popular techniques are research mapping, which involves voice of the customer data, and behavioral mapping, which determines the customer’s underlying reasons for taking certain actions.

In general, improving the current customer journey map follows four main stages. First, it’s necessary to create a framework that includes the standard stages of the journey that practically any customer and persona will go through, like making a purchase and requiring customer service support. Then, you need to map the current customer journey, including the various channels and touchpoints that different customer segments will experience. Next, you’ll have to create a future customer journey map that improves upon the current customer journey. Lastly, determine where the gaps are between the current and future customer journey maps and decide how to close those gaps.

How you create a future customer journey map and close the gaps will vary, depending on the approach you take.

Research Mapping

Voice of the customer research is used to determine if the current plotted customer journey is truthfully reflecting the actual customer experience. Both qualitative and quantitative research are used to create a prediction-based map. Voice of the customer data helps the brand plot both the current and the predicted performance at various touch points. These plot points, also called CX Curves, help determine the Moments of Truth, which are the instances when the customer has their greatest expectations. Pain Points are included in the Moments of Truth, referring to the times when the brand is performing at its lowest, especially if there’s a major gap between the customer’s expectations and the company’s performance. Voice of the customer data also helps the brand determine what drives certain behaviors, such as brand loyalty and repurchasing.

Behavior Mapping

For behavior customer journey mapping, a creative approach is taken, similar to storytelling. Touch points are assessed to determine what the customer is thinking, feeling and doing at those moments. With a behavioral science approach, customer journey mapping is based on both the behaviors of the customer and the reasons behind those behaviors. A narrative is created that details how various customer personas will behave throughout the journey. While behavioral mapping is used to design real life experiences, like when a customer enters a retail store, it’s also used for virtual settings and when the customer calls a contact center.