Everyone knows it’s important to pay attention to customer feedback, but how can we use that feedback to solve customer problems and show that our users’ opinions are at the heart of our practices? By being the voice of the customer.
I'm excited to share with you my insights on the importance of the voice of the customer, as well as four key steps to implement the voice of the customer in your business.
In this article, I’m going to talk you through:
- Why it’s important to adopt the voice of the customer,
- An example of this implementation, and
- How you can implement the voice of the customer at your own company
What even is a customer?
It sounds like a silly question, but when you think about it, there is a huge gap in how we define customers. From a marketing perspective, you’re thinking, how do I attract them? Sales are thinking, how do I close the deal? Customer support is thinking, "how do I solve their issues?"
Everyone’s looking at their customers from a different perspective, which creates a huge gap to be filled. And we can fill that gap by learning to speak in the voice of the customer.
There is a GAP in every company
A customer is a user, a buyer, a decision-maker, and an influencer. Whether they’re happy customers or unhappy customers, all of them together help you build your ideal customer profile. To better understand their needs, you need to work on the voice of the customer, take ownership of it, and make it the universal language across your team.
One of the first things I hear when I talk about adopting the voice of the customer is, “but how am I supposed to stay on top of all my responsibilities and still keep the customer in mind?” That's a valid question, but what I’m going to share with you will actually help you to better structure your work while keeping the customer’s needs at the heart of your practice.
The voice of the customer at SafetyCulture
Before I share with you the four steps for implementing the voice of the customer, I want to give you some background on how we used it to drive success at SafetyCulture.
SafetyCulture is a mobile-first safety, quality, and operations inspection platform with hundreds of thousands of users globally. We have three big products on the market: iAuditor, our flagship product, where our customers can log inspections and incidents; Sensors, which monitor environmental conditions around your business; and TeamTrain, which companies use to provide their workers with microlearning.
We are a customer-obsessed company; we think of the customer in everything we do. I believe this is why the success of our voice of customer initiative was possible, and I believe that every company needs to be as focused as we are on the customer, and put them at the center of everything they do.
Our customer base is spread across industries as diverse as mining, retail, and manufacturing. We serve around 27,000 organizations, we have 100 million registered users across 82 countries, and we have around 600 million checks per year going into iAuditor. I share all this not to brag but to show you the kind of data that I get to analyze and act on to capture the voice of the customer.
I’ve identified four steps to utilize the voice of the customer in the most effective way and find out what it is that the customer really wants and needs. When you follow these steps, you’ll start seeing higher NPS, lower churn, higher retention, and higher engagement with your offer.
How to implement the voice of the customer at your company
1. Ask the right questions to the right customers at the right time
Customer feedback comes through a variety of channels, depending on where they are in their journey. You can look at NPS ratings, website traffic and conversions, customer polls, and loads of other sources. When you collate all of this data from your teams, you will gain a much deeper understanding of where your product is successful and where it can improve.
Another tool that I find invaluable for customer feedback is what I call Customer Live Polls. We have a lot of webinars, sometimes with up to 1000 customers registering, and we do live polls to understand what they think about a specific area of the product.
The two types of feedback, quantitative and qualitative, can be collected in a variety of different ways. Here are a few examples to get you started:
- App store reviews
- Website pages traffic and conversions
- Premium trial reasons
- NPS ratings
- Customer-facing roadmap votes
- Support and GTM teams feedback through a form
- Support center data
- Cancellation reasons
- Customer Live polls.
- App store reviews
- 7-day abandonment reasons
- NPS comments
- Sales and account managers' feedback
- Support conversations
- Support feedback
- Marketing feedback
- On-going research projects
- Focus groups
- Customer interviews
Qualitative feedback is extremely important too. If a customer abandons the product in the first seven days, we want to know why. We look at everything coming from our customer success managers and account executives and feedback that comes through support teams. We hold focus groups all the time to make sure that we are listening to the customer and understanding their needs and the job to be done.
2. Read between the lines and identify what customers actually need
When you’ve gathered all this customer feedback, you want to collate it and share it with your team in a data-visual way. Show them what’s important, what’s underserved, what the customer is satisfied with, and what the company needs to focus on and start building better. It's about looking at the customers’ jobs to be done and better understanding their unmet needs.
This area that I just mentioned – jobs to be done and unmet needs – is extremely important. By merging all of this feedback and reading between the lines of what the customer asked for when they came to us with a complaint or a suggestion, we can better understand their needs from a feature perspective. This, in turn, will help us to improve our offering and boost customer retention.
Once you have a clear idea of your customers’ needs, go to the product managers, the marketing team, and customer success and get their buy-in. This is a great opportunity to get their feedback too. You want to know if this is something that has already been tried before, or if your solution is related to another problem the company is trying to solve.
3. Estimate customer impact, business value, complexity, and sequence of events
Once you get everyone involved and they understand what you're looking for, you have to assess the complexity of your project and quantify its impact. If you believe that this is what the customer wants, then build the business case.
Figuring out the impact that your solution will have is going to be key to driving it forward. If you can show how your solution aligns with your ideal customer profile, and give realistic estimates of how that will reduce churn, improve retention, and boost expansion, you’ll have a solid case for your proposal.
You’ll need to get into the nitty-gritty too. What is the time to value? Who can build and action this solution? Is there a dependency that blocks you from taking action right away? All of this information is going to help you build a strong business case for a solution that hits that sweet spot of being desirable, viable, and feasible.
4. Commit to your solution and let your customers know
The final and most important piece of this process is letting the customer know you’ve taken their feedback on board and you're doing something about it.
At SafetyCulture we went public with our customer roadmap, where we show customers what we’ve recently delivered, what’s upcoming, and what’s under consideration. This is essential not only to keep them happy but also to capture more of those all-important insights.
Once you’ve delivered the feature, you can send out personalized emails about it. If you need people to help with a pilot or gather early feedback on your MVP, you can reach out to them and see what they think about your new solution.
By reaching out to customers in this way, you’re actively demonstrating that you care about them and their needs. What better way to build an outstanding, long-lasting relationship with your client base?
How are you implementing the customer voice in your marketing strategies? Head to the CMO Alliance Community Slack Channel and share your insights with CMOs and marketing leaders around the world.