The data you gather is only worth something if you act on it. You can collect all the information in the world, but if you don’t analyze it effectively and use it to inform your decision-making and actions, you might as well not have collected it in the first place.
CustomerGauge research tells us that only 20% of companies understand how their customer experience (CX) supports their overall business strategy. And 62% aren’t even calculating the ROI of their CX.
A critical part of the CX program is voice of customer (VoC) research. But much like having a customer experience management (CXM) framework in place, you need to have a voice of customer framework in place to effectively leverage your voice of customer measurement for change, improvement and growth.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry. If you’re a B2B business, we’ve got you covered.
Voice of Customer Framework Essentials
Let's start by reviewing the essentials of voice of customer, including insight from our in-house expert, Cary T Self.
What is Voice of Customer Research?
Voice of customer surveys gather useful feedback from your customers about your brand, products, or services. They’re not designed to measure everything at once, but rather to give you regular insight into issues that could have a negative impact on your revenue and reputation.
VoC surveys are short and to the point. Ideally, they should have six questions or less. This doesn’t sound like much, but keeping them succinct is likely to give you a 5.3% higher retention rate.
Voice of Customer vs Customer Experience
Are voice of customer and customer experience the same thing? No, not quite. Think of VoC as an important piece of the larger CX puzzle.
VoC helps you to gather the right information from the right customer at the right time. It gives you immediate insight to ways in which your business is succeeding, and how things could be improved.
CX is the sum of all the interactions your customers have with your brand. It’s how they experience your marketing, sales, communication, customer service and everything in between. Prioritizing your CX can help you boost retention, reduce costs, bolster word of mouth, and improve your systems, products, and services.
VoC, in other words, helps you to close the gap between what your customers expect and the customer experience that you ultimately deliver. It’s one of the best means for you to collect information on how customers experience your brand.
What is a Voice of Customer Framework?
Your voice of customer framework is the model, strategy, or structure you use to measure, analyze, and improve the information you gather through your VoC surveys. It’s fundamental if you want the insights from your VoC surveys to positively impact your bottom line.
Like CXM models, your VoC framework should be inextricably interlinked with your revenue and operational metrics.
One of the best ways you can go about this is by collecting Net Promoter Scores from your customer feedback and tying them to account value. This helps you to understand which of your customers are experiencing what sorts of issues, and whether these problems pose small or significant business risks.
While all issues ultimately matter for customer loyalty, it’s important to focus on the highest value issues first. Otherwise you might end up like Simple Ways, who were blindsided when a customer worth $1 million left them, despite working hard on their CX.
Our research shows that 70% of companies aren’t using a CXM framework that links their CX data to their revenue. But by not making this link, they’re failing to understand the true value of their customers and they’re dampening the potential impact of their CX efforts, including their VoC data.
What are your 3 most important pieces of advice for driving growth with a voice of customer model?
We chatted to Cary T Self, CustomerGauge’s VP of Education, and 10+ year industry veteran, to find out how do drive real growth with a voice of customer framework.
"#1 Tie every aspect of your program to revenue. Not only is this the most important metric that your leadership and investors is constantly looking at, but it will also help you prioritize what is most important. With limited time and money you have to make decisions on what will have the biggest impact on your business growth."
"#2 This should go without being sad, but act on Feedback. Nothing pisses off customers, and quite honestly employees, more than taking the time to ask for feedback and getting it, then doing nothing about it. Why bother having the program if you aren’t going to create change from the feedback you are receiving. If driving growth was easy, everyone would be doing it, but if you aren’t even taking action on the feedback you are receiving, do not expect growth to be there."
"#3 Be customer centric. Every company we talk to including our own is driven by the investors and leadership, but in order to truly drive growth in an organization all of your decisions need to be focused on the needs of the customer. It is easy to believe that investors and Leadership know what is best, but the paying customers make their decisions on well a company responds to their feedback."
What are the Best Voice of Customer Frameworks for B2B Enterprises?
Okay, so what are your options? We’ve put the three best routes together for you below:
The Best Voice of Customer Framework for B2B: The Account Experience Model
CustomerGauge’s Account Experience™ CXM model allows you to monetize your Net Promoter program.
We designed this framework because we found that the market was lacking in a voice of customer model that was designed for the complexity of B2B customer relationships. In B2B, different things matter. For example, accounts are all different sizes and there are multiple stakeholders involved in the buying decision. Furthermore, there are far larger opportunities for upsell and referral in B2B—and these weren’t being built into existing experience models.
Monetized NPS™, which is the first part of Account Experience, comprises three primary elements: Measure, Act, and Grow.
Measure. Engaging with your customers to measure how they feel about your brand is the first, critical step. Start by implementing a strategic survey process, and listen to the feedback you receive through various surveys, such as NPS, CET or CSAT surveys, or a combination of all three.
Analyze your data closely to assess:
Whether your customers are promoters, passives or detractors
What elements of your customer experience need to be improved
What can be done to enhance your promoters and reduce your detractors
How you listen really matters. A critical part of the ‘measure’ step is who you survey and how frequently you do so. Read our NPS survey best practices here to learn more.
Act. By acting on and responding to customer feedback, you can actively change customer sentiment. There are two primary things you should do in this stage: close the loop and optimize growth.
Closing the feedback loop is a critical part of any effective NPS strategy in general. Why? Because it shows that you have listened to customer feedback and that you are putting in steps to improve your customer experience.
Then, our research shows that businesses that set NPS targets grow three times as fast as those that don’t close the loop, and yet 21% of companies still aren’t putting these measures in place.
Grow. Monetizing your NPS and growing your revenue takes place when you actively measure your retention rate, measure and analyze your referrals, and correlate revenue with NPS.
For many B2B brands with high numbers of customers, tying revenue gains to NPS can be tricky. That’s why 70% of businesses don’t do it. But you can aggregate the values for detractors, promoters, and passives to show how an increase in NPS can increase your revenue.
Here’s the pathway we lead our customers on to get set up with the Account Experience framework.
You can learn more about this process in our ebook: NPS 101: Retention Management to Combat Churn
Curious to find out if Account Experience delivers results? Ask our clients.
Alternative Voice of Customer Frameworks and Models to Consider
1. 5 Category Framework
The 5 Category Framework is a customer experience management model that focuses on five key areas: senses, processes, communication, expertise, and relationships.
The idea is that each category affects your customers’ experience of your brand. How your website looks, for example, engages your customers’ senses, while the way that your customer service team communicates with them affects the relationship they develop with your brand. Your job is to make sure that each of these touchpoints is properly optimized so that, when they answer your VoC surveys, you receive positive responses.
Unfortunately, though, this model doesn’t focus much on revenue. When business growth comes through by tying customer experience to your bottom line, this can be a serious weakness.
2. CX Operating Model
The CX Operating Model was developed by Deloitte, and uses four strategic areas to improve your customer experience: structures and functions, people and talent, governance and power, and data and systems.
While the structures and functions component involves improving CX delivery and operational enablement, people and talent refers to the way your teams are organized and work together. Both can have a huge impact on your CX.
Deloitte goes on to suggest that everyone in your company should be engaged with CX, and that the governance structure you use to run it should be guiding and supportive rather than commanding. And then, of course, there are specific data tools and systems you need to integrate to make sure your CXM runs effectively.
While this is a comprehensive framework, it does require a total restructuring of how your business works. With CustomerGauge, on the other hand, you can get going straight away.
How Do You Get Started With a Voice of Customer Framework?
So now you know that having a voice of customer model is important, where do you begin?
Start by understanding your customers. Know exactly who they are and what they might want and need in any interaction with your business.
Then, map the customer journey. This involves looking at every touch point a customer might have with your company. Start to identify potential issues as quickly as you can.
Resolve any issues and work, methodically and consistently, to build a seamless and efficient customer experience for your customers.
Use the data you gather through your VoC surveys to feed into and improve your strategy over time.
The following best-practice steps will also help:
Link NPS to revenue as tightly as possible. To understand the real value of your CX, you should be able to attribute a specific financial sum to every NPS point you gather through your VoC data.
Get buy-in from the whole organization. For your VoC strategy to be a success, everyone needs to be on the same page across all levels of your organization. This includes your c-suite too. Do they need convincing? Showing them how it affects your bottom line will help.
Combine relationship surveys with transactional surveys. CustomerGauge research shows that using both can increase customer retention by nearly 5%.
Remember the importance of NPS. As your priorities change into the future, it’s easy to take NPS for granted. Don’t. Returning to your customers regularly will keep your CXM efforts fresh and relevant. Read more: What is a good NPS score?
Invest in technology that supports your strategy. Tools that can automate your CXM processes and give you actionable insights to improve will be indispensable.
We also recommend you speak to a business that eats, breathes, sleeps customer experience management. They’ll be able to analyze gaps, leverage opportunities, and—if their focus is on maximizing your financial returns—monetize this process for you, too.
Book a meeting with our sales team to learn more about how CustomerGauge can help you build a successful voice of customer program.