Voice of the Customer (VOC) is about more than confirming customers successfully reach their destination—it’s about knowing how they got there.
And there are now more ways than ever to get a highly detailed view of the customer journey. Collecting individual data—instead of aggregate data—not only tells you what exactly successful customers look like, but it allows you to personally engage with them. Now, you can let customers know what you’ve done with their feedback, making them feel more like a partner than a consumer.
In a webinar earlier this year, Using Voice of the Customer to Grow Your SaaS Business, we chatted with Ellie Wu of SAP Concur & PictureCS and Charlie Colquhoun of SimplyCX about some of the top emerging trends in voice of the customer initiatives. Here are three trends in the VOC space you can—and should—leverage to create an optimal customer experience.
VOC Trend #1: AI and machine learning
Even though artificial intelligence (AI) possesses astounding capabilities to measure customer sentiment, customer success teams haven’t yet fully harnessed its power. A staggering 85% of executives believe AI will allow their companies to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage. Yet only 5% of companies have extensively incorporated AI into their processes.
What’s so promising about AI? In quantifying customer sentiment, it’s vital to addressing a universal challenge: timing.
AI offers a glimpse into the most optimal points in the customer journey to solicit feedback. It has the power to go beyond sampling and customer surveys, letting you analyze emails, social media posts, contact center calls, letters, forum complaints, and comments—information that doesn’t fit into discrete categories.
With AI, you can extract themes from these troves of data in real-time to segment users and determine how they’re navigating their experience.
AI also increases predictability immensely. Customer Success Management platforms tell you that if one of your users has left a company for another, that first company’s churn risk increases. AI can alert you before the departure even happens, allowing you to manage the churn proactively—and leverage your user’s new position as a sales opportunity.
VOC Trend #2: Micro-feedback
Sometimes you just need to determine the success of a feature or area within your platform without launching a full survey. Think of micro-feedback as a mini survey. It’s short and simple and could be as simple as the option of a happy, neutral, or sad face when customers use a specific feature. The shorter the answer, the better.
The key: Keep it contextual by seamlessly integrating with the user experience. For example, pop-up surveys can interrupt the user’s journey and interfere with a user completing a task, causing frustration. Micro-feedback, however, isn’t intrusive to the user experience, but lets users know you are interested in their feedback on a specific feature or task—should they choose to provide it.
Another important element: immediacy. Although many customer success teams deliver micro-feedback via email, this method may not master the timing factor. Emails sent hours, days, or even weeks after an experience can get lost in users’ inboxes, and micro-feedback is most effective when it’s timely. When users can provide feedback in the moment, they know that you care and are working to improve their experience.
VOC Trend #3: In-app feedback
Customers will provide the feedback you’re looking for if you meet them on their preferred channels. (Hint: mobile).
Plus, in-app feedback messages can be derived from data that provides you with more specific information about who your customers are: their sign-up or renewal date, user type, admin role, in-app behaviors, and feature usage are just a few of the details you can collect. And you can use these details to inform personalized messages. Ultimately, in-app data helps you interact with customers as the people they are.
One of the most common in-app feedback tools is the Net Promoter System: Ask users how likely they are to recommend this product to a friend or colleague. An in-app messenger is another tool that makes it easier for customers to voice their opinions to you.
Tech + you = customer success
Technology can give you an almost infinite amount of information to measure customer success, but you’ll still need authentic human connection and a relatable brand. Now more than ever, customer success teams should embrace emerging technology to complement—and improve—the enduring customer relationships they’ve cultivated.