Getting the Voice of Customers to work for Your Brand

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“Market research indicates that Voice of the Customer programmes will be one of the most significant investments that businesses make over the next five years,” – Gartner.com

Modern brands and businesses are increasingly engaging with their customers in a bid to stay ahead of their rivals in competitive markets. We may say that the customer has emerged as a significant stakeholder in modern businesses. Therefore, modern commerce views the customer as an entity that can make significant contributions to a business enterprise. Consequently, businesses are providing customers with a platform to share their feedback and opinions. In light of the above, we may state that the voice of customers has emerged as a paradigm shifting reality in both big and small business enterprises.

Customer advocacy is one of the main planks of harnessing the voice of customers in the service of a business. This is important because customers have become increasingly active in a hyper-connected world that is demolishing certain traditional business paradigms. Therefore, modern brands should work to leverage the voice of customers for commercial purposes. For instance, a boot maker can choose to deploy said device to increase conversions on its website and its e-commerce platforms. The said manufacturer can elect to prominently display customer reviews and feedback on its online platforms as a device to woo casual visitors and new customers. We note that this tactic commercially exploits the voice of customers to promote the manufacturer’s products, thereby leading to positive business outcomes.

Gathering feedback is an important aspect of modern businesses when we consider the fact that modern customers have the choice to choose from a multiplicity of brands and products. We may state that customer feedback is a vital input component that can help businesses to innovate in modern times. These businesses can harness the voice of customers to boost their business credentials and to create genuine products that would resonate deeply with its customer segments. For instance, a cookie and bagel maker can elect to connect with customers through social media platforms. Customer suggestions and inputs can help said maker to fashion a new line of cookies and savouries. We note that the voice of customers represents a critical input in such matters because the new products can enable said business to pull ahead of market rivals and expand its share of the market. In light of the above, we recommend that brands and businesses should pro-actively seek customer feedback in a bid to enhance and improve their product lines.

Modern commercial entities can be advised to initiate customer conversations with a view to identify trends in consumer behaviour and customer expectations. This tactic is one of the methods to identify and leverage the voice of customers in real time. For instance, a software development and marketing firm can initiate live customer conversations through pop-up booths installed in major retail destinations. We note that these sites of public interest attract a variety of customers that can be briefly interviewed in a bid to sample public reaction to new products. Market research and business executives concur that this method helps to access genuine customer feedback. This information can be captured in CRM and ERP systems, and subsequently may be processed to refine future product development. In addition, this form of customer input can help businesses to upgrade internal processes and align these with customer expectations.

New product ideas are mandatory for every business that is serious about its commercial future. We may note that these businesses can listen to the voice of customers in a bid to read the customers’ minds and drive the development of new products. For instance, in-store sales persons can be instructed to chat with customers and seek their views on improving available products. We note that no two customers are the same and therefore, feedback can flow in the form of new ideas regarding product colour options, the use of novel materials to fashion future products, inspiring product design, among others. This tactic represents one of the basic approaches to listening to the voice of customers and can yield useful information for brands and businesses.

Customer pain points often lead to new insights into existing businesses. Therefore, modern commercial organizations should poll customers with a view to discover the various pain points of using a product or a service. For instance, a commercial telecommunications service provider may offer a full suite of services for customers of all persuasions. However, the voice of customers can be tapped through an online customer forum sponsored by the said service provider. Customer grievances and frustrations may emerge in said forum and the business can set itself to address these pain points. Paperless billing and auto-debit operations may emerge as customer favourites, while heavy customer bills triggered by high data usage may come to the fore as a common pain point. We note that these aspects of customer-driven information can empower the service provider to create better packages that elevate the brand in the minds of customers. In addition, these new packages can enable the business to gain new customers thereby helping it to expand its customer base significantly.

Social media is a defining reality in most modern markets in the present day. Therefore, brands and businesses must work to leverage the power of social media to deepen customer engagement and to tap the voice of customers. To achieve such ends, businesses can create active social media handles in a bid to converse with customers regularly. For instance, an e-commerce brand can work to deepen its customer engagement strategy by organizing regular contests on social media handles. This approach enables a collaborative environment wherein, the brand can connect with its customers and followers on an open, online platform. We note that the conversational nature of online interactions can help to reinforce the voice of customers, enable the business to respond promptly, and to elevate the brand presence in multiple markets. In addition, these interactions can help the brand to spot consumer trends and incorporate such information into its future brand strategies.

Mobile apps are the current flagships of customer convenience. Every customer has access to these apps and therefore, businesses should explore the use of these apps to boost customer service and harvest the voice of customers. For instance, recent market research has revealed that a global coffee merchant managed to boost customer service by streamlining its app to include electronic payments. This action emerged in response to customer feedback gathered at various retail outlets of said merchant. We note that the business directly benefited by heeding the voice of customers and upgrading its mobile app. In addition, the value of such actions is amplified when businesses work to apply the learnings to other aspects of customer service. We must note that businesses should acknowledge that the voice of customers can help to drive business innovation and to boost business bottom lines.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have surveyed some of the techniques to harness the voice of customers in the interests of boosting a brand’s commercial fortunes. Modern businesses must realise that customers are no longer the passive entities of yore and have evolved into active entities that are assertive of their rightful place in the commercial value chain. Therefore, businesses should invest and innovate to harness the voice of customers at multiple levels and leverage the insights to boost their brands.

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