Using the Voice of Customers to Sell More

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“Implementing a Voice of the Customer program can impart a significant competitive edge to businesses and improve the bottom line. Research indicates that best-in-class Voice of Customer users enjoy an almost 10-times-greater year-over-year increase in annual company revenue compared to all others,” – Michael Hinshaw

Modern business strategists and thinkers have long emphasised the importance of curating and managing the customer experience as a means to obtain a competitive edge in crowded markets. An extension of this theory is manifested when companies leverage the voice of customers to frame new commercial paradigms, designed to help them achieve higher sales. In doing so, brands and businesses are essentially elevating the voice of customers to a higher plane, followed by business planning around this centrality. We must note that such actions also endear brands to their customers and help to create pools of dedicated consumers that stand firm in the face of marketing blitzes orchestrated by rival brands.

We may consider the fact that companies often choose to create and execute customer surveys in a bid to discern the voice of customers. Prima facie, this may appear to be a standard business practice. However, the thought that propels such actions places emphasis on listening to customer complaints, suggestions, requirements, and motivations. We must note that customer surveys essentially collect large troves of raw information and this has to be processed and analysed to locate key data that can be isolated and action taken upon by the enterprise. Business managers must be prepared to face all manner of feedback and must delineate skilfully, key information that can help the enterprise serve the customer’s interest. This is one of the strategies through which a brand or business can use the voice of customers to boost sales and revenue numbers.

Every business must conduct a deep analysis of its sales figures in order to figure out the consistently highest selling items of merchandise. This analysis can provide a clear direction as an extension of the voice of customers. For instance, a detergent brand that sells multiple products across regions may find that a certain brand outsells other offerings over a certain timeframe. This is valuable information and must be utilised to bolster future sales. The said detergent brand can choose to create multiple product variations of its best-selling brand in an effort to cater to significant customer demand. Alternatively, the business can move to offer the bestseller product in multiple size variations in order to boost access to the product for all customer segments. We note that these actions are centred on the voice of customers and are likely to help the brand to sell higher volumes of product in the market.

Brands and businesses can choose to deepen their interactions with customers in a bid to directly tap and sample the voice of customers. Market observers have long noted that this strategy is one of the best methods to seek direct customer feedback. The said interactions can enable businesses to map customer preferences and requirements and then utilise these maps to power new product development. For instance, a paper napkin manufacturer can seek direct customer inputs as to the most preferred colours for mass-marketed paper napkins. The feedback can be analysed and future iterations of the product printed in the customers’ choice of colour. This strategy may provide a long-term boost to product sales in a clear illustration of harnessing the power of the voice of customers.

A positive market impression and a strong brand reputation are necessary attributes for every commercial organization. Brands and businesses can invest in special marketing exercises to consolidate their brand reputation as part of on-going customer service initiatives. In line with this strategy, businesses can choose to create video interviews with genuine customers with the aim of promoting a brand or a product through social media channels. The said interviews can help a business to boost its brand reputation among the masses of modern social media users, while increasing its share of the customer’s mind space. Subsequently, the said brand may witness an uptick in its sales because the video interviews managed to boost conversions among social media users. We must note that this represents an important method of treasuring the voice of customers.

The mobile apps and websites of e-commerce businesses can be tailored and optimised keeping the voice of customers in mind. This is important because the mentioned devices represent the virtual storefronts of online businesses and must be optimised at all times. For instance, successive customer surveys and feedback may point to the fact that consumers experience frequent disruptions in executing payments through the website or the mobile app of company ‘X’. We must note that this problem may potentially ruin the customer experience of visitors to ‘X’ and prompt a flight of customer dollars to rival business establishments. In response, the management personnel of company ‘X’ must move with alacrity to resolve the stated problem. In addition, suitable redundancies built into the website and mobile apps serve as an initiative designed to defeat future precursors of disruptive experiences.

Product innovation can be expanded in scope when brands and businesses undertake a decision to involve customers in such activities. For instance, an automobile brand can choose to listen to and incorporate the voice of customers in designing new paint schemes for its latest products. We may view this as an expression of commercial innovation, but the fact that customers participate in these actions can boost the business outcomes while generating customer goodwill. Subsequent to such actions, the automobile brand may register higher sales as customers get attracted to the fact that they can play a role in the visual engineering of a custom vehicle. We must bear in mind that this strategy may not win immediate followers, but over time larger numbers of customers can be attracted to such business and marketing innovation.

Wine makers and the manufacturers of alcoholic beverages may organize private tasting sessions in an attempt to sample the voice of customers. We must note that such exercises essentially serve to raise the profile of a certain brand and boost brand penetration in modern markets. However, these exercises can also provide definitive feedback to a business prior to launching a product in certain markets. The feedback gathered can be utilised to tweak the physical and sensory attributes of the alcoholic products mentioned above. Subsequently, the product may be better received in mass markets, thereby enabling the company to boost its sales and revenues. Interesting variations can emerge wherein customers may choose to favour irrational flavours in the course of such tasting exercises. The said manufacturer should be advised to take note of such developments and incorporate the information into future business activities.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined some of the techniques that leverage the voice of the customer to boost sales figures. Brands and businesses must appreciate the fact that the voice of customers represents a force of nature in the commercial world. This realization can help to effect valid and desired changes in a corporate world defined by a sharp proclivity to chase profits. That said, every commercial organization is mandated to attain targets in terms of performance but must abide by the principal proposition of listening to the voice of customers.

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