It’s no secret that it costs 5 to 25x more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep a current one. It should also come as no surprise then that it’s much easier to sell to an existing customer than a new one. Marketing Metrics reports that businesses only have a 5-25% chance of selling to a new prospect, but they have a 60-70% chance of selling to a returning customer.
The inbound methodology is all about helping customers at every step of the buyer’s journey and beyond to turn happy customers into your promoters. So how do you know your customers are happy? And if they’re not, how are you handling their concerns? What else do they need that you could offer them?
Actively collecting and listening to customer feedback is a process called Voice of the Customer (VoC), and VoC is about knowing how your customers perceive your company, how they feel about the products/services they’ve purchased, and what other needs they may have that you can address.
Why is collecting this data important?
Think of the last time you were at a restaurant or convenience store with a self-service soda machine. If your drink of choice had run empty, would you tell an employee or would you just pick something else? How about if you were that employee: what would you want your customers to do? You’d want your customers to voice their concern, otherwise they leave unsatisfied and you’re unaware there was a problem in the first place.
Not only does addressing the VoC solve problems, but being aware of who your buyers are and what they need can help you predict where they might struggle with your product and prevent service tickets in the first place. There’s also great value in knowing when your customers are having good and excellent experiences—if you know what they love, that means you can do more of it! Additionally, knowing what else your customers are looking for, you can create new products to meet those needs, too.
VoC is different from your buyer personas because this information is the real deal: it’s data straight from the people who purchased from you. This data can be helpful when working with your buyer personas, too. Ask yourself and your team how similar your actual customers are to your buyer personas. Are you reaching the people who are your ideal customers, or are there customers different from your personas who saw value in your product?
Any information you can get from your customers about their experience with you and their needs and wants can help inform decisions you make within your company—which in the end improve your products and customer relations.
Where to start
Understanding your customers is one thing, but where do you find customer voices to listen to in the first place?
Customer Survey: Soliciting feedback might seem invasive or bothersome, but if you don’t ask, they might not tell. Whether you want to ask short questions or need more detailed descriptions of how products and services are helping customers succeed, if you ask, someone will answer. On-site pop ups or live chat boxes that check in briefly with site visitors can collect quantitative data on how users experience your website. Follow-up emails sent to customers after they’ve had your product for awhile can generate more qualitative answers on how products are working. HubSpot’s Customer Feedback tool, an extension of their Service Hub, lets you create and manage all different forms of surveys and their responses.
Your customer service team: What are the frequently asked questions or common problems customers submit tickets for or call in about? This is an opportunity to create some helpful new content. Update or build an FAQ on your website that answers those questions. Create video or blogs addressing common issues customers experience and how to solve them. Or, if you can, make improvements to a product to solve the problem. Your customer service team will thank you.
Social Media: What kinds of people follow you on social media? What do people have to say about you on those platforms? What kinds of comments do they leave on the content you post there? What content of yours are they sharing with their networks? Social media channels are an excellent platform to see who your customers are (what they post) and what they find valuable (what posts from others they share).
Online Review Websites: Websites like Capterra, G2 Crowd, and Angie’s List give consumers forums outside of company websites to talk about the experience they had. Just because they didn’t submit their opinion to you doesn’t mean you should ignore it. These websites can bring new visitors to yours if your customers are leaving good reviews. And if they’re not, check out our blog on how to address negative reviews.
Getting your VoC program started
Having customer data is not enough for an effective VoC program. You must also use the data. Not using your customer data would be like listening to your friend describe a problem and not offering them any advice. VoC is about customer retention and finding ways to continue delighting your customers after they’ve made their purchase. Use VoC data to inform content creation needs to keep them coming back. That way, they’ll still be there when it’s time to renew their subscription or you’re launching something new (that might’ve come out of your VoC research).
Example: 1-800 Contacts
Using VoC programs to inform your company of things customers struggle with or don’t like is valuable, but a VoC program can also make happy customers even happier. The world’s largest contact lens company, 1-800 Contacts, decided to show customers they were listening to their feedback. When survey respondents answered the question, “Is there anything we can do to make your experience better?” with unique answers, 1-800 Contacts responded. One customer joked he was in the mood for pizza as his response, and 1-800 Contacts had one delivered to him. Even a customer who was completely satisfied—noting that she was a “happy camper”—got a thank you package from 1-800 Contacts of s’mores supplies.
Ready to start collecting VoC data? We recommend HubSpot’s Services Hub to help you create and send surveys for generating both qualitative and quantitative customer feedback. It also has tools for live chat, ticket systems, automation, and more to help you offer the best customer experience. Click below to contact us for a demo!
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