Thanks to Cvent for their white paper “5 Steps to Driving Sales with Customer Insights.”

There are proven strategies to ensure the success of your voice of the customer (VOC) program: 1) identify what matters most to customers; 2) facilitate better business decision-making; and, 3) drive revenue.

Here are the five ways to accelerate sales with consumer insights:

  1. Set the stage. Start with clear goals and objectives. It is imperative to get senior management agreement on the importance of obtaining and addressing customer insights. Without senior management buy-in and support, you’re wasting your time.

    Empower employees to obtain and access customer insights. By giving employees access to VOC results, you integrate and embed insights into the organization’s culture.

    We did this in my company and the kudos the sales force received, as well as the consumer insights we obtained, were invaluable.

    By asking employees to provide VOC feedback, you’re telling reinforcing the importance of VOC to your employees.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask. Many companies avoid implementing VOC programs because they want to avoid complaints. Negative feedback is the most valuable insight you can get from a customer.

    Being told the organization is already awesome doesn’t drive innovation or change; however, it can reinforce positive behaviors like providing outstanding customer service.

    Eighty percent of customers want to give feedback but less than 50% of organizations listen.

    Would you rather your customers tell you about a problem or a way to improve, or tell their friends?
    If customers don’t give you negative feedback, how will you know a problem needs to be addressed?
  3. Listen actively. Integrate CRM and survey systems so you have a comprehensive look at customer satisfaction. By integrating feedback from web-based surveys, transactional data from your CRM and case information from CSRs, a company can perform more in-depth analysis to uncover valuable consumer insights.

    Create an FAQ for any question that is asked more than once to enable your customers to find answers for themselves. By the way, the answers to these questions also make great blog topics.

    The more you listen, and let you know your customers your appreciate their input, the more they will share with you — and others if your ask them to.
  4. Measure your efforts. Even the most eye-opening feedback means very little if it cannot be tied to financial gains. Organizations need to link key feedback metrics to financial goals in order to have an impact on the organization’s growth and success. We tracked our Net Promoter Score (NPS) with all of our other KPI’s.

    There’s also a very strong positive correlation between NPS scores and profitability. So much so that Bain, the founder of NPS, has stopped publishing NPS scores because people were using the data to build their stock portfolios.
  5. Act fast. In today’s highly competitive global economy, organizations need to act fast, revise strategies, create timely marketing campaigns and respond quickly to changes in market trends and consumer preferences.

    Monitoring feedback from VOC initiatives allows you to do this. Real time monitoring and alerts help organizations capitalize on customer opinion shifts and stay ahead of the competition.

If VOC programs focus strictly on customer satisfaction, they can overlook insights into customers’ preferences. We had two open-ended questions that gave respondents the opportunity to tell us what else was on their mind regarding how we could improve the products and services we’re delivering.

The first question after NPS, was “why did you give use that score?” The second, “what can we do to earn a 10?” This let our customers know we were serious about the process and about improving.

Each respondent was thanked for their response. Detractors, those who gave us a score of 6 or lower, were followed up with by a sales rep or manager to address their concern.

Promoters, those who gave us a scroe of 9 or 10, were requested to provide referrals and testimonials.

What are you doing to create a dialogue with your customer and obtain consumer insights?

Tom Smith

Experienced marketing professional who has worked with more than 120 clients in 18 different vertical industries. ♦ Differentiate products and services by improving UX and delivering memorable CX to create an emotional connection to the brand. ♦ Obtain insights from analytics to solve business problems and drive revenue. ♦ Develop and implement marketing campaigns that double traffic and leads in three months. ♦ Certified Marketing Automation Professional ♦ Certified Voice of the Customer (VOC) Professional