Companies offering inbound call center services often train their employees to believe that the customer is always right. When it comes to customers’ knowledge of their own needs, expectations, preferences, and dislikes – that is, the voice of the customer – the adage is correct. VoC research, obtained through both qualitative and quantitative methods, gives a company insight into how well its products or services are going to fare with its target customer base. Researchers at MIT identify four aspects of VoC outcomes:
• Customers’ needs
• Hierarchical ranking of those needs
• A prioritized list of importance
• Customers’ perception of products or services
Through the use of research methods such as focus groups, interviews and surveys, data collectors gather statements in customers’ own words about how the inbound call center services the company offers should meet their needs. The list they compile is sorted into primary, secondary, and tertiary needs to discover what the customers want most and what specific things can be done to satisfy those desires. The information gleaned from the customers is also used to arrange needs according to their relative importance to customers. Finally, customers are asked to weigh in on the performance of products or services on the market that fulfill the needs discussed or, if no such product or service currently exists, on how they satisfy that need without it.
By understanding their customers better, companies can improve customer experience. An improved experience, in turn, improves customer retention and sales.
The Relationship Between VoC and the Customer Experience
According to Oracle’s 2011 Customer Experience Impact Report, 86% of customers are willing to pay more for excellent customer services experience. Conversely, 89% have no qualms about taking their business to a competitor if their experience with a company is bad. Customers expect to be treated well, and if they have any problems or concerns, they expect those issues to be addressed and resolved promptly.
Information gleaned from VoC research is helpful because it offers detailed insight into how to improve the customer experience across multiple levels. It improves marketing and measures the effectiveness of the product or services offered. When VoC is utilized effectively, the features of the inbound call center services that are most helpful to customers are continued and improved, and the features that don’t satisfy customer needs are retired. Customers notice when their feedback is taken seriously, and they are likely to remain loyal to a company that uses their input to drive decisions.
The Benefits of Using VoC Research To Improve Customer Services
Listening to customers leads to clearer direction and focus. When companies seek to improve call center services through VoC research, they can expect certain benefits:
• Stronger Customer Relationships – Good relationships depend on mutual knowledge and trust. Customers typically know the companies they patronize frequently, but how well do those companies know their customers? Through VoC research, companies gain knowledge of what the customers want and need as well as the role the companies play in fulfilling them. The process itself humanizes the customer, making service providers even more excited to make them happy and build a lasting rapport.
• Retention of Current Customers – No matter how great inbound call center services are, problems are bound to arise occasionally. The efficiency and professionalism with which the company resolves customers’ problems improve their perception of the company and VoC can help make this process go smoothly. In fact, companies that use VoC effectively may experience up to a 55% increase in customer retention rates.
• Increase in New Customers – Satisfied customers are walking, talking advertisements for their favorite companies. When companies use VoC research to help improve services for their existing customers, the customers tell their friends. Companies who take advantage of the information they glean can improve their sales.
• Improvement of Existing Products or Services – Negative feedback can be a positive sign. It is proof that customers are invested enough to care how inbound call center services perform, and this input can lead to vast improvements in what the company already has on the market.
• Inspiration For New Products or Services – Information from VoC research helps companies identify needs that are not being met by their current offerings or the market in general. This gap can lead to the creation of innovative new products or services.
When a company takes an interest in not only in its customers’ preferences but also their aversions, it can see a marked increase in customer satisfaction, marketing strategy success, and its bottom line. VoC research helps improve inbound call center services to inspire loyalty in existing customers and pique curiosity in new ones.