Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs are one of the ways industry leaders are able to gain and maintain a competitive edge. By investing in VoC you can capture meaningful insights into why your customers buy, churn, and grow with your company.
But don’t take our word for it.
VOCs Increases Your Bottom Line
A Harvard Business Review survey found that there is a huge disconnect between executives and their customers. “72% [of executives] say they ‘understand what it feels like to be one of our customers.’ However, only 35% of consumers surveyed agree that companies understand them well.”
This confirms that most companies are struggling to hear the true voice of their customers. Which explains why so many are seeing unsatisfactory revenue performance in the current market.
So in comparison, what does revenue performance look like for a company with a best-in-class VoC program?
Well one study by the Aberdeen Group observed that leading VoC programs have real financial benefits and can drive business growth. The study specifically looked at how these programs impacted customer experience, employee engagement, and revenue growth among top performers and found:
- 55% greater client retention rate
- 23.6% reduction in customer service costs year-over-year
- 292% greater employee engagement rate
In Intercom’s summary of the study they noted “That firms with best-in-class voice of the customer programs grow annual revenue by over 48% year-over-year – almost 10x greater than those trailing in VoC programs.”
So with ample reason to adopt and invest in VoC what is holding companies back?
The Challenges and Barriers of VoC
The best insights we gain into the Voice of the Customer come in the form of high-volumes of unstructured and qualitative data - which is traditionally very difficult to work with.
Example of VoC data include:
- Customer Interviews
- Support Tickets
- Call Recordings
- Online Surveys
- Social Media
- Live Chat
- Online Reviews
- User Groups
At a small scale, things like emails or conversation recordings are invaluable sources of insight, allowing you to discern things like excitement, sentiment, etc… But at a substantial scale, those sources of data are very difficult to pull insights from simply because of the prohibitive amount of time it takes to process that information manually.
It can feel like finding a needle in a haystack.
This means it is not feasible to identify churn and growth trends at scale from VoC data. Not to mention it’s very difficult to meaningfully categorize product feedback in a way that quantifies customers’ needs and market demands.
It’s doesn’t have to be so hard
Modern AI and machine learning tools provide a new paradigm for understanding and drawing insights out of this type of rich data.
Tools like large language models (LLM’s), natural language processing (NLP), and the like are ushering in a new era of analytical capabilities. Automation that was previously limited to structured data sets (like CRM data, financial metrics, structured usage data, etc…) is now possible for much richer but messier data sets like support call recordings and email logs.
AI allows rich ways to synthesize and pull insights from raw customer data at a similar level of understanding as a manual review, while dramatically cutting the actual human time required.
With this level of insight into VoC sales teams can better understand what wins a deal - leading to improved sales performance.
Also, what is sometimes overlooked is how VoC can be critical to increasing retention and reducing churn. With an AI powered VoC program customer success teams can identify customers issues early or proactively before damage is done. These programs unlock critical information such as:
- Overall customer sentiment
- Product feedback
- Market expectations and insights
- Why have previous clients churned
- Churn risk indicators
- Opportunity indicators
- Obtain feedback on new products or ideas
- Where there is friction in the customer experience
The Powerful Union of AI + Human Expertise
Where artificial intelligence is limited is in the “intelligence” part. That’s why so many SaaS products that offer AI don’t simply equate to a best-in-class VoC program.
AI can process exponentially more information faster than any human could ever dream. However, that doesn’t mean it’s smart enough on its own to know what this information really means for your business. It’s not YET realistic to expect an AI to understand the nuances of human interaction and behavior.
The most effective implementations of these technologies don’t rely on AI and automation for actionable insights. Rather, these technologies are best used to “shrink the haystack” for humans - to make humans more efficient. It’s a co-pilot approach between AI and human expertise.
By leveraging both artificial and human intelligence companies are truly able to “have their cake and eat it too”. They can review and analyze massive amounts of unstructured raw customer data, while also deriving actionable insights based on human expertise.
With the previous obstacles now eliminated there’s really very little reason NOT to invest in Voice of the Customer. In doing so you will put your organization on a path to improving the buyer journey and the customer experience resulting in improved client retention and increased revenue.
If you’d like to learn more about our VoC approach and capabilities get in touch!