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PORTER: Use customer voice to design best experiences

Being able to search social media early before I bought their product was really convenient. Using the product before my decision showed me the potential return on investment for my business. The company regularly incorporates my suggestions for improvement in new services they roll out.

The above are all actual comments I received from customers recently when I used a very valuable interview tool to help me design a better customer experience for a company. And they were especially useful because they came straight from the horse’s mouth — the customer.

Customer Voice — or Voice of the Customer — is a great survey tool I recommend that you give some attention to in the near future. It is a key strategy you can use today as you design a really terrific experience for your customers — an experience that will be memorable and keep customers coming back for more!

Voice of the Customer has been around for awhile now and has been shown to be both valid and successful when applied correctly. Below, I have provided you with some helpful tips for conducting a successful VOC program to drive customer experience design.

First, select a small varied sample of customers.

If you have a small customer base — say 20 or 30 total — the experts recommend that you contact — by phone or email — 10 or so customers for their comments on what is important in a great customer experience.

In addition, that sample of 10 should vary but be generally reflective of the total customer base. For example, you may want to sort them by product of service they use, industry type or segment and maybe length of time as a customer.

If you have a large number of customers, you will want to expand your completed interviews to 30 to 50 customers total for this VOC program. This will still provide you with valid input for designing the customer experience.

Second, ask customers what they are “most satisfied” about their experience.

You will be surprised about customers responses and comments to this question. Experience aspects you may think are really key to their experience — your Facebook page or service design — may pale in comparison to buying convenience or return on investment like the example customer quotes I provided at the start of this article.

And yet, this is the real voice of the customer and should be seriously considered!

Finally, where are customers “most dissatisfied” with the experience?

Like the question No. 2, my bet is that you will again be surprised by what you hear from customers responding to this query.

Their website and Facebook pages were so dense to navigate, I could never really see how they could help me. When I needed some in depth explanations on the new product I bought from them, I could never get to a real person to help. I continue to have a hard time showing the value of their service to my business. And so on.

After trying the Voice of the Customer (VOC) program, it is my bet that you will be better equipped than ever to design a first class experience for your customers.

Remember my tips from above. First identify a good sample of your customers to contact. Second, ask customers what they are most satisfied about with their current experience. Third, ask customers where they are now most dissatisfied with that experience.

My bet is that you will get invaluable insights into how to design the best experience possible for your customers going forward. And after all, you heard it straight from the horse’s mouth!

 

William Porter has published books on customer experience and employee engagement and speaks regularly at business schools. Contact him at bpwilliamaporter@gmail.com.

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