Driving Growth with Voice of Customer Data: A Step-by-Step Approach

It feels like our marketing planning and execution process is running faster than ever before. And it’s easy to think we have all the answers when it comes to our customers, that we know who they are and what they want from our products. 

But here’s the thing—assuming we know everything about our customers’ purchase motivations and the value they get from our products and services can lead you astray, encourage borrowing ideas from competitors (because, surely, they must know something that we don’t), create ideas that aren’t different from our competitors, and allow our products to fall into a “Sea of Same” trap.

This is where voice of customer data, or capturing and repurposing the words and phrases your customers use, comes in. 

By gathering and analyzing these valuable customer insights, we can gain a deeper understanding of our customers’ needs, preferences, and pain points. 

But acquiring, capturing, and processing this data is one thing, what do you do with it once you have it? And how do you keep it fresh and updated so your insights can mature along with your customer needs? 

Develop a Repeatable Process for Voice of Customer Data

To truly tap into the power of voice of customer data, you need a reliable process that you can count on time and time again. Here’s what that looks like:

Gather data
Customer surveys, interviews, feedback forms, support tickets, and sales calls – use every tool in your arsenal to collect insights from your customers.

Process data
Once you’ve got the data, it’s time to organize and analyze it to spot patterns and trends.

Create a repository
Your team’s capacity to act on the insights that appear from voice of customer collection efforts can be limited; having a repository is also like having a storage closet for customer-validated ideas – but only if you keep track of them.

Share results
Make sure everyone in your business has access to the processed insights and is on the same page by sharing your findings far and wide. Marketers are great about communicating with external audiences but sometimes forget that their internal audiences also need support.

Repeat and measure over time
This is not a one-and-done exercise. You will need to create an ongoing process to monitor your customers’ sentiments and needs regularly, and stay on top of trends and specific changes that appear.

Putting Voice of Customer Data into Action

The value of the data you collect is what you do with it to improve customer growth results. Start by pinpointing a specific customer growth problem you want to solve, whether it’s boosting conversion rates, reducing churn, or increasing customer lifetime value. 

Then, zero in on the customers who can help you crack the case or have already conquered that challenge. These are the customers who are best suited to help you deliver the right insights and uncover the solutions to your customer growth challenge.

There are always exceptions, but I typically don’t recommend gathering data from prospects. They haven’t committed to purchasing your product, and their feedback and comments aren’t as valuable as those of those who have paid with time and money to use your product. 

Building a Culture of Curiosity and Sharing

Creating a culture where everyone is eager to learn from customer insights and share their findings is key to making the most of your voice of customer data. But how do you make that happen? Here are a few ideas:

Communicate the value
Don’t keep your voice of customer data hidden or siloed in one team. Make it a central part of your company’s narrative. Share exciting findings in company-wide emails, and presentations. The more you emphasize the value of this data, the more your team will be inspired to explore and utilize it. 
Encourage collaboration
Make collecting and analyzing voice of customer data a team effort. Host brainstorming sessions where people can share their ideas and hypotheses to prove. When everyone feels like they have a stake in the process, they’ll be more invested in making the most of the data. 
Lead by example
Demonstrate your commitment to making data-informed decisions by regularly sharing how you’re using voice of customer insights to guide your strategy. When your team sees you actively utilizing this data, they’ll be more likely to follow your lead. 
Recognize successes and learn from setbacks
When your team uses voice of customer data to achieve a significant milestone, ensure that everyone is aware of the success. Share these wins in company meetings or newsletters to reinforce the value of the data. Treat something as a learning opportunity if it doesn’t go as planned. Encourage your team to analyze the situation and brainstorm ways to improve for future initiatives.

Applying Voice of Customer Data to Improve Business Outcomes

By leveraging voice of customer data across key areas of the customer experience, you can make smarter, more informed decisions that drive real business results.

Key areas to utilize voice of customer data include:

Refine your messaging and positioning
Your customers’ words are pure gold when it comes to crafting marketing messages that resonate. By digging into the language customers use to describe their challenges, goals, and experiences with your product, you can fine-tune your messaging to strike a chord with your target audience.  
Validate your channel investments
Investing in new marketing channels or doubling down on existing ones can be an expensive decision. By analyzing where your customers tell you they spend their time online, what content they engage with, and how they prefer to interact with your brand, you can allocate your resources to the channels that are most likely to drive results with messages that attract and convert.  
Identify and prioritize customer experience improvements
Your customers are the ultimate judges of your product’s value, so it’s critical to ensure their experience is as seamless and delightful as possible. Voice of customer data can help you pinpoint areas where your customer experience may be falling short and prioritize improvements that will have the biggest impact.  
Fuel your product roadmap
Your product team may have a vision for where they want to take your offering, but voice of customer data can help ensure that vision aligns with what your customers actually want and need.  
Inform your sales and customer success strategies Your sales and customer success teams are on the front lines of customer interactions, so arming them with voice of customer insights can drive real improvements in your customer conversion and retention rates.

By constantly gathering, analyzing, and acting on customer insights, you can stay ahead of the curve, and your competition, and make smart moves that keep your customers coming back for more. But don’t just think of collecting and using these valuable customer insights as a one-and-done deal – this should be an ongoing process that evolves with your business and your customers.

Solving customer growth challenges ultimately comes down to delivering real value to your customers—the value your customers tell you your product delivers. And by letting your customers’ voices be your guide, you can create products, experiences, and messages that resonate.

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