he online customer journey consists of more than just service, conversions and returning customers. And this complexity is precisely why listening to the Voice of the Customer (VoC) is one of the most important indicators for finding out how customers experience your online services. The Voice of the Customer is a research technique that maps out the detailed wishes and needs of your customers. In other words, it is listening to what your customers have to say about a product or service. And while capturing the VoC using customer feedback across various touchpoints along the customer journey is ideal, it isn’t always a straightforward process. For example, how do you gather good feedback without disturbing the customer journey and better yet, how can you obtain relevant insights from such large amounts of data?
This article will explain how you can start putting the VoC first by effectively collecting, analyzing and acting on your user feedback.
Whether its regarding the purchase of a product or a specific support question, more and more companies are heading for a completely online customer journey (especially in the eCommerce industry); a trend which serves up several consequences when it comes to the manner in which you structure your website or mobile app, as well as where and how you will collect feedback to monitor the success of your customer journeys.
The Customer Journey
A typical online customer journey includes phases such as awareness, consideration, preference, purchase, loyalty & advocacy. These are – of course – different for every industry whether that’s travel, ecommerce, technology, etc.
Over the years, however, the online customer journey has become lengthy and complex. Not to mention, customer journeys can originate or occur in places that you as a marketer cannot always influence – such as search engines, comparison sites, social media and many other unique channels. That is why monitoring the customer journey in places that you can influence and manage yourself are extra important.
You can prioritise the funnels in the customer journey by honing in on what are called ‘Moments of Truth’ or MoTs. MoTs are crucial moments (especially when it comes to conversions and sales) in which your customer forms an impression of your company or brand, such as searching for products, search result pages, the actual purchase of a product along with receiving it in a certain packaging (which also influences this impression) and after-sales service (returns & delivery). For a smooth journey, these particular moments must be effortless for the customer and that’s where feedback comes in…
Not just a feedback button…
A good Voice of Customer program goes beyond just placing a feedback button on your website. Obtaining customer feedback on digital channels is a strategic choice to put the VoC at the center of your organisation’s focus. It requires critical thinking and planning.
While many websites make use of feedback surveys, they don’t always use them optimally. In fact, there are various strategies and question types one can employ to get meaningful and relevant feedback; all of which are dependent on the situation…
For example, does the visitor want to order a product, change his/her account, solve a problem or get support from customer service? In order to cater to these needs, you’ll need feedback forms that appear at the right moment and include questions that are tailored to the moment.
Events & Triggering
User feedback forms can be triggered based on events such as click behavior (leaving an ordering process), certain navigation patterns, and at the end of a customer journey (e.g. the thank you page after placing an order).
Based on these different behaviors, you can create tailor-made feedback forms with relevant question routing elements that are catered towards specific funnels on your website or mobile app. These are known as “active” feedback forms, which enable you to manipulate specific steps in your funnels to obtain valuable insights into your customers’ online journeys.
Metrics & Question Types
Within each form, users can make use of various question types such as Goal Completion Rate (GCR), Customer Effort Score (CES), Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), smileys and star ratings.
- Goal Completion Rate: GCR measures the number of visitors who have completed a specific goal on your website or mobile app. What’s interesting with this method is that when a customer fails in reaching his/her goal on your website, you can ask them to leave their contact information behind, in which case they become a lead.
- Customer Effort Score: CES measures how much effort it costs your customers to reach their goal. This is a very important metric in that often high effort results in lower customer loyalty. In short, if your customers are forced to expend more effort trying to achieve their goal than they expected, they’re much more likely to leave your website.
- Net Promoter Score: NPS is a popular loyalty metric used by many businesses. Providing you with a benchmark that is indicative of your customers’ success, this metric tells you how likely your customers are to recommend your business to other
These feedback form questions alone are obviously a bit hollow in terms of eliciting real insights. Let’s take a look at some additional components you can add to your feedback forms.
Follow-up questions and question routing techniques
For more elaborate responses, many businesses choose to incorporate follow-up questions and question routing techniques into their feedback forms. For example, if a customer fills in ‘No’ for GCR, you can use follow up questions (that are otherwise hidden if they select ‘Yes’) asking why they did not achieve their goal. This way depending on their answer, you will receive a more specific response about the issue (or non-issue).
In fact, this feedback is great for trying to understand how visitors who choose different paths to completion are experiencing their journey. Branching funnels with multiple paths to completion allow for a website to capture a more specific picture of their consumer and tailor their funnel to a much broader audience while simultaneously bringing them into something very personalized. This helps give the consumer a sense of trust that translates into a direct increase in conversions.
Open comments and contact details
Additionally, users can ask their visitors to (optionally or mandatorily) add open comments in an open text field at the bottom of a feedback form. This type of feedback can then be analysed using text analytics and sentiment analysis. It is also helpful to add fields where visitors can fill in their contact details in case they want to be contacted by a representative regarding their feedback. This is also a great way of collecting leads as they are directly leaving their contact information for your team to follow up on (or retarget via advertising).
Another feedback form element is visual feedback. Visual feedback enables website visitors to pinpoint specific page elements (including forms, images, buttons or paragraphs) and provide feedback on those page elements. Visual feedback can be applied in various ways to your feedback form. You can add it to all feedback forms so that visitors always have the option to submit screenshots, you can use it as a standalone question element, or you can have visitors submit screenshots via question routing.
Analysing your Feedback Results
Collecting feedback from your customers all throughout the online journey is a good first step. However, gathering this data alone isn’t going to give you all of the answers. It is important to actually analyse this feedback – otherwise why bother collecting it in the first place?
Analysing feedback data is beneficial in a number of ways. Not only does it put digital marketers in a better position to learn what is driving certain metrics (such as NPS or CES), but it also saves a lot of time – as large sums of data can be analysed from one single dashboard and instantaneously.
There are several areas you can focus on your for your analysis. Let’s take an ecommerce company for example. Typically these kinds of companies will focus on content performance, sales funnels & purchasing processes, and after-sales.
Content Performance: The first of which is to analyse the performance of product content in the initial orientation stages. For this type of analysis, you can create charts showing the distribution of different answers from your feedback forms. Some examples of these charts might include, ‘Reasons for not achieving their goal on the product page’ to identify where your customers are struggling or ‘Level of effort on product pages’ to identify which products or product types they experienced difficulty with. The latter would be measured using the CES scores collected.
Sales Funnels & Purchasing: To analyse feedback in sales funnels, CES and GCR are also widely used. For example, if you consistently measure CES over time, it will provide you with insight into whether your sales funnels cost your visitors increasingly more or increasingly less effort. This is also your chance to review leads previously captured in your feedback forms. These leads are typically visitors who tried to place an order but were for some reason unsuccessful. To easily pinpoint who your leads are, you can create an overview in a chart on your dashboard showing the total amount of leads.
After-Sales: In this stage of the online ordering process, it’s important to be consistent in your analyses as this is essentially where you learn if other measures to improve previous stages of the funnel were effective. For example, you can create charts that show NPS ratings per week, using a distribution of promoters, passives and detractors. Alternatively, you can create charts with CES to understand how smooth the entire process was for the customer.
Taking your VoC data from Insight to Action
Having collected your feedback and produced effective reports and dashboards for analysis, it’s time to do something about the results. This is the stage that many ecommerce and online retail businesses tend to skip over. Little do they know that taking action on your feedback can help build loyalty with your customers as well as increase conversions as it means you are actively correcting errors that have been reported and therefore providing a smoother online journey.
With the right action management process in place you can engage with at-risk customers immediately, and thus lessen the chances of losing them to a competitor. Note: this includes both internal actions with colleagues (e.g. alerts, emails) and external actions with the customer (e.g. using contact centre tools, CRM or ticketing tools).
As you can see, putting the Voice of the Customer first is an involved process. However, from collecting and analysing feedback to extracting relevant insights and taking action, there is one thing you’ll need to get started and that is a feedback tool that can facilitate the process.
Depending on what you would like to achieve and how far along your company is in terms of VoC maturity, there are a lot of great tools out there to choose from. There are also a lot of things to keep in mind when choosing your tool(s), including your objectives in listening to the VoC, the size of your company (are you an enterprise or SMB), and don’t forget technical limitations (e.g. IT restrictions and limitations when it comes to subjects like privacy, customer data, CRM integrations, data storage/hosting, etc).
Look at it this way. Listening to the VoC is a strategic choice that goes along with running a successful business. It isn’t just something you do on the side. So take the time to listen to your customers and make an effort to continuously optimize your online channels to meet their needs.