How voice of the customer interviews can enhance your customer research
You’ve sent out a customer survey and received feedback. You have everything you need to calculate your NPS and churn rates and you have a general sense of how your customers perceive your brand…so you’re done, right? Not so fast! A customer survey should not be the end of your research efforts. Now it’s time to start conducting voice of the customer (VoC) interviews.
What is a VoC interview?
A VoC interview is a one-on-one interview with your current customer. The purpose of a VoC interview is to have a conversation with them about their experience with your product or service. You can then use these insights to create an actionable business plan. VoC interviews are often skipped over, but they are a critical piece of your ongoing success and growth. Not to say they should not be replaced with customer surveys; along with your survey data, VoC interviews are crucial to uncovering honest, accurate, and actionable customer feedback.
How can VoC interviews support your survey data?
We’re not trying to bash quantitative data and customer surveys, in fact it’s quite the opposite! Spailey Solutions uses VoC interviews to support the results of your surveys. Here’s three reasons to add VoC interviews to your best practices for all B2B customer research along with surveys:
Quantitative data is a good baseline, but VoC interviews let you dig deeper
Think about a smoothie recipe. Each ingredient – banana, strawberries, milk, honey – can be enjoyed separately, but with a recipe you can combine the ingredients to make an even more enjoyable treat. Your survey data is like the separate ingredients. It’s valuable and can tell you how your customers are feeling, but when used in combination with a VoC interview (aka the recipe with the right measurements) you can extract even greater, more in depth customer insights on why your customers feel the way they do toward your brand and keep them coming back for more.
2. Survey questions are subjective: VoC interviews can clear up any
While asking customers for their feedback on a scale of one to ten is a great way to quantify customer preferences and beliefs, the scale isn’t very objective and can leave you with skewed data. Even if your customers have the best intentions, there are a number of reasons their beliefs might not be accurately represented in their survey feedback. If you suspect a customer’s survey answer isn’t giving you the whole picture, the best thing to do is ask them to elaborate. VoC interviews allow customers to explain the reasoning behind their survey answers so you can know if the 7 out of 10 on product functionality meant the customer was dissatisfied or if they are just being a perfectionist.
3, Most surveys end with a space for additional feedback and following up
shows you care
The service you used to create your survey probably suggested ending with an open-ended question asking your customer to share any additional feedback they have. While some of your customers will leave this question blank, others will use it as an opportunity to voice their opinions (and to find out if anyone is actually reading their answers). You can show your customers you are listening and you do care by following up on any of their comments through a more comprehensive VoC interview.
How can VoC interviews help you go beyond NPS?
It’s clear VoC interviews can help validate your survey data but that’s not all they’re good for. At Spailey Solutions, our VoC interviews go beyond NPS survey follow-up to help businesses proactively retain their customers. Here are three examples of valuable customer insights Spailey Solutions can gain through conducting VoC interviews:
Pulse-check expectations versus deliverables
Your customers will want you to know when their expectations aren’t being met, especially if you’re the one who set those expectations in the first place. If a customer's reality of your product or services falls short, it’s pretty much guaranteed they’ll bring it up in a VoC interview. Some people hesitate when it comes to discussing negative feedback with their sales or customer success rep due to theirlong-standing, positive relationship. Having a third party market research firm conduct your VoC interview is always a good idea when it comes to gaining a customer's honest opinion.
2. Identify and communicate new opportunities
As a business, keeping your customers happy is your top priority. Encouraging them to spend more money on your products or services is a close second. VoC interviews are a perfect time and place to identify and educate customers on any opportunities for expansion. Adding additional products or services to a customer’s account will keep them satisfied as their business continues to grow and scale – making them more likely to remain loyal. Of course, expanding their account means additional revenue growth for your business as well which is always something to celebrate.
3. Identify and manage risk
Are your customers' eyes wandering? Is there a new company they’ve been considering switching to? Are there features you don’t offer that other companies in the market do? The answers to all these questions can be obtained through a VoC interview. You’ll become more aware of any risks you face in the market or with competitors. You can use this information to your advantage in future product roadmap planning.
How can VoC feedback be used for future marketing collateral?
The insights you gain in a VoC interview won’t just benefit you in the short-term, they can be helpful for years to come. If a customer expresses satisfaction during their interview, ask if they’re willing to be quoted as a referral for future marketing collateral or be an ongoing customer reference for your new sales engagements. I know I’m not the only one who’s been influenced to purchase a product by positive reviews. Your prospects will be more likely to choose you if you're backed by a glowing review from one of their peers. A positive VoC interview now can affect your sales deals far into the future.
By now there should be no question on what to do after receiving your customer survey results. It’s time to talk, and most importantly to listen! Add VoC interviews to your best practices and start gaining a deeper understanding of what your customers really think of your brand. If you’re ready to start optimizing your survey data with VoC interviews, Spailey Solutions can help. Get in touch with us today to learn more!