If you’ve been reading any of the marketing magazines lately, you’ve probably noticed the phrase “voice of the consumer” (VoC) popping up more often. VoC is an industry term for a customer-focused philosophy designed to get all areas of your business listening to customers and sharing this information toward a common goal.
Traditionally, VoC has been used at the start of new product or service launches to gauge the reception of the product. Over time, however, it has broadened to become a more comprehensive approach to customer service, customer engagement, and marketing. Your 1:1 printing strategy can be an integral part of this effort.
What is a VoC program? It can be as simple as having your customer service people keep a log of their phone calls with customers and share those logs during company meetings; or as sophisticated as an enterprise software solution that extracts and analyzes data from survey responses, email messages, company blog entries, and other communications, and turns it into actionable intelligence.
What can you learn through these programs? You might discover that a bottleneck in the online ordering process is inhibiting sales. You might uncover that a new product is tanking because it’s being merchandised in the wrong way. You might uncover an idea for a new line of services. Even your customer retention rates may benefit!
How should you get started?
Develop regular customer communications based on 1:1 communication. Talk to your customers on a regular basis, and do it in a personalized way. Send customer surveys. Elicit feedback using personalized URLs. If the customer experiences a problem, send a personalized apology, ask for feedback on how to remedy the situation, and offer a personalized discount. Use every personalization technique at your disposal to make the customer feel noticed, valued, and appreciated.
Pull databases from different areas of the business into a separate marketing database. Consolidate data from customer support, invoicing, retail, and even online feedback forms. This gives you a full 360-degree look at your interactions with customers.
Close the feedback loop. Take what you learn to upper level management or company owners who have the power of decision making but who might not have regular contact with customers.
Take action! Too often, companies gather valuable information then let it languish without doing anything with it. Don’t make this mistake. Put a process in place to take the information you learn and use it.
Don’t be paralyzed by technology or procedure. The goal is simply to listen and to act upon what you hear. 1:1 marketing techniques with closed-loop feedback practices are a great way to get started.