Slimmed-down closets. Clutter-free countertops. Selective inbox sorting. You may have noticed it in your social circle: the move toward simplifying our lives, tuning out the “noise” and focusing only on what matters. For digital marketers, this growing trend among our customers – which Forrester’s 2018 predictions refer to as “cocooning” – poses interesting challenges and opportunities.
We’re entering a CX revolution – and not only because our customers are decluttering. Customers also demonstrate a growing awareness of the trail of personal information they leave as they move through the world, as well as an awareness of brands’ hunger to use that information in all sorts of ways. In exchange for an intimate look into their lives, customers expect brands to not only respect their personal data but also to use it to deliver exceptional experiences.
Savvy marketers are keenly aware of the pressures set by these customer expectations. We know that, to be invited into the cocoon, we need to show we understand and value our customers’ needs as people. Research shows that when best-in-class brands provide better customer experiences than their competitors, they drive results: such as 35.4% greater year-over-year growth in company revenue and 18.2% better year-over-year revenue customer profit margin.
We know it pays to understand our customers. But more often than not, marketers find significant holes in the pictures we can form of each individual. Behavior-based information gathered through customers’ in-store, in-app and online shopping, coupled with demographic information collected during account creation, fills in part of the picture. And nearly every day, a new technology is released to help marketers track these quantifiable data points and even predict future behaviors.
Yet, despite access to all this data, the customer’s portrait still lacks the nuance that would enable marketers to deliver truly customized, enjoyable experiences. To take that next step, marketers must capture, analyze and reflect back the emotional state of the customer.
Let’s not kid ourselves though: communicating in a way that actually influences an audience is no mean feat, and it requires knowledge of your audience beyond the simplistic. Speaking of simplistic: for too long people have been constrained by the old ways, which can often be summarized as ‘what are we able to do?’ rather than ‘what would we like to do?,’ and this really isn’t good enough anymore.
Enter Voice of the Customer
Voice of Customer, or VoC, comes through in moments when customers express thoughts and feelings about brands, products and services. This critical feedback sharpens our picture of the customer and enables us to forge positive, meaningful experiences.
Marketers can tap into VoC by collecting feedback at digital touchpoints, including solicited input (such as survey questions in emails, web intercepts and mobile SMS) and customer-initiated events (such as product reviews on third-party websites and comments on social platforms). Some organizations are able to tap into customer service interactions (such as call center info, chatbots transcripts and direct interviews) which provide capture even more unfiltered sentiments and add additional richness and detail to the picture.
Once properly analyzed, VoC data allows us to tune into the motivations behind the behaviors we often see in in the quantitative data and carries an array of strategic implications. VoC data informs the digital touch points most likely to intersect with points of anxiety, reveals types and styles of content customers prefer across each channel, and shows the copy choices that resonate best.
Earning the right to enter a customer’s cocooned world is hard work, but well worth the effort.
In future posts, we will explore strategies and tactics for gathering feedback, building a VoC plan, optimizing technology for VoC research and more. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to connect with our expert staff to talk one-on-one about your needs in this shifting landscape. If you are ready to chat, you can reach Shaw + Scott at +1.520.762.4842 and press option 1, or reach out through our simple contact form.