What is the Voice of the Customer?
Have you ever wondered why certain products or services undergo radical changes or even disappear from the market (and sometimes return with another trade name)? Does it depend only on the volume of sales or other factors come into play? To answer these questions, we should introduce the concept of “Voice of the Customer” and analyze what it means. This term refers to all those practices which enable to understand what a (real or potential) customer thinks about a product or service. But it is not limited to a simple reading of comments or opinions written upon request -e.g. an online survey-, the issue is much more complex.
In recent years, the types of channels through which customers and users express their opinions, complaints, suggestions or congratulations (yes, these are also important, then we will see why) have multiplied exponentially. Only a decade ago, the channels that permitted the interaction with the business world were significantly fewer, among them we may recall the telephone or pre-compiled polls often sent by traditional mail. In addition, most of the exchanges between customer and company responded to a specific need of the second; in other words, they were requested.
How has it changed?
Today, the picture has radically changed. The communication channels are numerous and also allow to interact in different ways through various media (images, audio, video, etc.). And what matters most to us is that this interaction
- is constant: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year;
- most of the times is multilingual;
- does not always follow predefined patterns (many times, it doesn’t even comply with the most basic spelling rules);
- is unstructured: it is not stored in a traditional database nor organized according to predefined criteria.
There is no doubt that, from a corporate perspective, this enormous amount of information can be highly beneficial!
In this age of hyperconnectivity, the impressions on a product or service are (almost) countless. The democratization of media -which after all is expressed by the term “social media”- has drastically reduced the distance, sometimes inhuman, that used to separate the business world from its own customers. Nowadays, if we tweet Microsoft (for example) to request information or assistance, it is very likely that they reply in just a few minutes; until not many years ago, it was beyond imagination. Users, therefore, expect a more agile communication and a real-time answer, or, at least, with minimal latency. For this reason, the automatization of customer care services is of great help in managing this type of interaction and directly influences the company’s online reputation. The drawback of such fluid interaction is the fact that, when searching for information about a company in a social network, anyone of us might think: “I don’t care about this stuff!”
How to benefit from this “stuff”?
This “stuff” -which is nothing but the Voice of the Customer- on the other hand, has great intrinsic value for the company because it allows to redirect decision-making processes in business and even anticipate and prevent risks. If a company needs to improve its catalog of products, it has a huge database which, if well processed and analyzed, will help it to know how to do it and in which aspects invest more resources. There have been cases of companies that, to be successful, have decided to concentrate efforts only on some of their products (those which were praised for their capabilities, for example). On the other hand, in a scenario that does not present any particular problem in the short run, the constant monitoring of what is said permits to take measures in advance to avoid reputational crises, quality issues or other risks.
But to make it profitable, a simple glance at our social networks and other interaction channels is not enough, at all. The key is the automatization of the listening processes of the Voice of the Customer. At MeaningCloud, we are currently investing in technologies and solutions that make the analysis of the interactions in natural language more and more agile, without having to renounce to the volume and heterogeneity that constitute their value. In addition, MeaningCloud’s VoC tools are designed to perform the analysis of the Voice of the Customer even when the information to be processed is unstructured (traditionally, this kind of analysis has been based on structured data only).
It is often said that the customer is always right, but it is not in us to decide if that is true or not. What is an objective fact is that currently the customer is regaining the importance that deserves within the business processes. Consumers themselves are every day more conscious regarding their power and rights. For this reason, you can no longer ignore them.
And you? How are you how “listening” to your customers? Do you really know what they think about your brands and products? With MeaningCloud, you will find it out quickly, effectively and cleverly, whatever your business. Soon we will show you some practical examples of what kind of information can be obtained thanks to our VoC tools.
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