In the early 2000s, when the economy hit the skids, companies realized that they couldn’t take their customers for granted. They needed to ramp up customer service. They needed to listen to the Voice of the Customer.
During the Great Recession in the 2008-10 timeframe, much of the “new marketing strategies” that developed were really a repackaging of customer relationship development and client retention and growth initiatives.
Fast forward to today, and largely due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the economy is taking a hit again. Companies are trying to determine how to change their customer experience, but they – again – are having to retain the customers they have as they hope to navigate through these waters and be positioned for continued success down the road.
One consistent response to these economic downturns is that companies have refocused on the importance of listening to the customer.
When you listen to the Voice of the Customer, oftentimes that voice is being shared in response to your questions. These might be questions when you’re dealing with a customer issue, but let’s think a little bit more strategically – consider the customer voice you hear through your research. You may have questions that you typically ask in a customer survey or in a focus group, but try to avoid the typical. Instead, let your goal determine your question.
For example, if an organizational goal is to retain customers, ask why they became a customer in the first place, what keeps them with your business, why they would consider leaving.
If your goal is growth with existing customers, ask them about their needs. If those needs are not being met by your company, ask them how those needs are being addressed. Inquire about their awareness of your other products and services.
If you want to differentiate your business by having an exceptional customer experience, ask customers how your experience compares to others. Ask how they would define a “great customer experience.” Ask them to give you an example of an organization or a situation that provided an exceptional experience.
In times like these, most organizations are holding on to customers as tight as they can, and most discerning customers realize that fact.
When you’re considering tapping into the Voice of the Customer to learn how to strengthen that relationship, discuss organizational goals before you ever discuss what research questions to ask customers.