Voice of the Customer: A Marketer’s Secret Weapon
Marketers spend each day trying to create content that resonates with their most ideal customers. But all too often, they forget to garner inspiration from the biggest source of truth — you guessed it — the customer! Voice of the Customer (VOC) is a term that encompasses the process of capturing customers’ expectations, desires and pain points from real customer statements. Then, these statements are used as a soundboard to generate customer-driven marketing materials.
Basically, a VOC strategy includes the act of listening to what the customer has to say, taking the language they use to describe their problem, and offering a solution that shows the customer’s problems have been heard. In this article, we’re diving into the strategy behind Voice of the Customer, what it really means, and why all marketers should put this methodology into practice.
What is Voice of the Customer and Why Should You Care?
Marketers are constantly striving to catch the eye of prospects and keep customers engaged with their brand. But with hundreds of thousands of companies fighting to reach the same goal, it’s difficult to stay in the spotlight for long. Voice of the Customer enables marketers to find the underlying factors that drive people to make a purchase. Likewise, VOC allows marketers to find the factors that keep prospects from making a purchase like skepticism and anxiety about switching from their current solution to yours.
So, how exactly can marketers get this information? For starters, using your own customer feedback, testimonials, and reviews is a great place to find out how your organization impacts your customers in their own words. Additionally, researching negative and positive reviews from your competitors will help you determine your ideal customer’s main pain points and the language they use to describe them. For example, let’s say you own a veterinary clinic and are looking for ways to stand out from your local competition. After searching through competitor reviews (we’ll show you step-by-step how to do this later in the blog), you find that long waits at the vet are a major struggle for pet owners. Below are two reviews:
- “Really tired of this place. The staff may be nice, but things always get delayed. Recently, we had plans to meet up with a friend at a dog park after the vet and were forced to cancel our puppy playdate.”
- “We're finally leaving after seven years. We love the doctors and our dogs have received good care but we have grown very tired of services being so slow.”
These reviews should be sparking inspiration for your next marketing campaign. For instance, the campaign’s slogan could be something like, “Tired of delays at the vet reducing the time you get to play catch with your furry friend? Save time with our 20-Minute Full Check-Ups!” This headline appeals to the customers’ biggest pain point of delayed vet services, while offering a solution inspired by the customers themselves. Essentially, instead of assuming you know what a prospect wants to hear, use Voice of the Customer to reach out to your ideal customer in language similar to how they already describe their problems.
How to Find VOC
There are multiple ways to determine Voice of the Customer, so let’s take a look at the top 5 strategies for gaining the ultimate insight on your ideal customer.
One technique most marketers tend to use is a survey at the end of a submission form. After a lead submits their information, a question with an answer box will pop up. Keep in mind, specific questions garner specific responses. Try using this question in your next survey: What was going on in your life that brought you to [downloading an ebook on SEO] today?
What better way to find out what a customer wants than to look them in the eye and ask them directly? If possible, conducting 5-7 customer interviews at 30 minutes each will provide you with deep insight as to what the customer is looking for, what their pain points are, and exactly how you can help.
3. User Tests
This tactic will require paying for third-party software like usertesting.com. Just 5 user tests can open your eyes to anxieties your web copy may actually be introducing to prospects that stop them from making a purchase. Basically, you pay to have users check out and test your website or other marketing content and provide you with their feedback on functionality, design, and more. Another great feature is that you can run tests on your competitors' sites!
4. Product Demos
If your company offers product demonstrations, a good idea is to watch recordings of previous demos. This way, you can take notes and look for patterns regarding what prospects are saying about their main issues and their thoughts on your solution or offering.
5. Review Mining
Finally, review mining is one of the best and easiest ways to determine Voice of the Customer. Basically, you spend some time scouring the internet for product/service reviews (your own and competitors) to find out why people buy products or services like yours and what pain the product resolved. Taking snippets of text and language from these reviews will help you better write marketing campaigns that will resonate with your ideal audience. Let’s take a step-by-step look at the best practice for review mining.
A Quick-Step Guide to Review Mining
Not only is review mining easy, it’s one of the quickest ways to find Voice of the Customer. Often, marketers are on tight deadlines that require quick turnarounds. Sometimes, a request comes in at 10 AM for the marketing team to draft and send out an email by the afternoon. This doesn’t leave much headway for conducting interviews or user tests. Review mining is quick, simple, and effective. Below is a step-by-step guide to review mining:
1. First, you’ll want to search customer reviews right from Google. Below are two formulas that can help you find reviews directly from the results page without having to dig around the internet.
If you’re looking for reviews on a service, it’s best to use the Yelp formula:
Site:yelp.com intitle:“category” “tired of”
If you’re looking for reviews on a product, try using the Amazon formula:
Site:amazon.com inurl:“product-reviews” “tired of” ~keyword
Now, you’ll be able to see reviews of hundreds of real customers. We use the term “tired of” to see what people are struggling with their current product or service offering. However, any of the above text in quotation marks or after the tilde (~) can be customized to your business and goals.
2. Next, read through the reviews to find the pains and motivations that drive people to purchase from a company like yours. Let’s continue with our veterinary clinic example. Say you find a review that says, “My dog wasn't seen until an hour after my scheduled appointment, and that was only after I had complained about being tired of waiting.” The pain in this review is the long waiting period spent at the vet. The hidden motivation here is to find a new vet clinic that has less of a wait time.
3. Then, you’ll want to record all snippets of the reviews and compile them internally. It’s not enough to just read one review. You have to find many reviews to discover multiple pain points real people experience. Essentially, you want to find patterns and pains that are brought up multiple times across reviews. Then, save each snippet in a spreadsheet or document for easy reference and organization.
4. Next, you’ll need to segment these review snippets by topic or pain point. For instance, reviews that discuss a long wait time at the vet can go under the category of ‘customer service’. Reviews that highlight how a vet clinic over-prescribes medication can go under a category titled ‘unnecessary treatments’. You’ll most likely end up with a bunch of topics with dozens of reviews in each topic. The next step will help you decide which topics are most relevant to your target audience.
5. Now, you must determine which topic is the most popular pain point for your customers and customers similar to yours. This is simple. All you have to do is order your topics from those that have the most to least reviews. This way, you can find the top 3 topics you need to address in your marketing content to capture the attention of prospects and future customers.
6. Finally, you can begin writing your copy to address these pain points. Using the same tone and language as the reviewers in your content will appeal to prospects. This is because content inspired by the Voice of the Customer is typically written in a more conversational and understandable tone. Ultimately, Voice of the Customer enables marketers to understand how their most ideal customer discusses a product or service using unexpected yet noticeable language. Then, garner inspiration from that language to write content that will speak to customers on a deeper level.