How is the Voice of Your Customer related to conversion rate optimization? This question recently came up with an associate of mine, just after we had completed a webinar on the creation of personas. VOC and persona creation are quite intertwined. Essentially they both help to personalize the user experience online by allowing experts to optimize the page through the lens of the costumer. One aspect to make personas especially effective is taking customer and visitor feedback through surveys, interviews, feedback etc. and feeding that information back into the personas. This way you fine-tune the personas and the website experience for your visitors.
So what is the voice of the customer, and how can it be effectively used to increase website conversion rates?
Voice of customer or VOC, is a market research technique which extracts from customers’ (and prospects’) their specific wants and needs. Data is collected through methods such as surveys, interviews, reviews, etc.; it is then prioritized in relative importance and satisfaction. VOC is essentially a way to preempt visitor experiences and expectations through cognitive progression.
Voice of the customer is actionable data that includes a target market’s desires, pain points, preferences, trigger words, and FUDs, which are helpful with the creation of specific personas, as mentioned above. In any conversion optimization project, modifying a page should heavily be based on VOC and analytics (making the process quite scientific and razor sharp focused). And sometimes, for quick gains, VOC through the use of surveys can be proven more effective.
In order to maximize the benefit of VOC, we generally recommend to our clients:
- an on site survey with 3 – 4 questions
- a post purchase survey to gauge customer experience
- data-gathering of top 15 complaints, questions, and comments from customer service reps.
- Interviews of top customer experiences (specifically repeat business – why do they come back?).
- Listening to the chatter
All this information is gathered than analyzed and made a part of the final persona creation process. Let’s get into details of each of these recommendations:
On-site survey: There are a number of onsite survey tools that allow you to present visitors with a pop-up containing a quick response on their overall site experience, as well as gauging what they are doing on your site in the first place. You can also consider using exit pop-up surveys to figure out why visitors are abandoning your site. Some questions you can consider asking include:
- What is the purpose of your visit today?
- Did you find what you were looking for?
- If not, why?
- What was your overall site experience?
Of course these questions can be adapted to match your site service or products, but overall, they will give you a sense from your visitors of their overall experience, why they came, and what if anything did they accomplish.
Post-Purchase Survey: So great, you made a sale and got a customer. Is that enough? Never. One time purchases are not very beneficial to you in the long run. Now, you have the more difficult than ever task now of engaging that one-time customer to become a customer for a life, or even better, an ambassador for your product or service. That is why a post-purchase survey allows you the opportunity of engaging them, understanding their experience, and giving them an incentive to return. You can learn a lot about the service you provided and how to better improve it by listening to your customer’s experience.
Data Gathering: Many companies have customer representatives standing buy to address questions or concerns visitors may have. But how many companies are analyzing the data? Customer reps are speaking to all sorts of visitors at the different buying stages with questions and concerns about the site, about the products, etc. So the question is, how can you gather that information and successfully address it?
- Top 15: You obviously can’t address all questions and concerns at once, so start small. Take the top 15 concerns and questions and one by one, work on addressing them on your site. Once you’ve completed them, move on to the next 15.
- Have a solid data-gathering method: What’s worse than having the reps and just not using the data, is not gathering the data at all! Leaving the info in the heads of your reps alone will do you no good. You want to make sure your customer reps are noting the questions and concerns, and placing them in an organized file so you can easily be able to extract the information.
- Don’t dismiss VOC: Sometimes you really need to read into some of the comments or questions customers have. For example: when they say they can’t find something over and over again, that means there is an issue with your navigation, filtration mechanisms, or search. When they continuously ask about a certain spec of your product or service, although you may have it listed on the page somewhere, clearly, it is not obvious enough to your visitors.
Interviews: Interviews are a great way to hear the customers voice directly from their lips to your ears. We actually recommend two tier interviews:
- The customer service reps: What is their experience with the customers, what do they think the top concerns and questions on without reviewing the data (i.e. what sticks in their minds).
- The actual customers: What was their experience like? What changes would they recommend on the website? These questions and more can really help you become more in-tuned with your target market.
Listening to the Chatter: Social media, blogs, and customer reviews all give you a lens into what your target market are buzzing about. Set-up different alerts for mentions, monitor and interact with your visitors through social media, and consistently look at the good and bad reviews people are making on your site.