Can you hear what your customers are really saying? For many marketers, the information they receive about customer comments or complaints is mostly anecdotal. A key account manager might mention that clients really like one particular product attribute, or that they have no use for another. The business development team might pass along what they’re hearing from prospects. Comments on social media or on your website give you some insight, but typically only capture feedback on a single topic or event.
How can you guarantee that you fully understand the thoughts and thought processes of your targets or stakeholders with regard to your products, services, company or marketing programs?
Voice of Customer sessions offer a formal, structured way to capture the opinions, perceptions and suggestions of your audiences, and include in-depth analysis and recommendations based on the results. These aren’t quick phone calls that annoy the caller on the other end of the line. Instead, these are scheduled, one-on-one interviews, with trained interviewers who take your targets through a list of carefully-crafted questions, documenting replies and probing for wider insights. They also offer a respectful, professional way to show customers that you truly value their perspectives.
Who uses Voice of Customer sessions?
Companies use voice of customer sessions for a wide range of reasons. Some organizations use them for new product development, to help shape product form and function, attributes and positioning. Others use the process to refine marketing messaging, to ensure that global marketing campaigns resonate and send the desired messages in all countries and regions. In many cases, an attribute that is very important in one country has little relevance in another. And sometimes, what seems benign in one part of the world can carry a different, even negative meaning in a different locale.
Defining important regional differences was one of the key results of a recent voice of customer project that Living Stone conducted for a healthcare technology company. The company, which develops and sells high-priced equipment and systems for blood processing to hospitals and blood centers, wanted to test the marketing messaging platform that it had developed for a new, flagship technology. The messaging platform, which would be distributed and used worldwide as the basis for local marketing tools, was very detailed, with specific messaging relating to the refreshed product design, new device features, benefit enhancements and the expanded software.
28 interviews across 17 countries guarantees messaging that sells around the globe
For this project, Living Stone organized and conducted 28 interviews in 17 countries, either in English or the local language, whichever was preferred by the interview subject (including Chinese, Turkish, Russian, Italian, Spanish and German – to name just a few). The interviews were conducted with sales and marketing representatives of the company itself as well as prospective customers and current users of a previous version of the solution. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and where necessary, translated to English, creating a significant base of quantitative and qualitative data on the new messaging platform.
In addition to identifying important regional differences, the results clearly indicated which parts of the messaging had meaning for the targets, and which statements were unconvincing or not relevant. Living Stone then revised the messaging platform, incorporating prospects’ and customers’ needs and interests precisely, ensuring that the messaging was right on target. The result: deep insight to support a successful global product launch.
What do you need to know?
Voice of customer sessions can provide all kinds of information. They can be used to learn more about customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and retention, or even to find out the reasons why customers have left your company. They can be small or large, providing data and analysis to power a product launch for example, or background to support a local email campaign.