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5 Tips to Bring the Voice of the Customer Inside

In the race for market relevance, product-centric organizations are hitting a roadblock. An alternative formula? Putting customers back in the driver’s seat. The key to delivering an outstanding customer experience is knowing what they want and need. Let’s look at some strategies to help you better understand your clients’ needs. 

 

From features to benefits 

 

Over the past years, we’ve assisted quite some organizations that are more product-centric at The House of Marketing. This drive is part of their DNA and a key strength. While these companies excel in developing products and services, they sometimes miss out on the opportunity of understanding deep customer needs as a result of their product-focus.  

 

However, in today’s customer-driven market, it’s the customer-centric organizations that tend to thrive: their focus on meeting customer needs, fostering loyalty, and adapting quickly to changing preferences leads to more long-term success.   

 

Is it time to move away from creating extensive product roadmaps that take months or even years to develop? Time to quit producing features that customers don’t necessarily want? We think so. Let’s bring the customer experience back into focus.   

 

Two principles that can foster a more customer centric organization  

 

 

The first step towards a more customer-centric culture? Bridging the gap between employees and end customers. Often, broad audience insights are available, but lack genuine understanding of the customers and the reasoning behind their needs. 

 

Therefore, we need to think of ways to bring employees and customers closer together. This way, reasonings can be followed and emotions can be felt, which can have a big impact in addition to the numbers you’re showing on your screen. 

 

Another step to take is to look for frictions in your customer journey in a structural way. Improving the Customer Experience is all about removing frictions and barriers, in order to lower the effort someone needs to take in each interaction. 

“When stakeholders can experience feedback directly from the customer, they can experience the true frustrations and emotions that come with a certain interaction.”

 

Katie Baeck, 

Senior Consultant at The House of Marketing

Let’s make both principles concrete, by providing you with these 5 tips.  

 

How we help you shift towards a customer-centric organization 

 

Want to experiment with customer-centricity? These 5 tips help you start out:  

 

Tip #1: Choose the right methodology to understand customer needs 

 

Improving customer centricity requires careful consideration of methodology. Define your project methodology based on your project goals, but always make sure to include a customer research part, by doing audience interviews, analyzing website behavior, reading customer reviews, etc. This can be done in different ways: by analyzing qualitative and/or quantitative data, by focusing on declarative and/or behavioural data, and more. 

 

Tip #2: Bridge the gap between headquarters and company branches 

 

Does your company have different branches all over the country or even worldwide? Make sure HQ colleagues regularly visit other branches to observe customer interactions firsthand. Working from a local branch once a month or quarter, for example, will help strengthen relationships, not only with your customers but also between staff.   

 

Tip #3: Get stakeholders and leadership to attend user testing 

 

When stakeholders can experience feedback directly from the customer, they can experience the true frustrations and emotions that come with a certain interaction. Therefore, invite your key stakeholders to observe customer interviews and user tests as silent listener (followed from a distance). 

 

Tip #4: Start ‘frictionhunting’  

 

Frictionhunting basically means identifying and addressing customer friction points. Establish a platform where employees can log customer frictions, regardless of their magnitude, ensuring that no concern goes unnoticed or unaddressed. Allocate time for your team, such as one hour per week, to actively seek out these issues.  

 

Tip #5: Organize a client council  

 

Plan gatherings in which selected clients meet with company executives, providing direct feedback. We see this often in a B2B environment, but it could also work in a B2C environment. Try to organize this on a periodic basis, like once per quarter or per year.  

 

When this is not feasible, have management experience a day in the life of a customer care center. They will dive straight into clients’ issues, discover what the daily problems are, and get a clear understanding of customers’ wants and needs. This way, leadership is confronted with potential customer issues firsthand. It highlights the importance of prioritizing customer experience when your next budget cycle comes up and it’s time to set priorities for the upcoming year. 

Getting your team on board with a shift towards better CX? Contact our expert Katie.