3 ways to listen to the voice of the customer

Marketers often plan and align loyalty programs and promotions to match larger marketing plans. While intentions are good, this approach can result in too heavy of a focus on internal goals instead of actually listening to the voice of the customer.

Why? Because customer feedback comes through multiple channels (in-store, online, social, etc.) and sources (sales, surveys, etc.) and synthesizing the feedback is no easy task.

To truly evolve programs and meet customer expectations, the voice of the customer must be heard.  
Here I review three recommendations for how marketers can better listen to the voice of the customers and incorporate those efforts into loyalty programs:

Listen to your call center team

Customer service reps collect valuable information from customers (and loyalty members) on how your program is doing. Think about the insights reps can receive on the ‘front line’. These interactions are an opportunity to learn more about a customer’s interests to inform future interactions and ultimately influence purchasing decisions.
Have you ever called LL Bean’s customer service department? They answer by the second ring and with their phone number recognition system, they have the ability to know and talk to the individual customer.

Additionally, customer service reps are able to view all purchases made, regardless of the channel. Their mission of providing legendary customer service through Guaranteed to Last™ products has enabled the retailer to officially be named the Customer Service Champion.
Your call center is truly a 1:You experience and the insights gathered via this channel are vital to a successful loyalty program and customer experience.

Integrate customer behaviors from all channels

With customers interacting across multiple channels, it is important to ensure you are listening to them across all touchpoints.

For example, a customer’s voice could be very different in-store versus online. To put it in perspective, when I shop in-store at home improvement stores, I purchase seasonal items like fertilizer for my lawn, mulch for my flowerbeds and paint for touch ups. When I shop online, I tend to purchase everyday items such as batteries or light bulbs.

No matter where or how I have purchased, following a great experience with a product, I am likely to share a positive review on the retailer’s website. If the home improvement store is only listening to me in one channel, they are not going to understand my wants, needs, interests and preferred shopping methods.

Having a complete customer view across multiple channels provides the retailer with greater insight into what will motivate my future purchase behavior. Then, integrating this customer knowledge into personalized promotional campaigns will allow you to deliver a 1:You experience to customers.

Don’t dismiss the power of your loyalty program

Think about all the data contained within your loyalty program. Here, members opt-in and share their interests, purchase preferences, demographic information and so much more.

Loyalty members typically have a lot to say (both good and bad), and share more honest and consistent feedback because there is an established relationship with the brand. Within the loyalty program, marketers should create a way for members to provide feedback easily.

For example, establishing a customer forum or focus group will allow you to learn what is working and what is not, and provide insights into behaviors and opportunities. These insights will give you ideas for how to modify program benefits (and promotions) and allow for you to start connecting with members on a 1:You level.
By better listening to your ‘best’ customers, you can learn a great deal on program improvements or validate what you are currently doing. Additionally, you’ll create greater trust and an overall stronger relationship driving a better program and enhanced ROI for your business.
As you’re evaluating your program capabilities, think about what you need to better listen to your customers. Assess your technology solution, service capabilities and data insights along with your program strategy.

Do you have the right tools and processes in place to truly listen to each and every customer and establish the 1:You connection? Connect with us to learn more.

**This post originally appeared on L360.