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Voice of the Customer

Selecting The Right Voice of the Customer Tool: Red flags and Key Questions

by Duff Anderson, on Jan 26, 2017

Today, companies are in the customer experience business. It's no longer enough to compete on products and services, but it’s also about delivering superior experiences.

To create a stand-out digital experience, it starts with understanding the voice of your customers. That’s why one of the most important investments you can make is selecting a digital Voice of the Customer (VoC) tool. A VoC tool allows you to interact with your website visitors and get their feedback about how to improve the digital experience.

However, choosing the right digital VoC tool isn’t easy. Just as if you’re hiring a new client-facing team member, finding the right VoC provider can require a lot of effort and follow-up.  There are many different tools with their own set of different capabilities, which can make it difficult to find the one solution that will allow you to tackle all your current needs.

In this post, I will look at some of the red flags and key questions you can ask VoC providers during your research to make sure that you select the right Voice of the Customer tool for you, and that will deliver a return on your investment.


3 Voice of the Customer Tool Red Flags

Your search for the right VoC tool will be easier if you can rule out vendors that probably won’t be a good fit right off the bat. So here are some red flags to watch out for: 

  1. Limited track record – Not all vendors have equal experience. A DIY or self service solution is very different to an enterprise solution. An enterprise solution needs to demonstrate they have a solid track record implementing their solution on high traffic websites, across multiple brands and in different languages and regions. Also they need to have a team of experts that have a solid track record managing the diverse aspects of a digital VoC program, from implementation experts to research analysts.

  1. One-trick pony – Today, best-in-class VoC tools offer a full range of engagement methods, from comment cards to surveys. If a VoC vendor only offers one type of engagement, they will probably be unable to scale or meet your needs as your research evolves. To learn more about the different engagement methods and their benefits, check out this blog post.

  1. Responsive design – One thing I hate is doing a survey on my mobile and the survey is not optimized to my screen. In 2017, this shouldn’t be happening. A big red flag is not having a responsive design that optimizes to the screen of the respondent.


Key questions

As you evaluate different Voice of the Customer tools, you will enter in a discussion and attend sales demos with a few different vendors.  When you reach this stage, you need to make sure that you ask the right questions so that you can find the right VoC solution for you. 

These are the questions you should discuss to help you narrow down the different VoC providers you are evaluating: 

1. To what extent can you manage my VoC program?

Collaborating with a team of experts will save you time and resources, but not all vendors have the same quality of professional services. Make sure that when you discuss the capabilities of VoC vendor’s products, you also discuss their professional service capabilities. Even if you don’t need to use the full services a VoC provider has on offer, it is important that they have experience if ever you need to fill gaps quickly.  For example, if someone from your team leaves, or you realize that you didn’t have all the internal expertise required to implement the solution. 


2. Can you build specific solutions that meet exactly my needs?

This might seem like an obvious question, but not all VoC solutions provide a tailored solution that is adapted to your needs. The main reason they force you to use standardized questions is so that they can offer benchmarking capabilities. The ideal VoC solution should offer you ability to run target surveys to answer specific business questions you might have, while still offering benchmarking capabilities through running a traditional VoC research study.


3. How does the implementation process work?

Launching a VoC solution will always require you to implement code on your website, but not all VoC solutions have the same implementation process. To make it easier for your team to manage, especially when conducting research on multiple sites, a leading VoC provider should provide the ability to leverage a single script with which you can manage all of your surveys, as opposed to needing a different script for each of the different surveys you want to run.  This script should be ‘plug and play’ as well, so you can easily make and publish changes to your research on the fly without needing to go through your IT department every time.


4. What reporting do you offer?

Most good VoC solutions offer reporting capabilities ranging from text analytics to benchmarking to BI reporting. During your demo, make sure that the vendor shows you the full suite of reporting tools they have to offer. This will allow you to assess whether they provide intuitive and interactive reporting features that will help you quickly get the insights you need to make customer-centric decisions.


5. Does the VoC solution meet all your security and privacy guidelines?

As you are collecting information directly from your customers, it is imperative that your VoC solution has state-of-the-art security capabilities. Also, if you want to deploy the solution in different markets and regions around the world, make sure that the vendor complies with the different regional legislation.


6. What is your expertise in my industry?

There are various different VoC solutions out there with different solutions focusing on specific industries or company size. By looking at the current customers of a VoC solution, you can get a feel for the different industries in which the vendor is strong and whether they cater more for small businesses or large enterprises.


7. Why should we choose you over your competitors?

This question challenges the vendor and lets them know that you’re looking at other vendors in their space. It also tests their knowledge of the VoC industry and gives you the chance to hear their take on what makes their VoC solution stand out from the competition. If they can’t answer this question, they’re probably not the right choice.


Find the right Voice of the Customer tool

As you set out to find the right VoC tool for you, make sure you have a clear idea of what your current business needs are, and use the questions above as a guide to make the right choice.

Image source: Pexel

Duff Anderson
Duff Anderson

Duff Anderson is a visionary in Voice of the Customer research with over 20 years’ experience.

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