At times, it’s more important to listen, than speak.
One of the best strategies a regional company can take part in to improve and grow is by listening to your audience. The best way to do this is through the “Voice of Consumers,” or VoC. While listening to your customers may seem obvious, it’s important for businesses to properly engage in this exercise in order to refresh your strategic communication plan.
Here are three simple ways a mid-market company can engage in VOC to make a significant impact on their business:
Face to Face VoC
Face to Face VOC involves direct contact with your customers through the use of personal interviews, surveys and polls to ascertain their opinions on your business. Such one on one contact allows your customers to express themselves clearly and concisely without the results being miscommunicated by a middle man. This eliminates the guess work regarding your customers’ desires and expectations. While it’s nothing new, face to face interviews continue to be utilized because they are tried and true methods for testing improvements to your products or services.
VoC Consumer Experience
Consumer experiences occur everywhere, not just in physical brick and mortar locations. It’s the way your customers feel when engaging with your brand through your website, mobile app, or social media pages. While tracking a customer’s journey is important, listening to their feedback is more valuable since your regional company can customize answers based on local conditions and sentiments.
An easy way to monitor customer experiences is to look for comments and ask questions on your social media pages. Does your website navigate easily? Are your social sites informational, interesting and helpful to them? Is your site mobile ready and do your mobile coupons display properly on every smartphone operating system? These are all important concerns that VOC can clarify. Be sure to respond promptly to consumer questions and comments to clearly show your consumers that their opinions matter.
VoC for Live Consumer Engagement
Social outlets such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube never close. These sites offer the audience an opportunity to speak to your brand directly, 24/7. Everyone seems to be a critic and are eager to express their opinions on nearly everything at any time. Be proactive with your customers by participating in the social conversation. Doing so not only allows the original communicator to feel heard but affords your company the opportunity to show all followers that you truly care.
Remember the old 2/11 rule. If someone appreciates your brand, they tell two people but if they dislike your brand, they tell eleven. Social media magnifies those numbers by ten, one hundred, even one thousand times. Take the opinions and suggestions from your social media consumers and utilize them to make improvements.
Listening to your consumers is crucial for a company of any size. However, a regional company has an advantage over a national company because they can tailor their responses market by market. Too often, companies believe they know what’s best for their consumers without truly listening to them. The personal connections and information afforded by accepting VOC can help a regional business message be more than background noise.