If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a customer’s journey could begin at a myriad of touchpoints from every possible direction. It’s dizzying, but because customer experience is a key differentiator, it’s more important than ever to have a holistic understanding of the customer’s journey from every new touchpoint — across the entire organization. The different parts of your organization need to understand each other. To understand each other, they need the right tools and data.

Many organizations do this with a Voice of Customer (VoC) approach, going straight to the source to collect, share, and act upon customer data. A Voice of Customer program is the process of capturing your customers’ wants, needs, preferences, aversions, highlights and pains — from across the customer journey. Deep breath.

Support agents have deep insight into customer pains that have strong implications for your product, brand, and organizational structure. Sharing VoC data across your business means breaking down internal silos (yuck!), moving towards better CSAT, and affecting change where necessary to improve the overall customer experience.

What is Voice of Customer data?

Voice of Customer data consists of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) like CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) ratings, NPS (Net Promoter Score®), and FRT (First Reply Times). Relevant KPIs differ between industries and businesses.

Beyond the acronyms, there are numerous other metrics that lead to better understanding. VoC insight draws from support queries like the number of tickets for each feedback type — think feature requests and problem categories. It might include bug tickets, ticket deflection, and billing issues, or information like open rates, click-through rates and unsubscribe requests in outbound messages. It might mean looking for holes in your help center — which search terms garner no results? Which articles are popular?

Ultimately, important VoC data is as specific to your organization as your customers are.
It’s up to you and your business to determine which VoC data are most important and impactful.

How to analyze and act upon Voice of Customer data

Analyzing Voice of Customer data consists of collecting, sharing, and acting upon the data from the aforementioned sources with the ultimate goal of improving your customer experience. Highlighted below are three ways VoC data improves your business.

Training opportunities

Sharing VoC data can lead to training opportunities for support agents, according to Leah Guest, Zendesk’s homegrown VoC Platform Coordinator.

“Say we get a lot of tickets on insights and reporting,” she said. “We can look at the total time to resolution on those tickets, we can look at first reply time, we can look at CSAT — and identify areas in which operationally we can also improve to have a better experience. That might be training our advocates on how to better answer people who reach out so that you’re decreasing that total time to resolution,” she explained.

According to the Zendesk Research: Customer Satisfaction report companies with slower FRTs have lower CSAT. Decreasing time to resolution could be achieved by introducing new support channels, like asynchronous messaging or self-service help centers that play to the customer’s sense of convenience.

It’s no wonder that businesses with a VoC program boast higher customer satisfaction, and have a better reputation when it comes to customer experience. Even beyond support, insights gleaned from customer data can educate anyone, and leave a lasting impression of your brand.

Now, customers have an expectation that they’re being heard. That’s the standard set by today’s most innovative brands and companies, and it’s what sets better companies apart from the rabble. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is still known to read and circulate customer emails that catch his eye with a succinct “?” — a gesture that’s grown to urban-legend proportions in CX discussions.

Knowledge base management

VoC insights can help boost your self service Knowledge Base, too. Self service takes the heat off support agents by enabling customers to find solutions to their problems before they even start a conversation.

In the same way Rome wasn’t built in a day, a solid Knowledge Base won’t be, either. Thankfully creating Knowledge Base content out of support tickets and customer conversations is easy. Voice of Customer data lays the foundation for a Knowledge Base that ultimately resorts in shorter resolution times.

As Leah put it, “One thing we really look at are tickets that were resolved with one answer. That’s a really big way of figuring out if there’s Knowledge Base articles we can create.”

If there’s a frequently asked question with a lot of quick resolutions, Leah explained, the company can create more articles on best practices for their Knowledge Base. “That way customers have more self service opportunities, which ultimately decreases ticket volume.”

Product roadmap influence

Data gleaned from support agents can lead to product roadmap changes, while creating opportunities for proactive engagement with customers. When a Support workflow proved to be difficult to understand for Zendesk customers, Leah pointed out how sharing customer feedback across the organization influenced both the product roadmap and support strategy, ultimately resulting in a better customer experience.

“It gets really complex,” she said. “With that feedback, the product team was working on some stuff but it wasn’t solving the issue completely. So we took it to our advocacy team who started a proactive campaign that said, ‘Hey, here are some best practices to make it easier to understand your workflow.’ And it worked really well.”

Take Action!

A modern support strategy isn’t just about which channels you’re on and which software you use — though good software is a great start. It’s about listening to your customer, circulating their insight, and acting on that data to deliver concrete results. Sharing support data across your organization affects real and necessary change, with the benefit of improving KPIs like FRT, CSAT and NPS.

Customer interactions don’t happen in a void. Like the butterfly effect, which suggests the flap of a butterfly’s wing can set in a hurricane in motion, even a seemingly unremarkable customer conversation can be the catalyst for massive and important change.

Sharing your VoC data across the organization creates actionable insights that result in better customer experiences, lower churn, and higher customer referrals. Internally, it means better advocates, a solid Knowledge Base, and a product roadmap that ensures customer success.

Learn about Zendesk tools for measuring and analyzing customer input here.