Why Listening to the Voice of the Customer Is Critical
Pay attention to the conversations your existing and future customers are having
The majority of what’s being said about your dealership isn’t the marketing messages you’re posting on your website, blog, or direct mail campaigns: It’s the conversations your existing and potential customers are having online and in person.
Listening to the Voice of the Customer (VOC) has become critical for brands that want to improve their services and products—so critical that many dealerships are retaining customer feedback managers dedicated to being part of the conversations. Let’s take a look at five ways these professionals excel at VOC.
1. Have documented goals for VOC feedback. The best customer feedback managers have a specific, documented strategy with well-defined objectives for collecting information. They’ve listed the goals they intend to accomplish, and align them with dealership initiatives for consistent messaging.
This helps managers identify the kind of feedback they need to collect, and appreciate the reasons why they’re gathering this data. These details are useful in helping managers determine what they’re going to do with the information they’ve gained.
2. Maintain a central customer feedback database. The feedback you collect is extremely valuable, so it deserves to be properly stored and managed. Customer feedback managers put a priority on implementing technology to collect, store, and assess the data, known as customer experience management (CEM) solutions.
CEM solutions also help managers and executives design surveys to gain more insight into customer motivations and needs when purchasing or servicing a vehicle. By centralizing customer feedback and survey details into an enterprise-wide system, a dealership can learn more about what’s working in the company and what needs improvement.
3. Take the role as customer advocate seriously. This means actively supporting customer feedback strategies throughout the process, because the most powerful impact on customers is how they’re treated once their comments are received by you.
At the instant feedback is collected, a manager must be driven to resolve the issue, including:
- Quick response time;
- Escalation of urgent issues to the right level;
- Staying connected with customers about status of their issue; and,
- Closing the feedback loop once the issue is resolved.
4. Share customer feedback throughout the enterprise. Every person in your dealership benefits from knowing customer feedback, from the service department to sales managers to the Internet team.
This information provides valuable insight as to how you can better serve customers to drive sales. Customer feedback managers share details and communicate successful strategies, enabling your dealership to improve operations.
And it doesn’t just have to stay within the walls of your organization—use the reviews you’re received to actively communicate back with your customers online and promote positive reviews through your social media channels.
5. Measure VOC results and performance. Just as you use analytics on unique visitors to your website and followers on social media to assess engagement, customer feedback managers use the data they collect to measure performance. They tie their efforts to business outcomes by looking at analytics like retention, vehicle purchases, likelihood for return business, and potential to recommend to others.
Customer feedback managers are making an impact at dealerships that are committed to incorporating VOC to boost revenue and improve services. But their success isn’t driven merely by getting online a few times a day and responding to customer comments: Effective customer feedback managers have a documented strategy and make these habits part of their routine.
David Brondstetter is co-founder and CEO of SureCritic, a customer experience management (CEM) solution that enables dealer guests to correspond with businesses about their overall customer experience and help drive process improvement for better business practices and profits. He can be reached at David@Surecritic.com.