Three Voice of Customer (VoC) innovators -- Pitney Bowes, JetBlue, and Intel -- implemented important best practices in 2011. Watch them closely in 2012.
What is VoC?
Voice of Customer (VoC) is a marketing process that values, and is guided by, the insights of customers and prospects. The VoC process is made up of three core steps.
STEP 1. Voice of Customer Relationship Research. Research with customers or prospects helps marketers understand consumers' product or service needs, decision making processes, and expectations of the optimal multichannel experience via web, social media/community, email, offline media, and customer service call centers.
VoC Innovator: Pitney Bowes. The mail stream giant routes new alerts about potential service problems direct to its front-line managers. The source: Pitney Bowes' own customers. Managers coach their teams closely on these customer-identified "improvement areas". Managers also dole out praise to the team based on customer feedback related to the specific problems solved.
For more on what Pitney Bowes is doing right based on VoC insights, check out their "Voice of the Customer Radio."
The Takeaway: Treat customer complaints as opportunities to gather and share critical VoC feedback... and improve internal response systems.
STEP 2. Preference-driven Engagement. By engaging customers and prospects to Opt-In and self-profile their preferences, some companies create exceptionally accurate and high response Opt-In databases.
Preference-driven Engagement Innovator: JetBlue. The airline's database development includes extensive opt-in and self-profiling initiatives. These include a Facebook Places campaign that gives passengers offers and reward points for checking in at specific airports, and an extremely sophisticated social media monitoring campaign. JetBlue actively monitors online conversations using hashtags, keywords and the like, engaging with customers and prospective customers at critical touch points. For more on JetBlue's preference-driven engagement, click here.
The Takeaway: Create opt-in and self-profiling initiatives that deliver clear value to both customers and prospects.
STEP 3. Preference-Driven Multichannel Marketing. This is the go-to-market component, where the VoC research-based strategies drive deployment of the social and traditional multichannel media mix, per individual preferences. Elements of a preference-driven integrated mix include online, social, direct mail, print, broadcast, narrowcast, and all the possible person to person "touch points".... including phone and face to face interactions.
Preference-driven Multichannel Marketing Innovator: Intel. Innovating in the area of creating preference-driven marketing channels, the semiconductor chip manufacturer Intel used feedback from customers and business partners to expand its marketing strategy. That strategy now includes festival-like events as part of a multichannel experience that appeals to a much younger target demographic: the 19-to-24-year-old end users of the computers that use its chips.
Innovate in 2012!
The Takeaway: Blend social media, traditional media, and live events to create a multichannel marketing mix that reflects the preferences of your target market.
Some enterprises rode the VoC wave much more adeptly than others in the year just past. These three in particular, each of which was cited in a thoughtful white paper from Forrester Research, stood out as role models.
Ernan Roman is President of the marketing consultancy, Ernan Roman Direct Marketing.
Recognized as the industry pioneer who created three transformational methodologies: Integrated Direct Marketing, Opt-In Marketing, and Voice of Customer Relationship Research