20/02/2023 • Jon Carrick
It's well documented how important it is to know your customer. But how do we do this? It's definitely easier to say than it is to do. Those who are experts in their customers generally have a lot of experience in dealing with that customer or time served in important roles like customer service, sales and delivery.
There are even tools out there that allow you to analyse your customer data. But what if you don't have the resources for that? Mybe you are a start-up and lack a large amount of data, or don't have the funds to support large Voice of Customer programmes.
Although never recommended on their own, when resources are limited Voice of Customer Aggregators can be a huge blessing.
‘Voice of Customer’ (VOC) Aggregators are experts on a particular user base. VOC refers to the expectations, preferences and comments on a product or service; it is an understanding of how people perceive and interact with brands, products and services.
Rather than go out and talk to hundreds, thousands of people about their thoughts, it is much easier to talk to one person who already understands the general consensus by having spent considerable time working with the particular brand or target audience. It is unlikely to meet someone who defines themself as a VOC Aggregator. Instead, they are usually resellers, consultants, customer-support specialists etc. and may be internal or external employees. With their knowledge of how customers buy, they will know the appropriate approach for how to sell.
Firstly it's worth noting that using VOC aggregators should be done alongside talking to users when growing an online business. The importance of talking directly to users shouldn’t be understated. They provide a primary source of information that can also be used to confirm what VOC Aggregators are saying. The easiest way to do this is through a survey, or via social media. While this provides a current understanding and insight into the user base, it is only a snapshot. VOC Aggregators may have a more general understanding of the user base’s dependencies, e.g. time, competing markets, political influences etc.
So how should you use them?
They may be resellers, consultants, telesales people, and customer-support people. They may work for your own company or for other companies in the same supply chain. They may work for online companies, mail-order companies, or brick-and-mortar companies.
Ask them how they would sell your product. Their approach is likely to mirror the logic of how their customers buy. Get them to tell you the most commonly asked questions, the hesitations and objections they usually get.
None of this is any good unless you do something with it. Use this to test new copy, change customer pathways and amend features. With this complementary information, you can implement the corresponding action through a roadmap of improvements to your marketing.
Ultimately nothing will replace talking to your customers, but even this can be skewed and is only a snapshot of the data. Voice of Customer Agrregators can be a simple way to get distilled information about your customers.
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