VOC: Owning the Conversation
One of the biggest battles that companies have to face is regaining their position in the conversation about the needs of customers and the solutions which address those needs.
The sad part is that, with your customers, at one time, your company owned the conversation. What let it slip away was a lack of communication between your company and your customers
Are your competitors the only ones talking?
We've written it many times before -- your competitors are everywhere -- especially where you can't see them but don't want them to be.
Your products don't have a strong enough voice -- at least against a salesperson of another company.
Deciding on VOC Commitment
There are varying degrees of commitment that a company can make towards VOC programs.
The decision rests in an assessment of your customers, competitors and overall market conditions.
You need to hear what your customers are hearing -- both inside (employees) and outside their company (competitors and information sources).
If competitors products are similar or in some ways better than your product OR if your competition is very aggressive on pricing or packaging -- then your company needs to know about it.
VOC programs are powerful tools for knowing about what's driving customer thinking …. EARLIER.
Timing is a key
VOC programs give your company a huge timing advantage -- when the conversation turns in a way that hurts your company -- your voice can be in the game sooner.
The ROI on VOC programs is substantially from reduction of customer turnover (saved revenue) and avoided "bring back" pricing -- the aggressive discounting that is used to turn around a competitive take-away.
Keeping the Door Closed to Competitors
Loyalty programs are like latches on doors for competitors -- it makes it tougher for them to get your customers engaged in a conversation. Why? because it keeps the benefit of staying your company front of mind and makes customer defensive about losing those advantages.
You loyalty programs are your first voice (in the heads) of your customers when competitors come knocking on their door.
Customers Don't Like to Change Direction
There are two situations in which this is the case.
1. When they're your customer, they really don't want to change vendors -- unless you give them a strong reason to or someone else (competitors) get a chance to change their thinking
2. When they've decided to leave, they really don't want to reverse their decision, forcing your company to be extremely generous to retain them.
Two sides of the same coin (customer inertia) -- one works in your favor and one absolutely works against your company. Timing is everything in taking advantage before the coin flips.
Your position takes a quantum downward dip when he coin flips to situation 2 -- don't let it.