Voice of customer research is key

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Recent research findings indicate that marketers are missing critical opportunities to truly connect with customers at key points of contact.

Findings from our Voice of Customer Research for companies such as Microsoft, Reliant Energy and Bio-Rad Laboratories indicate that consumer and business decision-makers across industries want a connection with a company. In other words, just being good at transacting is not good enough.

Consider these quotes from VOC Research;

"We don't just want to transact on your Web site or with customer service. We want to connect with your company and your brand."

"I expect an easy navigation and commerce process. What differentiates you is the brand experience of who you are. Otherwise, you're all the same."

Per the research, business-to-consumer and business-to-business customers are emphatic in wanting a connection. Yet companies continue to focus on transactions via Web or their robotic customer service call centers.

Consider these additional research findings per ERDM Customer Service Call Center Satisfaction research:

Poor experiences negatively impact perception of the company (83 percent); willingness to buy from the company (72 percent); and likelihood to recommend the company to others (77 percent).

Good experiences positively impact perception of the company (92 percent); willingness to buy from the company (90 percent); and likelihood to recommend the company to others (88 percent).

LiveWorld and McKinsey & Co. research indicates that people who participate in an effective online community experience return to a site nine times as often and stay on the site five times as long (The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2006).

In light of these research findings, we urge you to re-think the importance of customer contact points such as the Web and customer service call centers.

Use them as uniquely powerful components of a relationship hub, which enables customers to self-profile their product, messaging and media preferences.

Then use this unique opt-in preference data to drive increasingly personalized and relevant multichannel communications.

But don't design these strategic initiatives from the insularity of a conference room. Use voice of customer research to ask customers and prospects how they define a preference-based relationship with you and what the customer experience should be at critical points such as Web and customer service.

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