Voice of the Customer: A Guide for Housing Professionals

Successful businesses don’t rely only on sales numbers or churn metrics to tell them how they’re doing. They also rely heavily on customer feedback.

They know exactly why and how their customers make decisions because they understand their perspective. They know exactly what their customers think because they pay attention to what they say.

Successful businesses are able to understand their buyers because they capture the Voice of the Customer.

What is Voice of the Customer?

Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a term used to describe the feedback customers provide about their experience with a business. By capturing VoC, companies can understand consumer behavior and preference trends, and visualize the gap between customer expectations and their actual experience with the business’s services or products. The particular gap is known as the “knowledge gap” – a disconnect between what management thinks customers want and what customers actually want.

This disconnect causes a detachment in the customer experience “loop”. A closed-loop customer experience means businesses are responding directly to customer feedback meaningfully by resolving complaints quickly, incorporating customer feedback into products and services, and connecting with happy customers.

When a business doesn’t actively listen to customer feedback, the loop fails. Collecting Voice of the Customer data is vital for bridging the gap.

Why is Voice of the Customer important for housing professionals?

If there’s any industry where customers’ desires are critical to business success it’s the housing industry. New constructions, craft homes, or remodels, people want the perfect space to settle down, start fresh, or build a family. Details matter and not just inside the home.

76% of customers expect companies to understand their needs, but 51% of customers say most companies fall short of their experience expectations.

Need more proof?

The overall enjoyment of an experience is important for decision-making for 56% of consumers and 80% of customers say they’re more likely to do business with companies that provide personalized experiences.

By implementing a VoC program to capture VoC data, analyzing the results, and acting on the information, you can expect to:

  • Avoid crises by seeing early warning signs of problems
  • Increase revenue and new customer acquisition
  • Reduce operational costs by improving internal processes
  • Customize and improve services and products to meet customer requirements
  • Evaluate how improvements impact customer metrics and business KPIs
  • Increase customer loyalty and customer referrals
  • Measure customer satisfaction across the customer journey
  • Understand your customer’s preferences and expectations
  • Take action at the strategic level to make customer-centric decisions
  • Encourage happy customers to become promoters
  • Transform complaints into opportunities to improve

Some of the most compelling evidence of VoC’s impact on business success is research by the Aberdeen Group showing companies using best-in-class VoC achieve a 10 times greater increase in annual revenue every year. Why? Because VoC data allows companies to connect with customers, identify areas they fall short in the customers’ perspectives, and collaborate internally to improve the customer journey.

What is a best-in-class Voice of the Customer program?

Successful Voice of the Customer programs differ across industries and organizations and largely depend on a company’s audience. But best-in-class VoC programs have a few similarities:

They offer multiple channels for customers to share feedback. This could include email, phone calls, social media, online forms, reviews, surveys, etc. Every customer has a different preference for how they want to communicate, so a great VoC program will provide options and let customers know about them. This not only boosts response rates but shows customers you care about their preferences.

They use both structured and unstructured feedback. Structured feedback like surveys and focus groups allow companies to ask customers specific questions they want more insight on. Unstructured feedback like social media comments and online reviews give companies a better understanding of what customers want because they are unprompted customer opinions.

They integrate customer feedback with related systems. Successful VoC programs combine customer experience feedback from places like social media channels and surveys with insights from customer relationship management systems, customer experience management software, and other data sources.

Related: Why Homebuilders Should Invest in a Third-Party CX Solution

They work with a customer-centric culture. For a VoC program to reach its greatest potential, it needs to work in tandem with a company that’s truly customer-focused in all aspects of the operation. VoC insights are not only for marketing or sales. They benefit every team of an organization from executives to customer service representatives, so everyone needs to be empowered to put the customer first.

Related: How to Build a Customer-Obsessed Culture

They focus on systematic improvements. Successful programs continuously share the results of changes implemented based on VoC insights. By constantly monitoring customer and business metrics, companies can keep evolving and make more improvements over time based on real-time data.

They incorporate VoC into marketing and development. Gathering VoC data is all about using the information to better your business and appeal more to your target audience. Insights should be integrated into marketing messaging, website design, and usability, as well as your digital presence. Any area of your business that customers interact with should be influenced by VoC feedback.

When should you start collecting Voice of the Customer data?

You can begin collecting VoC data immediately, but the best way to identify the key times to double-down is to create a customer journey map. A customer journey map is a physical representation of the journey a customer experiences with your company. The touchpoints on this map are specific and important areas you need to collect and understand customer feedback throughout the buying cycle.

For the housing industry, the customer journey starts with their first interaction with your company which is most likely a Google search for homebuilders or remodelers in their area. Knowing how people are finding you, how many of them are clicking to your website, following you on social media, and so on, is the first stage to understanding your target audience.

Once someone becomes a customer, you can immediately start collecting more detailed data on customer satisfaction, customer wants and needs, and customer experience throughout your building or renovating process.

Don’t stop collecting data when the homebuyer moves in or the remodel is complete though. Extending your customer relationships is an effective way to stay connected, encourage loyalty, and of course, collect valuable VoC feedback months after the job is done.

Related: 6 Tips for Improving Post-Closing Homebuyer Communication

How to use your Voice of Customer (VOC) data

1. Analyze and look for patterns

Once you’ve begun collecting VoC data, it’s time to analyze it and look for patterns in feedback. Are you seeing the same customer issues or pain points? Is the same suggestion for improvement being made by multiple customers? Look for similar phrases in online reviews of past customers as well.

2. Prioritize most critical issues

After you get a list of commonalities started, decide which issues need to be addressed first. Statistically, homebuyer satisfaction rates drop after move-in due to poor builder communication, which affects referrals and online ratings and reviews. If you’re a builder and notice this drop this may be an area to tackle first.

Once you’ve identified critical areas it’s time to make adjustments. The most common areas companies use VoC data to improve their business are product development, marketing strategy, and customer experience.

For homebuilders and remodelers, product development equates to product and brand choices. Homebuyers and homeowners have preferences for what goes into their homes, and VoC data can give you a detailed understanding of what those are, giving you a valuable opportunity to improve your product offerings and give your customers more of what they want.

VoC data enhances marketing initiatives because it tells you what your current customers want, which translates to what your target market wants. It also identifies how customers are talking about you, so you can use the same terms, phrases, and benefits in your marketing to better connect, and be more relevant, to your target audience.

Customer experience is the lifeline of your business, and it only makes sense to use your customers’ voices to directly shape their experiences.

How can AvidCX help you build a best-in-class VoC?

AvidCX provides a powerful multichannel model to collect, analyze, and incorporate Voice of the Customer feedback into your business strategies. With comprehensive surveys, social media review and rating integration, and detailed data reports, you’ll have all the tools you need to understand your customers’ needs and take proactive steps to meet those needs and build a competitive advantage. Learn more.

Capture best-in-class customer feedback