In order to provide consumers with the products they want and to provide better CX, forward-thinking retailers are relying heavily on their voice of the customer (VoC) programs.

Today customers shop on a variety of channels, leave product ratings and reviews and expect retailers to pay attention and respond quickly. Many retailers are ensuring a smooth customer journey through the constantly growing data stream by using VoC programs.

To further boost the effectiveness of VoC programs in retail, marketers offered the following recommendations:

Incorporate Social Listening VoC Efforts

Consumers are increasingly turning to social media channels for their interactions with brands.

“Social media use among younger demographics strongly supports both continued growth in social and direct messaging use for customer engagement, as well as increased expectations for brands to use these channels more effectively,” said Rick Blair, Verint vice president of product strategy and experience management. “These same demographic groups are also taking on social channels in huge numbers and applying social media to every aspect of their lives reflecting their favorite brands, desires, likes and needs. It’s an evolving, constant data stream that will only grow in importance."

Given these trends in consumer behaviors and the shift retailers have made to digital-first engagement, it’s only natural that social media channels have become a gold mine for retailers to leverage social listening as a major source for VoC insights, Blair added. “Social listening can often act as a 'canary in the coal mine,’ and become an early indicator of problems, or of trends in-store and online customer experiences.”

Using VoC can enable brands to pick up on and react to these trends early.

Related Article: Continuous Monitoring Strategy Makes VoC Returns Richer

Learning Opportunities

Use VoC Tactics to Close the Loop

Make sure you consider the feedback provided, and act on it quickly and decisively to close the loop, said Keith Kirkpatrick, Dash Network principal analyst. “Too many retailers will send out post-purchase NPS surveys to capture feedback, but do not have the internal processes in place to analyze the feedback, compare it against internal processes and policies and then respond to that customer with a solution to the issue quickly — ideally within 48 hours.”

Though there can be challenges in getting it done, failing to close the loop can be expensive. Citing CustomerGauge research, Kirkpatrick said that companies that don’t close the loop increase their churn by a minimum of 2.1% every year, while companies that do close the loop can decrease churn by at least 2.3% per year.

“Closing the loop, often best achieved by making outbound phone calls or sending personalized emails, can not only demonstrate to customers that the company truly values their feedback, but they are also committed to acting upon it to find a resolution,” Kirkpatrick added. 

Related Article: Building Blocks for Voice of Customer 3.0  

Final Thoughts on Retail VoC Programs

Retailers will be looking for any edge they can get for this year’s holiday shopping season, and for an expected difficult 2023 — when most economists are predicting a recession, meaning a slowdown in retail and other sales. Using the strategies above can help retailers boost the effectiveness of their VoC programs, helping to reduce customer churn.