Are You Listening to the Voices of Your Customers (taken from www.TourismCafe.org)

As businesses confront the highest level of consumer interaction with their company – before, during and after an experience – it forces us all to look at our business differently and more importantly listen to our customers differently. In 1990 we didn’t have Trip Advisor – now they key source for information, driven by visitors sharing information with visitors, we didn’t have facebook, twitter, Linked in, google maps, mobile devices loaded with information. This has changed how we do business.

If you haven’t head of the VOICE OF THE CUSTOMER (aka VOC) – time to pay attention! As a term it means capturing a customers expectations, preferences and things they don’t like. Why? So that your product development efforts and customer service processes can be optimized, at all touch points in the customer experience, to ensure your customers choose your business over another … tell their friends, and return!

Listening to what your customers are saying online, in the guest book, on facebook – all the places they are talking about your business is vital. But don’t stop there. Take time to track it, analyze and use it to make decisions to improve your business. Yes it takes time, but every busy can benefit by adding this to their ‘must do list’. Of course there are companies that formally research the VoC but for small business this may not be realistic — so grad the principles and start in a small way, listening, learning and engaging!

What you’ll learn …

How they heard about you (informs marketing)
How they talk about you, words they use, images they select (informs marketing)
Things they value, are looking for, would like when with your business but also on their vacation (informs your business and partners in your community)
Identifies new opportunities to design and develop products, services, add useful retail (informs product development and merchandising)
What or who was most memorable about their travel experience (gold for product developers)
The list goes on but you get my drift … look for where the conversation is, listen to the words, reflect on what you discover then make informed decisions!

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