Capture and deliver authentic customer insights,
to win, grow and retain customers.
When we design key sales conversations and messages for clients we always ask:
“In who’s voice should this message or story be delivered?”
Often clients conclude it’s not the voice of the sales rep or even the company that is most authentic or compelling.
People prefer the voice of the expert, especially a customer. Prospective buyers like hearing directly from customers who were previously in their situation and navigated a similar decision process.
It’s likely your organization may have one or more of the following initiatives:
- Customer Case Studies (for content)
- Customer Reference Program (for prospect reference support and site visits)
- Customer Success Group (for retention and renewal)
- Voice of the Customer Program (for customer insights)
- Customer Advocacy Program (for product reviews and social amplification)
How is Customer Voice Different?
Customer Voice vignettes are very short (2 minute) audio or video microcontent.
Customers provide answers to specific buyer questions. They share insights and experiences related to specific situations.
Scale to hundreds of message assets is possible due to the simplicity, low friction and cost of acquisition and processing.
Why hundreds of assets?
Relevance and usefulness is a function of context and purpose — for both content users and consumers (audiences):
- Users — marketing, sales, training, channel, customer service,
- Consumers — internal, customers, prospects, industry influencers, investors
- Context — specific topic, industry vertical, persona, stage
- Purpose — establish credibility, answer questions, provide proof, share insight
Relevance that is surgically precise based on the above variables inevitably leads to the requirement to scale. The ability to meet this requirement is a competitive advantage.
For example, if you go-to-customer into six industry verticals, answers to key questions, proof points or customer stories will perform better when delivered by a customer from the appropriate industry. This applies to personas as well.
Why Customer Voice?
Audiences want to hear about experiences and insights other customers have had, that help them address specific questions they have. They prefer short, one to two minute focused explanations. They want authentic not scripted or filtered delivery.
The traditional and still prevalent approach to customer videos features customers talking to an off-camera person, acclaiming the vendor and their products or services.
These videos are over-produced and expensive. They require too much time, effort and interruption to everyone’s schedule. They require marketing and legal review. As a result, customer proof content is sadly lacking.
CEB (now part of Gartner) conducted research on customer testimonial and case study videos. They concluded 90% of these videos provide little value to prospects or sellers. Principally because they don’t address the specific needs of buyers or sellers.
Microcontent customer voice vignettes can be injected into other content across all functions and use cases. This optimizes reuse and the return on incredibly low acquisition and processing costs.
Avitage Customer Voice Program
We believe customer voice vignettes should be cornerstone assets in any B2B (sales) content strategy. We’ve learned some important factors that optimize the business impact of customer voice videos.
Acquire — Timely spontaneous and convenient acquisition, at scale, makes a huge difference in the quality and breath of inventories of customer stories
Adopt — Sales and marketing users must adopt this customer engagement method
Apply — The content must be used effectively
Content — Contextually relevant, specific content, must be created the right way
Coverage — Content must fully support key use case scenarios — no important gaps, critical mass matters
Continuous — Content and inventories must be continuously refreshed and expanded
Friction-less Production — Simple, easy, and spontaneous acquisition of customer stories — the instant customers are read — is essential (there’s no going back)
Universal Delivery — Injecting stories into content for all key use cases, and delivering through all channels is essential
Program Management — Sales, marketing, customer service, and channel partners are constituents to be served. They also provide front-line identification of key points and opportunities for new customer voice vignettes.
The Avitage Customer Voice Program will help you realize the full potential of this important communication tactic.
Initial program implementation includes tailoring for your specific objectives, message points, branding and other setup factors. After that, your team can execute this program, and as needed we can assist.
Examples of Primary Customer Voice Use Cases
There are potentially hundreds of use cases that benefit from this approach. Here are primary examples. But the best way to determine how this can help your business is a discussion of your top business objectives, initiatives, constraints or risk points.
Sales Use Cases
Sales Win-Wire — capture the voice of the sales rep explaining how a deal was won with points others can leverage
Voice of the Expert — acquire fast answers from internal subject experts for learning as well as immediate response to buyer questions, inventory for re-use
Improve Sales Storytelling — capture and share inventories of customer stories by industry, role, business problem, and key selling points for onboarding and continuous learning
Sales Prospecting and Referral Support — have customers validate the value each reps provides to improve sales credibility with new prospects
Objection Crusher — have customers talk about important questions or issues that regularly stagger reps or channel partners, and are more credible in the voice of the customer
Urgency Creator — remove buyer fear, uncertainty and doubt, increase organic urgency through customer explanations of the costs of not taking action
Competitor Knockout — have customers reframe or counter competitor claims
Cross and Upsell Support — use customer stories from one department to gain access and uptake from other groups within major accounts
Help Buyer Internal Conversations — use customer stories to build consensus around the need to solve a business problem, with a particular approach, that requires specific capabilities — that favor your solution
Marketing Use Cases
Buyers Journey Support — Help buyers understand how customers like them addressed specific decisions at each buying stage
Improve Conversions — add authentic customer stories to lead nurturing programs to validate claims and earn trust
Influence Buying Criteria — have customers talk about how they identified vendors and determined important decision criteria
Focused Differentiation — use customer stories to focus buyers on specific attributes and express your differentiated value
Acquire Customer Insights — acquire share customer learnings, gain deeper understanding about buyers and audiences
Other Use Cases
Accelerate Adoption — have customers share benefits they’ve experienced with new buyers
Capture Value Delivered — capture customer appreciation for later use to streamline renewals
Customer Feedback — regularly capture feedback from customers as input to customer service, product roadmap, and ideas for improvement
Slapfive Customer Voice Software Platform
We use the Slapfive customer voice software platform to support this program. It takes the friction out of acquiring, managing and deploying customer experiences and insights.
The process is simple. There are two ways to capture customer voice:
Get your customer on a clean phone call with recording capability. Conduct a structured interview in which you listen for new insights and ask your prepared question.
Slapfive provides a self-service recording capability where customers use their cell-phones to do the recording — in audio or even video. (Example page for demonstration purposes only.)
You send a customer a link to the Slapfive recording web app. This can be sent as an email or text. The app prompts customers with a specific question to answer. Guideline points may be included.
After customer record their answer to each question, the file automatically uploads to the back-end database.
An individual customer “story” is assembled using the video, or audio paired with the customer’s picture. Each story is tagged by attributes that are important to your users and for your analytics purposes.
Topic or situation-relevant “story boards” are easily configured for situational relevance.
Individual or groups of stories may be sent as linked content or embedded in web pages, presentations, and documents.
A conversation is the best way to determine the fit of this capability for your business situation.
Sign up for a free 60 minute Customer Voice Strategy Session. Together we’ll identify your top go-to-market initiatives and determine the best opportunities to improve the success of those initiatives with the customer voice.
For a deeper understanding please read ebook From The Horses Mouth — How To Get Customers To Share Their Voice