What is the Voice of the Customer?
Voice of the Customer is a business and technology term used to describe a process that is designed to capture customer’s expectations, preferences, experiences, and feedback.
Often applied as a market research technique by firms looking to achieve a better and more complete understanding of the customer, Voice of the Customer (VoC) can also help companies measure and understand the experiences that they deliver to customers.
Why your business needs a VoC program
A Voice of the Customer program helps your business reap the benefits of listening to, acting on, and responding to what customers are saying about your brand, product, service, or business location.
With a VoC program, you can more effectively:
- Customize your products and services to respond to the voiced needs and wants of your customers
- Measure and improve customer experience
- Drive customer satisfaction and loyalty
- Prioritize high-impact customer issues, trends, and developments
- Solicit customer feedback to evaluate new ways of gaining a competitive advantage
- Generate advanced marketing insights and opportunities
How you can capture the Voice of the Customer
There are multiple ways to gather or capture Voice of the Customer data. These include focus group discussions, individual interviews, field reports, customer feedback surveys, ethnographic research, and the application of text analytics and sentiment analysis methods, among others.
The digital world has expanded the ways companies can listen to the Voice of the Customer. Now, a VoC program can leverage the power of the Internet to capture solicited customer feedback (e.g., e-mails, online survey responses) as well as unsolicited customer feedback (e.g., social media, online reviews).
That way, companies can listen in real-time to customers across multiple touchpoints and channels, as well as provide immediate response to customer feedback.
Key components of a Voice of the Customer program
The Voice of the Customer — be it in the form of customer survey responses, social media comments, online reviews and ratings, phone calls and e-mails — is key to making informed business decisions.
As you invest in a VoC program, consider the following characteristics and features:
Comprehensive: Some Voice of the Customer programs offer only customer feedback surveys, while others focus exclusively on social media listening or online review monitoring. The best VoC programs, however, capture and connect multiple kinds of customer feedback and VoC data across multiple touchpoints and channels.
Scalable: The latest generation of VoC programs offers greater scalability and a much wider scope than that of previous generations. Firms are no longer limited to managing VoC data from a random sample of customers; now, they can listen in to every customer and every conversation at various stages of the customer journey — not to mention, dig deeper into data on both macro and micro levels.
Timely: Customers expect businesses to respond to their feedback — and fast. This is why your program should be able to deliver the Voice of the Customer — and alert you of high-impact issues — in the timeliest possible manner.
Insightful: VoC programs are most effective when they can generate meaningful and actionable insights about your customers. While some vendors will try to impress with robust data collection technology or flashy reporting, focus on a program that empowers your entire organization to understand feedback and take action to improve.
Engaging: Every team or department in your organization, from marketing and sales to customer support and product development, has a stake in the customer experience. With this in mind, the best VoC programs engage all areas of the business and unite everyone around the goal of listening to the Voice of the Customer and understanding the entire customer journey.
With an effective VoC program, your company can connect with the voices that matter most: your customers. By making a strategic investment and tapping into data that came directly from customers, you can deliver better experiences and successfully achieve competitive differentiation.