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What Is The Voice of the Customer (VoC)?


Voice of the customer (VoC) helps organizations leverage feedback to improve how they interact with their customers. Effective VoC programs emphasize direct engagement between organizations and their customers instead of merely collecting feedback to aggregate data. Voice of the customer programs (VoC) are gaining more popularity and are shown to help improve how brands engage with their customers. 

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Voice of the Customer (VoC) Definition

Voice of the customer (VoC) is the process of gathering and comprehending customer feedback to gain a deeper understanding of the customer’s preferences and experiences. While collecting feedback from customers is nothing new for most organizations, VoC programs emphasize leveraging that feedback to directly improve the customer experience for their products and services.

What is a Voice of the Customer Program?

As the name suggests, VoC programs give power to customers by holding organizations accountable for making tangible improvements. Many effective programs will emphasize showing customers exactly where their feedback was implemented after collecting it. Businesses leverage data they capture from their VoC programs to improve how existing and prospective customers interface with their brands.

To summarize, VoC programs collect feedback to improve all interactions a customer might have with an organization.

How Does a Voice of the Customer Program Help Businesses?

Voice of the customer (VoC) programs are designed to record how your customers feel about your services, providing insights to develop a stronger customer experience. They help organizations retain existing customers and improve their services to attract new ones. 

VoC programs can help you:

  • Add Detailed Insights to Data: Voice of the customer (VoC) focuses on understanding the feedback and making improvements based on customer complaints and needs. Good VoC programs stress the importance of asking deeper questions that allow customers to give detailed reviews.
  • Understand the Customer Journey: Along the way, customers may interact with various staff members and have different experiences through the point of purchase and thereafter. Effective programs will focus on all of these touchpoints in the customer’s journey to help formulate the bigger picture.
  • Gain Critical Feedback for Change: Avoid ineffective surveys that only serve organizations by setting them up to receive compliments and other positive remarks. Organizations with worthwhile VoC programs encourage critical feedback that results in actionable recommendations.
  • Learn Department-Specific Insights: By understanding customer feedback at each touchpoint of a department, you can hand-tailor your services in order to remain agile.

How to Build a Voice of the Customer Program

Building a successful VoC program can be broken down into three steps: listening to customer feedback, creating an actionable plan to address issues, and leveraging data to benchmark brand performance. VoC programs don't end once an issue resolves itself; instead, they continually focus on customer needs to drive change and improvements.

Building a VoC program means that you’ll need an accurate method of receiving customer feedback. We can help with one of your strongest tools: surveys. Learn how to improve your survey questions and avoid survey bias for your VoC surveys.

1. Identify Your Customers & Set Your Vision

In order to design your VoC program, you should first determine your goals - and from there, your customers. Some VoC goal examples include:

  • Improving customer satisfaction
  • Reducing customer churn
  • Increasing conversions
  • Improving employee engagement or happiness

If your goal is to improve customer satisfaction, you may design the program differently than if your goal is to increase conversion rates for specific products. For example, you may then focus on employee-customer interactions rather than asking about satisfaction with a product’s features.

2. Listen and Learn From Customer Feedback

Any organization must listen to customer feedback and learn from it to make improvements across the board. It helps to identify the different customer groups using your organization’s products and services and what challenges they face while using them. 

Understanding your different customer segments will help you craft targeted surveys for each with impactful questions, which will yield helpful insights. The timing of surveys is equally important, and organizations should try to send out surveys during notable milestones along the customer journey. 

Voice of the customer programs should use indirect and direct feedback to close gaps when learning about user experience. For example, direct feedback could come in the form of comments an organization receives on an email survey they send out to all of their customers, while indirect feedback could look something like seeing that a customer has submitted numerous help tickets.

VoC stresses collecting direct and indirect feedback from all groups of customers. Segmenting customers can help an organization better understand each customer group’s needs and pinpoint ways to improve how they interact with the brand.

3. Create an Actionable Plan to Address Problems

VoC programs act on customer feedback quickly to show them that an organization is listening and adapting. Creating an actionable plan to address problems could mean standardizing best practices for communicating with customers and resolving help tickets quickly and effectively across every department. To accomplish this, staff might keep support documents easily accessible for team members to share with customers in need or to reference while helping high-touch customers during one-on-one calls.

Voice of the customer (VoC) programs rely on closed-loop communication. Closed-loop communication models address all customer input as soon as it is received. Organizations should respond quickly and engage with customers promptly for both good and bad feedback.

VoC programs identify high-touch customers and low-touch customers. High-touch customers are clients or accounts that require a higher level of communication and one-on-one attention. Low-touch customers are accounts that do not require as much attention. To effectively engage low-touch accounts, organizations should still send out one-on-one communications.

4. Leverage Data to Benchmark Performance

After creating an actionable plan, an organization must use the collected data to benchmark its performance. To benchmark their brand performance, an organization might include NPS trends over time after creating new processes to help high-touch customer segments.

Companies can leverage customer outreach to measure their products and services' performance and gain new insights. For example, a business with multiple locations can implement pen and paper suggestion boxes in each shop for customers and analyze them every quarter after implementing new changes.

Another way for organizations to measure performance is to analyze engagement with emails and surveys. For example, the number of users who unsubscribe from emails can help organizations identify a place to improve. Organizations should not ignore users who do not engage with surveys or emails; customers who say nothing are saying more than they think.

Analyzing these statistics every quarter after implementing a plan of action can help an organization see how well their efforts are performing and what channels may need further improvement.

3 Things to Consider Before Building a Voice of Customer (VoC) Program

  1. Are there specific objectives and goals associated with implementing a Voice of the Customer program (VoC)? - The objectives and goals of a VoC program need to be clearly defined before it can be built. What are your goals when it comes to gathering customer feedback? Is it for improving product quality, identifying pain points, or gathering insight for strategic decision-making? The purpose of the program will determine its design and ensure it aligns with the needs of your organization.
  2. What processes and systems will be integrated with the Voice of the Customer program? - Analyze your organization's current infrastructure and processes. Can the VoC program be integrated with customer relationship management (CRM) systems, data analytics tools, or other platforms? By identifying potential challenges and leveraging existing resources effectively, integration requirements can be assessed upfront to ensure a seamless implementation.
  3. How will customer feedback be collected, analyzed, and acted upon? - Identify the best channels for collecting customer feedback based on your target audience and industry. Are you planning to use surveys, focus groups, social media monitoring, or other methods? Ensure that there is an analysis, interpretation, and sharing plan for the collected data. In order to deliver meaningful improvements, you should consider how insights will be acted upon and communicated back to customers.

Voice of the Customer (VoC) Program Best Practices

Crafting a VoC program requires a collaborative approach across all departments and channels within an organization. In one way or another, every department impacts the overall customer experience, making it crucial to standardize best practices across every team. 

Most importantly, VoC programs exist to serve the customer’s needs. The customer should be at the forefront of everything an organization does when building an effective VoC program.

1. Collaborate Across Departments

For a VoC program to be successful, it requires all departments in an organization to be a part of it. All departments must be involved in collecting, analyzing, and acting on evaluations from customers. A collaborative workforce is crucial to ensure the long-term success of an effective VoC program. Collaboration across different departments and teams will yield successful customer-focused initiatives if employees are engaged.

2. Collect Feedback From All Data Channels

Organizations should connect feedback from all data sources to create a seamless customer experience. Without omnichannel involvement, the VoC program may paint an incomplete picture of customer preferences and experiences.

For example, an app developer should act on feedback from desktop and mobile users in a timely manner to ensure that the customer experience is unified across all versions of the program. Neglecting responses from any channel or customer segment is detrimental to improving a product or service.

3. Focus on Keeping Customers Happy

The customer should take priority in everything an organization does. An organization should never assume that they know better than the customer when it comes to what they need to succeed. 

Leading brands stay ahead of the competition by meeting customers where they are and listening to their feedback. One of the best ways to show the customer you’re listening to them is establishing a VoC program with actionable ways to respond to feedback and make their lives easier.

How IntelliSurvey Can Help

IntelliSurvey has a variety of market research services and survey software to help companies create an effective VoC program with ad hoc performance trackers and advanced analytics to uncover drivers of happy or unhappy customers. With help from IntelliSurvey, your organization can better understand what factors are impairing or improving your brand’s overall customer experience.

If you’re interested in working together, please contact us for more information.



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