Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs are a part of a user research strategy. VoC programs aggregate data about customers’ experiences and provide insights into customers’ opinions of a brand, as well as its products, services, and support. Most significantly, VoC programs tie customer metrics to revenue (where possible) so brands know where to focus resources and capture the biggest return on investment, while also providing value to customers.
A voice of the customer program launch has three phases:
1. Data Aggregation: Collect unstructured customer data from surveys, questionnaires, reviews, calls, and interviews in different channels
2. Analysis: Examine all customer data to unlock company-wide insights about customers' experiences, the business, and how they interrelate
3. Implementation: Take action to improve relevant areas of the business for customers across the buyer journey
How is VoC Different from Your NPS Surveys?
Many companies believe they have a VOC program in place because they collect customer feedback through a survey.
In reality, they don’t. NPS® surveys for example, are a popular survey but they are not a VoC Program (though they are generally an input into a VoC program). NPS® is a type of survey that polls customers asking a key question: “How likely is it that you would recommend X Company to a friend or colleague?”
Based on the responses, researchers group customers into categories of Promoters (score 9-10), Passives (score 7-8) and Detractors (score 0-6). The Net Promoter Score for a brand is simply the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors.
By contrast, a VoC program collates and analyzes all available customer data across all channels in one place and provides relevant insights to company stakeholders positioned to take action to improve customer metrics.
VoC in B2C
Leading brands like Amazon, Netflix and Home Depot all have long-standing enterprise VoC programs that focus on great omnichannel experiences. They make it their business to actively listen to customers. Perhaps that’s one reason these companies make Forbes list of most loved brands. According to Gartner, “more than two-thirds of marketers say their companies compete mostly on the basis of customer experience (CX). And in two years’ time, 81% say they expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of CX.”
VoC in B2B
While B2C players have led the charge in implementing VoC programs, we are seeing a growing adoption in the B2B space. As B2B buyers expect the “Amazon experience,” B2B businesses are looking to see where they can better capture and understand their customers, and how they can orient towards a more customer-centric approach.
Thanks to what many call the Amazon effect, this idea of delivering convenience has bled into other industries, turning every organization into a customer-centric business. As such, industrial companies will be even more focused on the voice of the customer (VoC) to compete for business and retain clients. Some companies are even formally organizing and fostering a culture around customer success and VoC, creating new roles, such as customer success directors. Taking a page from the B2C world, I see this focus on delivering customer value as an integral element of industrial operations moving forward. - Forbes
Voice of the Customer Methodology
VoC is successful thanks to its analytical approach to identifying customer needs, wants, and expectations. It comprehensively reviews everything customers say about an organization and its products and services and equips businesses to utilize this information to better tailor their customer experience. This is critical for multiple teams, from development and design to marketing and sales.
Ultimately, strong VoC methodology involves two key factors:
- Knowing what customers want
- Using this data to inform product, service, and business development
In addition to Net Promoter Scores, a business may gather this information through a variety of channels, including:
- Social listening
- Website interactions
- Customer service call recordings
- Live chat or chatbot interactions
- Focus groups
To effectively utilize these tools, brands need to first establish what key question(s) they’d like answered. Perhaps it’s “Do customers like X product or service?” or “Why have customers stopped ordering X?”. Then they’ll need to collect the feedback, and critically and comprehensively analyze it. The results will need to be shared with key stakeholders and team members, incorporating their insights along the way, changes will be implemented, and then the ROI of those changes needs to be measured.
Voice of the Customer Examples
When implementing a VoC program, it’s helpful to take your cues from brands who’ve done so successfully.
CMS Wire identifies five brands who’ve done so, including Convertize, who took advantage of VoC feedback to refine a newly-released feature, which launched with two different placement options. One of the options turned out to be problematic, obstructing portions of the website. Thanks to customer feedback, Convertize was able to quickly adjust the feature.
Another brand, Content Allies, was recognized by Testimonial Hero for how they used VoC in their marketing materials. They filmed a testimonial video featuring a real customer, simultaneously highlighting genuine customer needs while positioning their brand as the solution, and doing so with empathy, transparency, and a relatable testimonial.
These examples just skim the surface of possibilities; VoC has numerous uses throughout a business.
Benefits of Launching a VoC Program
As businesses trends towards a customer-centric approach, you should consider VoC because of its key benefits:
- Better customer experience
- Improved customer satisfaction
- Enriched business operations
- Top and bottom-line revenue growth
- Lower volume of customer support contacts
Looking to launch or optimize your VoC program, or simply looking to understand how to start? Reach out to us today to schedule a call with an expert advisor.