What is Voice of the Customer (VoC)?


Confirmit Team

Confirmit Team

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Confirmit’s dedicated teams work to deliver world-leading customer experience, Voice of the Employee and Market Research solutions. 


Author Bio

What is Voice of the Customer (VoC)?

Voice of the Customer refers to the way an organization collects customer feedback, analyzes the data, distributes it to the right people and takes action on these insights in order to generate financial benefits. Voice of the Customer programs aim to gather and analyze customer insights, and enable you to take action in order to improve customer experience (CX) and deliver positive business outcomes to your organization.

Why Does Voice of the Customer Matter?

Voice of the Customer programs are proven to help organizations retain customers, build better products, deliver better services, and systematically understand customer experience in order to drive change. Organizations that understand their customer journey are much more likely to improve their products to fit their customers’ evolving requirements and therefore to foster their loyalty.

Bring the customer’s voice into your organization and you can expect the following results, providing you take action on the insights you receive:

  • Increase revenue: Through reduced churn, improved cross-sell opportunities and the ability to attract new customers
  • Reduce costs: By improving processes, ensuring compliance and creating greater process consistency
  • Promote culture change: By driving customer-centricity and cross-functional change.

Why Implement a Voice of the Customer Program?

With the right program in place, the Voice of the Customer can directly correlate to business success metrics so it’s well worth the time and effort to connect with customers using the right channel, at the right time. But this is merely the beginning… Make sure you share the customer voice in real time with the right people who can take action to deliver results. Otherwise your program will fail.

Understanding loyalty and gathering feedback at key points in the customer journey have helped numerous organizations become industry leaders in their field. So often, business believe they know what their customers think and feel, and how their products and services perform, but customer-perceived quality trumps all! If they don’t think it’s good enough, it doesn’t matter what you think… They’ll simply switch to a different vendor or store.

Here are some practical examples of benefits you can enjoy by implementing a Voice of the Customer program:

  • Integrate insights from your customers into your decision making
  • Understand your customers’ expectations better
  • Evaluate (and prevent) the risk of your customers churning
  • Measure your customers’ satisfaction at different touchpoints across the customer journey, and across your various products and/or services
  • Close the loop with individual or group of customers to respond to their feedback
  • Take action, at a tactical and strategic level, in order to use the Voice of the Customer to make improvements
  • Evaluate the impact of these improvements on your customer metrics, like NPS®, as well as your business KPI’s, like revenue, costs and churn

How Do You Build a Voice of the Customer Program?

We recommend you follow the 5 stages below to ensure your VoC program delivers the insight you need to build strong customer experiences, create competitive advantage and generate ROI.

  1. Define: Make sure your VoC program is aligned to your overall business issues, to create clear, phased objectives and success criteria and to map your customer journey and your key Moments of Truth
  2. Design: Design your program to deliver both tactical and strategic benefits, mapped to your key business objectives. Select a robust, powerful and scalable program architecture which includes key components such as sampling, feedback channel requirements based on your customer journey map, survey design and reporting, and closed-loop alerting
  3. Listen: Put in place multi-channel data collection to ensure your customers can provide feedback in the way that suits them, driving high response rates and greater insight. Select a secure and scalable platform to gather customer feedback, automate alerts and escalate issues that require attention
  4. Analyze: Perform advanced analysis of the feedback, including structured and unstructured data, so you can improve business results and create a clear view of issues you need to address. Design tailored reporting to provide actionable insight at every level of the business, from customer service managers to the CEO
  5. Act: With the actionable insight you collected, work quickly to resolve individual customer issues, through an automated closed-loop system. At a strategic level, identify the processes that cause repeated problems and take action to resolve them and improve the customer experience

More information about Confirmit Voices methodology

How Does Voice of the Customer Help Your Business?

Voice of the Customer programs have a direct impact on your bottom line, through a number of ways:

Identify at-risk customers so you can:

  • Prevent them churning
  • Minimize negative word of mouth
  • Decrease cost to serve

Amplify the voice of your loyal customers

  • Encourage positive word of mouth
  • Increase share of wallet
  • Identify opportunities for references / positive reviews for marketing purposes

Ensure your products and services stay ahead of the curve

  • Transform complaints you receive into sources of focused improvements
  • Encourage your key customers to participate in co-creation opportunities
  • Bring in the Voice of the Customer to fuel innovation throughout the organization

What Are the Characteristics of Best-in-Class Voice of the Customer Programs?

It’s not always easy to come up with the magic formula when it comes to successful Voice of the Customer programs. There are variations for B2B and B2C organizations, between specific industries, and even between regions. But best-in-class VoC programs do have a few elements in common:

  • Customer insights are not only collected - they are shared in the right way with the right stakeholders at the right time in order to drive change
  • They are generally multichannel programs that offer customers the right channel for them to share their feedback
  • They combine structured feedback (through surveys for example) and unstructured feedback (social media, email complaints, etc.) in order to give a holistic view of the customer experience
  • They have a customer-centric culture that leverages insights to drive change at all levels of the organization, in order to drive business outcomes

What Voices Are There Besides the Voice of the Customer?

Customers are, and should be, at the center of everything you do. But this doesn’t mean they’re the only source of valuable information. Confirmit’s customer engagement model, Confirmit Voices®, recommends you stay on top of all key sources of knowledge and feedback within your organization:

  1. Voice of the Customer
  2. Voice of the Employee
  3. Voice of the Market
  4. Voice of the Business

Understanding these 4 voices is key to a comprehensive and unbiased view of where you stand when it comes to your customers and your competition, but also ensure you integrate the information you already possess in your business systems (CRM, ERP…).

What Channel Should You Use to Collect the Voice of the Customer?

In order to collect the right feedback at the right time from your customers, you need to make sure you do so in the channel your customers want to engage in. This will not only boost response rates, but show your customers you care about their preferences too.

A combination of the main channels below is ideal (all integrated within one solution):

  • Web
  • Email
  • Mobile (SMS, App)
  • Telephone
  • Social Media
  • Paper (still… in some cases)

No channel is better than another – it’s all about selecting the right way to engage with your customers so that they want to share their feedback with you and know it will be actioned.

When to Collect the Voice of the Customer?

A good starting point to answering this question is a Customer Journey Map. This exercise enables organizations to identify key touchpoints in the customer journey where they need to gather and understand feedback in order to improve their internal process, and customer experience as a whole.

Throughout the buying cycle (before, during and after purchase), customers interact with different people at different times, so understanding their level of satisfaction in detail at various key interaction – or touchpoint - helps you understand what you should fix and what the impact of that action will mean for the customer and for your business.

In addition to understanding these touchpoints, analyzing the state of the overall relationship with your customers can also be immensely effective. This is usually done at precise intervals (e.g. 3 months after purchase or before renewal). What you’re looking for here is a continuous stream of feedback that will help you trend the health of your customer relationships over time, helping fuel every business decision you make.

How Do You Know the Voice of the Customer Works?

When formal VoC programs first became mainstream, customer experience was (and sometimes still is) in the hands of various departments like sales and marketing, rather than CX teams. Common sense that doing right by your customers was a good idea for the business prevailed then, and often required a leap of faith until financial benefits could be proven.

Although CX maturity does fluctuate widely by region, industry, business size, etc., it has become much easier now to build a business case before you implement a VoC program, or before you kick off a CX initiative.

Analysts like Forrester and Gartner have published a variety of reports linking VoC and CX to financial benefits. At Confirmit, we run an annual Achievement in Customer Excellence (ACE) Awards that showcases our clients’ programs and how they’re able to deliver results within their organization based on their VoC programs and the actions they take as a result.

Learn More

How Confirmit Can Help?

Confirmit enables organizations to develop and implement Voice of the Customer, Employee Engagement and Market Research programs that deliver insight and drive business change. Confirmit’s clients create multi-channel, multi-lingual feedback and research programs that engage customers, empower employees, deliver a compelling respondent experience, and provide high Return on Investment.

Confirmit’s customer engagement model provides the power to listen to the Voice of the Customer, integrate it with financial, operational and free-form text data to generate powerful insight, and take action that will deliver effective business change and create competitive advantage.

Learn more about Confirmit’s Voice of the Customer solutions

Interesting Links

Webinars

The State of Customer Experience – Time to Get Real By Claire Sporton, SVP, CX Innovation, Confirmit and Steve Hurst, Engage Business Media

Learning from the Best: Insights and Inspiration - examples that a customer Experience program can have in businesses

White Paper

7 Secrets of Voice of the Customer Success

Video

The Business Debate with Claire Sporton, SVP, CX Innovation, Confirmit

Case study

Amadeus: Delivering an Exceptional Customer Experience

Contact Us

Contact us today if you’d like to discuss your current Voice of the Customer initiative – we’d love to hear from you!

Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score and NPS are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

 

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