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  • Writer's pictureAnpar Research

Voice Of The Customer: Definition, Examples & More

Updated: Feb 23


5 people holding up speech bubbles (NPS, social media listening, surveys, focus groups, forums) to help illustrate Voice of the Customer

In this post, learn the key fundamentals of Voice of the Customer (VoC) from what it is, the importance of running such a program, examples, creating and best practices of running a Voice of the Customer program.


Table of contents:


[Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links at no additional cost to you.]


What is the Voice of the Customer?


Voice of the Customer, also known as VoC is the collection and analysis of feedback of the needs, wants, hopes, preferences and experiences of customers about a brand's products or services using methods like surveys, forums, focus groups or social media listening.


This will help to allow for improvements to be made and strategies to be developed by the brand to enhance the customers experience to be more of a positive one.


Why is Voice of the Customer so important?


Voice of the Customer is important is because it supports brands to improve the product or service offering around the customers wants and needs, which is regularly monitored and analysed to ensure customer experiences of the brand are positive and issues are resolved.


This could be responding to brand reviews online or responding to customers directly to quickly resolve any problems the customer encountered at a personal level as well as getting an overall picture of different groups of customers via surveys or focus groups.


Voice of the Customer research will also help the business to get an upper hand on their competition provided the customers feedback is examined thoroughly and acted on swiftly.


Benefits of the Voice of the customer program


So just to recap the benefits of using Voice of the Customer are:


To better understand customer needs, desires and expectations to help ensure they are met

By providing these key insights can help to shape marketing strategies that enables the creation of messaging that resonates more deeply with the target audience, leading to higher engagement, conversions, and customer loyalty.


It allows for the segmentation of the market

Identifying different customer groups based on their specific needs, pain points, and behaviours. This precise targeting can lead to increased efficiency in marketing efforts and a more effective use of resources.


To help make better informed decisions 

Making better informed decisions such as improving the effectiveness of marketing strategies and the use of resources available for a better rate of return.


To identify problems and opportunities early on, so appropriate action can be taken

The voice of the customer program can generate ideas for product or service enhancements, identifying gaps in the market and opportunities for innovation.


By incorporating customer feedback into your development process, you're more likely to create offerings that fulfil actual customer needs, resulting in higher satisfaction and repeat business.


To improve customer satisfaction and loyalty

There is the saying “the customer is always right” but how do you know if they are happy with the service they receive? Or what elements can be improved?

This is why customer satisfaction is important, where you can gain a great level of insight from the data collected to move the business forward, improve various elements of the business and have a greater understanding of your customers for better customer retention.


To help perfect customer experiences at all brand touchpoints

By actively listening and responding to customer feedback, businesses can create a more positive customer experience, building trust and reputation.

Customers who feel heard are more likely to become brand advocates, spreading positive word of mouth and contributing to business growth.


Allows businesses to gain a competitive advantage 

Gaining a competitive advantage as highlighted from the points above whether that is finding a gap in the market or taking advantage of underperforming competitors that are not fulfilling their customers’ needs and wants.



3 Voice of the Customer examples

 

1. Starbuck's "My Starbucks Idea"

Starbucks launched a program called "My Starbucks Idea" to invite customers to share their ideas on how to improve the Starbucks experience. The platform allows customers to submit, discuss, and vote on ideas, and Starbucks has implemented many suggestions, ranging from digital tipping to adding specific items to their menu. In this way, Starbucks effectively listens to its customers and makes them feel valued and heard.


2. Amazon customer reviews

One of Amazon's most significant assets is its extensive and comprehensive customer review system. It listens to the voice of the customer by encouraging users to leave reviews of products they have purchased.


These reviews not only serve as advice for other prospective buyers, but they also provide Amazon with a steady stream of customer feedback about the products they sell. If a product consistently receives poor reviews, Amazon can use this data to improve the product or make the decision to stop selling it altogether.


3. LEGO Ideas

LEGO has a dedicated platform, "LEGO Ideas," where fans can submit their design ideas for new LEGO sets. The community then votes on the ideas, and those that reach 10,000 votes go to the LEGO Review board. If approved, the design is produced and sold globally, and the original designer receives a small portion of the product’s sales.


This program not only encourages creativity within its fanbase but also allows LEGO to keep an ear to the ground and understand what their customers are interested in and seeking from their products.


Top 5 methods of Voice of the Customer


There are various types of Voice of the Customer examples that are used by businesses, below are the 5 main examples.


1. Surveys

Surveys are one of the key go to areas for VoC, where different types of surveys can be administered via email, website, app or mobile and this could cover different areas of customer feedback and metrics such as NPS (Net Promoter Score), Customer Effort Score (CES), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and brand perceptions.


This is drawn from a series of closed ended questions (yes/no, scales and answer lists) to help quantify the data into measurable figures to compare both previous periods in time like quarters or years and against your main competitors to see if you are ahead or behind in various areas of your customers experience (CX).


Also, open ended questions are used to find out the reasons why (in their own words), whether that is regarding a previous answer given or to give their views and opinions of a recent experience or concept idea. This helps give some context to the data.


2. In-depth interviews and focus groups

There are times where a lot more depth is needed than what can be found in surveys in understanding the behaviour and attitudes of different groups of customers about their experiences with your brand and the offering you provide, this is where qualitative research comes in the form of focus groups and in-depth interviews.


Focus groups will allow for an open discussion with small groups of customers (5-10 people) about their experiences, issues including suggestions as well as their reaction to new concepts or ideas that you are proposing. These discussions are guided by a moderator to make sure the conversation stays on topic and encouraging responses from all participants without one or two people dominating the conversation.


In-depth interviews are similar to surveys but these will be conducted in detail one on one with the customer either face to face or online (Zoom, Teams) for a longer period of time and will allow you to probe their answers in more depth to gain a better understanding of their thought process.


3. Website analytics and user testing

You can see the overall picture of how visitors interact with your website through Google analytics or other similar platforms like Semrush or Ahrefs to monitor the number of click throughs, popular pages, average amount of time on a page, regions, basic profile information, source of visits and much more. All this information will help you identify problem areas of your site but also opportunities to maximise visitor experience.


User testing can also be used to examine the current design of your website or a new design, where you can see live, how participants interact with your website and questions can be asked during the test to find out the reasons behind their behaviour such as why they did not go to the shopping basket after selecting a number of items.


4. Social media, blogs, forums and online reviews

You can achieve a true understanding of how customers feel about your brand, while they are voicing their opinions openly online. Therefore, using social media listening tools, you can monitor and capture what customers are saying about your brand online and will allow you to respond if necessary to resolve issues early on before they could go viral or leave a poor perception of your brand.


This could be a negative reaction to your products on social media, customer questions on message boards (Reddit or Quora) or a review of your products on Amazon. So, it allows you to track and engage with customers in order to improve customer satisfaction.


Also, social media listening will allow you to run sentiment analysis in real time via a collection of social media comments and reviews or run specialised searches of keywords via the Boolean search option as well as the number of shares and hashtags.


5. Record of customer emails, feedback forms, live chat and phone calls

Record of customer emails, online feedback forms, live chart and phone calls is a great internal source of customer feedback of the concerns, queries and issues as well as a measure of how well they were dealt with from the customer support team, so improvements can be made to support customers such as the after sales service, response times or follow-ups.



How do you build a Voice of the Customer program?


As you now have an understanding of what Voice of the Customer is and what it does, so how do you go about building a Voice of Customer program?


There are 5 key steps you need to take in order to create a Voice of the Customer program:


Step 1: Set your objectives of what you are hoping to achieve

Before actually building the Voice of the Customer program, you need to establish first the what you are looking achieve from running such a program and how this will benefit your business. The mission statement and values of your brand will feed into your objectives and will help you shape and setup the VoC program in the next subsequent steps.


Step 2: Establish the target audience you are trying to reach

It is no good setting your objectives and moving onto the setup of the Voice of the Customer program without first establishing who is the target audience you are trying to reach. This will not only be customers but could also be potential customers that your brand is trying to appeal to.

Once you know your target audience, then you are ready to move onto the next stage of selecting and organising the tools to track and monitor feedback from your target audience.


Step 3: Organise the tools and metrics required to collect customer feedback

There is a whole array of feedback tools available, it is just a case which of these tools can help meet your objectives of the VoC program. This could be chat bots to ask questions of visitors to your website or online and mobile surveys to gather results about customer satisfaction or NPS as well as using social media listening tools to track and respond to negative reviews about your brand online.


Step 4: Outline the process of how VoC is integrated into the business

It is not merely having the tools setup to collect and respond to customer feedback; it is also each area of the business knows what part of Voice of the Customer program they are responsible for and what role they play in order for the whole VoC program to be successful. For example, tracking the website behaviour can be taken care of by the IT side of the business or monitoring customer satisfaction and NPS can be dealt with by the marketing team.

You cannot do it alone and various areas of the business need to be involved to understand the importance of VoC and take ownership of the part they are covering for the program.


Step 5: Take action and respond

Voice of the Customer program is not merely used to gather and analyse information, you also need to take action from what you have found and respond to help improve your customers experience of the brand and deal with any threats or issues.


Plus responding to customers after they have given their feedback, helps them feel their thoughts, queries or issues are being dealt with and you value them as a customer. This also includes follow-ups when required to enhance that feeling.


Voice of the Customer best practices


Now you know more about VoC and how to set it up, so please keep in mind the following best 6 practices of running a Voice of the Customer program:

 

1. Source and collate customer feedback from various channels

Collecting feedback from multiple sources allows businesses to gather diverse perspectives and insights. Customers engage with brands through various channels, including email, social media, surveys, website analytics and customer service interactions. By capturing feedback from these channels, you gain a more well-rounded view of customer sentiment.

 

2. Look to receive feedback at the right times during a customer's journey

Timing is crucial in VoC. As covered previously collecting feedback at various touchpoints throughout the customer journey enables you to capture real-time impressions and critical moments of interaction. This practice ensures that feedback is specific and relevant to the customer's experience.

 

3. Share feedback and insights with the rest of the business

The VoC data shouldn't be confined to a single department; it should be shared across the business. This practice promotes transparency and collaboration. It ensures that decision-makers in various departments, such as marketing, product development, and customer service, have access to valuable insights to inform their strategies and actions.

 

4. Collect employee feedback to get their point of view in dealing with customers

Employees often have unique insights into customer interactions. They understand the challenges and successes in serving customers. Collecting employee feedback provides a holistic perspective, enabling businesses to address operational and internal factors that influence the customer experience which has not already been picked up.

 

5. Ensure customer feedback via the VoC program is responded to

Responding to customer feedback demonstrates that their input is valued. It also allows businesses to address issues promptly, improve customer satisfaction, and build trust.

The act of responding and taking action based on feedback is a key driver of customer loyalty.

 

6. Personalised approach in engaging customers in relation to your brand

Personalisation in customer interactions is a fundamental practice in VoC. Tailoring communication and engagement to individual customer preferences fosters a sense of connection and understanding. It demonstrates that the brand values its customers as unique individuals, enhancing the overall customer experience.


For example, sending tailored campaigns around customers milestones and behaviour such as reward for being a yearly customer or a discount offer after an initial purchase.



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