Voice of the Customer (VoC): Methodologies, Metrics & Best Practices

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May 25, 2023
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The success of your business largely depends on whether you can gather actionable customer feedback and implement it into your product roadmap. With many data sources, vague feedback, and unclear objectives, that is no easy feat. Launching an effective Voice of the Customer program can make a massive difference and help you close the feedback loop. 

In this article, we will talk about the role of a Voice of the Customer program in a company, common VoC tools and methodologies, best practices, and most important VoC metrics. 

What is the Voice of the Customer?

Voice of the Customer (VoC) is the process of collecting and analyzing customer feedback about a brand, product, service, or customer experience. In a successful VoC program, feedback is gathered from various sources and is then used to improve the company’s product or service. To implement a Voice of the Customer strategy, the team needs to agree on how to collect feedback, analyze it, and turn it into insights that would increase customer satisfaction. 

According to Gartner, Voice of the Customer (VoC) solutions are a combination of technologies used to gather, store and analyze direct, indirect, and inferred customer feedback. Technologies such as social media monitoring, enterprise feedback management, speech analytics, text mining, and Web analytics are utilized to get an accurate and comprehensive idea of the customer’s voice. 

Voice of the Customer Questions 

The purpose of your Voice of the Customer program is to give you a clear and holistic understanding of your customers’ perception of your brand. Ideally, your Voice of the Customer research should answer the following questions:

  • What do your customers feel and think about your company, brand, product, or service? Where and how do they share their views?
  • What is the overall sentiment of your customers towards your company, brand, product, or service? Do they intend to make a purchase?
  • What are the underlying reasons for the feelings and opinions expressed by your customers? What is the primary cause of these sentiments?
  • Who or what has an impact on your customers’ feelings towards your brand or product?
  • What are the specific needs, wants, desires, and intentions of your customers? How can your company, brand, product, or service fulfill them?
  • What do your customers think about your competitors? How do they perceive your competitors and their ability to fulfill their needs?
  • Are there any major differences between your customers’ views and preferences? If so, what are the differences and how can we define those customer segments?

Voice of the Customer Examples

There are various Voice of the Customer methodologies that can help you determine your customers’ satisfaction with your product or service. Here are some of the best sources to gather Voice of the Customer data: 

  • Surveys
  • Customer interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Social media reviews
  • Online reviews
  • Customer support interactions
  • Intercom conversations

Voice of the Customer Survey

Perhaps the most common and important tool for Voice of the Customer research is a survey. Voice of the Customer Surveys are used to gather feedback regarding your customers' touchpoints with a company. Through a combination of general and more specific Voice of the Customer survey questions, a survey can help you determine your customers’ overall sentiment towards your company and identify the weaknesses you need to work on.

Surveys can help you gather both quantitative and qualitative feedback. Quantitative feedback is collected through close-ended questions and is usually expressed by numbers, so it is easy to give, collect, and analyze. While quantitative survey questions are used to calculate important metrics and KPIs, qualitative feedback can give you a real insight into the minds of your customers. Qualitative data is gathered through open-ended questions that let the customers use their own language and discuss the aspects of your product that you may not have considered before.

Voice of the Customer Six Sigma Template

The Six Sigma Voice of the Customer template is commonly used to determine the customers' wants, needs, and requirements. It states that the goal of the Voice of the Customer program is to translate the customers' voices to needs and requirements. 

First, the VoC methodology determines the customers' current and latent needs through their verbatim comments. After the comments are translated into needs, we can pinpoint customer requirements our product or service can fulfill. 

Before translating customer needs into requirements, it is important to differentiate a customer’s needs from wants. If a product doesn’t satisfy a customer’s needs, they won’t consider it or buy it again. Wants, on the other hand, are the expectations that go beyond our needs. While they impact the customer’s satisfaction, they aren’t as important. For example, if a person is looking for a time-tracking desktop app, they might consider and be satisfied with an easy-to-use web app for time-tracking. However, if a desktop app doesn’t track time accurately, it doesn’t fulfill the customer’s core need, which is a definite dealbreaker. 

Voice of the Customer Metrics

There are different metrics you can use to measure the success of your VoC strategy, but here are the ones that are essential for every business. 

Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is perhaps the most common metric to measure the success of a VoC program. NPS is a simple and straightforward way to gauge the level of your customer satisfaction. NPS is determined through a single question: “How likely is it that you would recommend our business to a friend?”. The customers are asked to respond with a number on a scale of 0 to 10 and are then separated into three groups – detractors, passives, and promoters. 

The NPS score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. NPS scores range from -100 to +100, with anything above 0 considered a satisfactory result. Industry leaders and favorites usually have a score of +50 or higher. 

Customer Satisfaction Score

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) is commonly used to find out how happy your customer is with a particular product interaction, but it can also be applied to their overall experience with a company. In a CSAT survey, the customer is asked: “How satisfied are you with your experience?”. CSAT allows you to evaluate different customer touchpoints such as customer support, the checkout process, or delivery. By identifying and improving your touchpoints with the lowest CSAT score you can easily reduce customer churn. 

Normally, customers are asked to rate their experience on a scale of 1 to 5. CSAT scores may use numbers, smiley faces, or words with 1 being “very unsatisfied” and 5 being “very satisfied” with the experience. To determine the CSAT score, the percentage of satisfied customers who rated their experience with a 4 or 5 is divided by the total number of respondents and multiplied by 100. The result is the percentage of your satisfied customers.

Customer Effort Score

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a Voice of the Customer metric that determines the amount of effort the consumer needs to make when interacting with your brand or making a purchase. A low CES indicates that the customer had a seamless straightforward experience, while a high score signals that there are difficulties that might prevent your customers from using your product again. 

The CES survey question may be phrased differently, for example:

  • “How easy was it for you to solve your issue?”
  • “To what extent do you agree with the following: The company made it easy for me to purchase the product?”

Voice of the Customer Best Practices

Follow these tips to run a successful Voice of the Customer program. 

Listen to the Voice of the Employee

Employees’ challenges often turn into customers’ issues, so you need to stay in touch with your team and be aware of their difficulties. Besides, every department interacts with the customer in one way or another. By collecting feedback across the departments, you can get a holistic picture of your customer experience. 

Choose your questions wisely

Survey fatigue is a real issue, so make sure your survey is brief, well-designed, and easy to comprehend. The more questions you add to the survey, the fewer answers you will get, so determine the main purpose of your survey and ask fewer and more specific questions. 

Leverage social media listening 

Social media is a goldmine of unfiltered unsolicited feedback. When a person has a strong opinion about a product, they will take it to their social media. On social media platforms, you get to directly interact with your biggest promoters and detractors, which allows you to boost loyalty, quickly respond to negative feedback, and resolve urgent issues. 

Voice of the Customer Tools

Voice of the Customer is a continuous process that involves gathering, storing, and analyzing data. To collect data for your Voice of the Customer program, you can use various survey tools, online review platforms, or customer service data. 

Of course, gathering feedback is not enough. To successfully implement a VoC program, you need to conduct Voice of the Customer analysis and turn your data into actionable insights for your business. 

When it comes to Voice of the Customer analytics tools, you need to find a tool that matches your needs rather than aim for a big number of features that aren’t useful for you. Essense is an affordable AI-powered customer research tool that can analyze your Voice of the Customer data in seconds and generate insights that will help you improve your product and customer satisfaction. Thanks to integrations with G2, Trustpilot, Typeform, and other feedback sources, Essense makes sure the voice of the customer is heard.

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