Voice of the Customer

Tie your Voice of the Customer (VOC) strategy to your brand


What is VOC (Voice of the Customer)?

Good news! It’s exactly what you’d expect – feedback from your customers, whether directly or indirectly. This information can come from a variety of sources. If you’re picking up on indirect feedback, have a clarifying conversation with your customer(s) before making any assumptions or changes.

In the world of quality and customer focus, we all know we need to listen. We know we need to ask for and pay attention to customer feedback. Hopefully, we’re all doing something with that feedback too. Whether the customers are the external people buying your products or the internal people (a.k.a. Employees) following your policies and procedures, there’s almost no faster way to shut down a conversation than to do nothing at all with the feedback you get. Just imagine if your customers were all telling you the same thing and you did nothing to address it. How long would it take for them to switch to a more customer-oriented competitor?

How an organization responds to customer feedback is a reflection of their brand. That means your VOC strategy needs to reflect your brand. It needs to make sense with the experience you want your customers to have when they work with you. 

When it comes to choosing a method to gather feedback, think about what it will take for your customers to respond and how it ties to your organization’s core values. For example, if your brand is based on luxury and top-tier quality at a matching price, a basic web survey does exactly fit. If you know that your customers are more likely to be on their phones than a computer, it’ll be important to ensure that you choose a strategy that is mobile friendly.

It’s also important to look at how you’ve gathered feedback before and the responses you received. Past successes, or failures, could help you greatly when you’re putting together a whole strategy, which will most likely include multiple methods.

VOC Tips:

  • Whenever possible, listen BEFORE your customers complain outright.
  • Large issues often start as small issues.
  • If you have multiple types of customers, organize the feedback accordingly.

Some Methods to get VOC information:

There are many ways to get feedback from your customers, including your organization’s Net Promoter Score(NPS), which measures customer loyalty. Whichever tool or combination of tools you choose, it’s remember your brand. Here are a few of the most common methods, though there are many options out there.

Interviews:Explicitcustomer feedback comes through talking with them directly and interviews are a great way to do that. This can be done through phone calls, site visits, or any other way you might have direct contact with a customer. It’s important to remember that the interviewer needs to be aware of the interview’s goals, key topics to listen for, and how to respond if the interview would take a turn for the worse. Don’t forget your customer service team when you’re educating your interviewers. They will often be the first ones customers raise concerns with.

Surveys:There are several types of surveys ranging from those offered to anyone who visits your website to in-depth surveys sent to specific customers. The key to getting the right information in a survey is to ask the right questions in the right way. A rushed survey may not be taken seriously by the people who see it or may yield misleading or incomplete feedback. Test the questions before sending it out. Send it to people on your team, trusted advisors, and maybe a customer or two who know that you’re looking for feedback on the survey itself.

Social Media:People are brave on social media, especially when they see others saying the same thing. It’s important to know when to respond and when to just observe. At the very least, it can be helpful to look for trends that correlate with information you’re getting from other sources or methods.

Web behavior:Your marketing team or CRM are tracking information like pageviews, abandoned carts, and ad conversion rates. These can be especially valuable pieces of information when you’ve launched a new product or made any other announcement that could affect your market or market share.

Questions to ask before you choose a VOC feedback method:

A little forethought can help you make the most out of any method. Before you deploy, put your strategy through a simple test to ensure that it fits with your organization’s brand.

  1. What will this method require of our customers?
  2. How will we receive the feedback?
  3. What will it take for us to take action on the feedback?
  4. What kind of information will this method/these methods give us?
  5. How do the responses to questions 1 – 4 fit with our brand and customer experience goals?

If at the end of this test, your strategy aligns with your brand and your goals, congratulations! If not, don’t worry. There are other options and it’s not too late to explore them. Either way, every time you ask these questions, you’ll learn more about the best methods for your organization, goals, and brand.

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