Voice of the Customer (VoC)

How To Give Your Customers a Voice

The focus of the Voice of the Customer is on recognizing customer expectations, wishes, likes, and dislikes.

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This knowledge is crucial to help you drive optimization and to stay ahead of the competition. It is about giving customers a chance to express their opinion, listening to them carefully, and then implementing their feedback. Find out here what advantages this concept brings and how you can start doing it today.

What is the Voice of the Customer?

Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a term that is mainly used in product development. It is a method of recording the experiences, ideas and expectations of (potential) customers, from which all departments can benefit. The aim is to derive customer’s hidden and obvious wishes and needs—because only companies that are aware of these can optimally serve them.

Benefits and Possible Uses

The voice of the customer can be determined in various ways. These include, for example, individual interviews, focus groups, surveys, pilot markets, or feedback on previous studies. Customer complaints can also be included in the process. The survey can include all areas of the company, from product development to marketing via sales and customer service.

VoC programs therefore focus on the following three steps:

  • Collecting information: E.g. in the form of surveys
  • Analyzing data: Evaluating answers to identify similarities and customer expectations
  • Implementing results: Converting the results into concrete action steps in order to improve relevant business areas

Companies that listen to their customers not only receive feedback on their services and products, but above all show their customers appreciation. The opportunity to make yourself heard and to be able to express praise, criticism, or suggestions for improvement quickly and easily creates trust. Customers get the feeling of being noticed and having the opportunity to actively participate. It is important to include both the past (previous experience with the company) and the future (wishes, ideas, and expectations) when collecting this data.

The Aberdeen Group found in their study “The Business Value of Building a Best-in-Class VoC Program” that companies that invest in customer feedback programs

  • … achieve a much higher level of customer loyalty,
  • … bind their employees more strongly and
  • … have to invest less in customer service in the long term.

Voice of the Customer for Corporate Management

The Voice of Customer plays an important role in strategic company decisions. Companies that act with foresight and innovation not only give their customers a voice, but have recognized that VoC data marks the path to success. In the run-up to important decisions, this data can minimize risks by helping the company to:

  • Set priorities and adapt goals to the needs of consumers (customer orientation)
  • Gain insights from customers even before developing a new product, service, or process. This gives you the overview you need in order not to forget essential parameters and, from the customer’s point of view, not to lose yourself in unnecessary details. At the same time, the VoC helps to decide when which product should be brought onto the market.
  • Bridge the gap between customer expectations and your offerings.

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Voice of Customer for Marketing Teams

“If you want to have an impact on other people, you first have to talk to them in their language.”

– Kurt Tucholsky (German journalist and writer)

The customer sets the tone—in the truest sense of the word. Marketing specialists have long known that customer feedback is teeming with keywords for the next communication campaign. VoC data can reveal phrases and new terms that your customers use to describe a product or service. Anyone who asks thought-provoking questions will motivate their customers to provide insightful and profound answers.

In their feedback, consumers often explain why they use a product, what advantages it offers, and their opinion on using it. Depending on the age, the choice of words is often quite different. For example, what is hip and trendy for teenagers is more likely to be described as modern by the middle-aged. It is therefore important to use the consumers’ choice of words in marketing campaigns in order to attract more attention from the respective target group.

Marketeers who take the time to analyze the Voice of Customer data can track down valuable keywords for their website copy. This helps you

  • … to present what makes your brand unique.
  • … to accurately explain who you are and what defines you and your product.
  • … convince more website visitors to buy and thereby boost your sales.

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Voice of the Customer for CRM Managers

Customer relationship management (CRM) in particular benefits from customer feedback, because CRM managers are responsible for building long-lasting, stable customer relationships. Above all, they need to know what makes consumers tick. Because close contact and a good connection with customers are of great importance for business success.

In order to get a picture of its customers, the CRM department brings together the data and facts from all customer-related processes in marketing, sales, customer service, and research and development in order to develop measures. The aim of these measures is:

  • to increase customer satisfaction,
  • to increase the purchase frequency,
  • to receive existing customers with tailor-made promotions, and
  • to turn prospects into lucrative customers

Voice of customer programs can successfully support this process. They provide important pieces of the puzzle for CRM managers to complete their big picture in front of customers. CRM managers get a deeper understanding of customers and can tailor their actions accordingly. At the same time, VoC programs that maintain contact with the customer using the closing the loop method automatically intensify the bond between customer and company.

Voice of the Customer for CRM Managers

10 Voice of the Customer Methods

In order to know why customers make certain decisions, it is important to put yourself in their shoes and look at things from their perspective. When you examine your products and services through the eyes of your customer, you often discover overlooked details. The voice-of-the-customer process is about recording customer requirements, evaluating the data, and then putting them in action. Here are ten ways you can give your customers a voice.

Direct VoC Processes

1. Customer Interviews

A traditional way of collecting VoC data and understanding the customer’s point of view is through customer interviews. These interviews can be conducted for a single customer or for a group of customers with the same characteristics. Interviews are mainly carried out face-to-face, on the phone, or via email. Personal interviews are particularly suitable for building and strengthening trust in customers. Customers perceive this type of survey as more personal, but interview requests can quickly seem too intrusive.

2. Onsite Customer Surveys

With the help of online website surveys, the needs of your customers and the topics that concern them can be recorded. If you want reliable answers from your customers, you should pay attention to using the right questions and the right platform for the survey. Platforms often offer different questioning methods, such as yes-no surveys, surveys with multiple answers, free-text answer fields, or dropdown boxes.

3. Live Chat

One way to get feedback in real time is by talking to customers live. Companies can respond directly to criticism in the on-site chat and take the wind out of the sails of dissatisfied customers. Not only can complaints be recorded in the blink of an eye, but solutions can also be presented in a follow-up chat.

4. Online Customer Surveys

The image of a company on the World Wide Web is not just based on information that the company publishes itself. Online rating platforms such as TrustPilot or TripAdvisor actively request customer feedback. But it is not just about capturing positive reviews, it is also about reacting to negative feedback. Many visitors hesitate to buy a product from a company that has received negative reviews online.

5. Focus Groups

Focus groups are a form of group discussion led by a moderator. Eight to twelve participants are asked about their feelings and their opinion on a product or service of the company and then exchange ideas. In this way, the needs of the customers can be prioritized or concepts can be tested. Focus groups can be used following interviews or surveys. They provide more detailed explanations of the feedback that the customer gave at the respective touchpoint.

6. Email

Email is an efficient way to get feedback from a large group of customers. Depending on the relationship, the choice of words can be personal and individual or formal. At the same time, customers are given the opportunity to express their feedback in the email response. This can be done freely as an answer text or in the form of a survey.

Indirect VoC Processes

1. Social Media

Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or a blog are a real treasure trove when it comes to tracking down authentic customer feedback, moods, and trends. Companies can analyze existing conversations as a silent listener or participate in the conversation as an active communicator. A great advantage of social networks is the ability to get in touch with customers directly and in real time.

2. User Website Behavior

In addition to live chats and on-site surveys, the user behavior of customers on the website provides information about their likes and dislikes. With the help of various tools, interactions such as clicks or scrolls are recorded and a map is created with all the places and elements of the website with which a user has interacted.

3. Recording of Calls

Often, customers give feedback on a company, its brand, or services in a telephone conversation. Personal contact creates trust. The inhibition threshold to express one’s opinion is decreasing. Therefore, it makes sense to record customer calls at regular intervals. How do customers perceive the company or the brand? What complaints do you make? What do customers expect from the company? The records often contain answers to these questions and can also be accessed repeatedly. At the same time, the employees of the customer support center can use the recordings as training to train their sensitivity in dealing with complaints or difficult customers. In this way, a company improves its customer service at the same time.

4. Customer ratings

Nowadays, customers can use various platforms and portals to report on their experiences and express their opinions. These include, for example, Google ratings, app stores, and reviews in online shops and industry-specific portals. These reviews can provide businesses with helpful insights into customer experiences and needs.

Excursus: Capture the Voice of Customers with NPS® Data

Companies that rely on satisfied customers are asked to listen to them and recognize mood swings in good time. The aim of voice of the customer programs is therefore to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty. This is possible using various indicators. Probably the most classic and well-known key figure is the Net Promoter Score® (NPS).

The NPS is based on the assumption that the more advocates and supporters a company has, the more likely it is to grow. The score is determined based on a single question:

How likely is a customer to recommend the brand, product or service to a friend or acquaintance?

Customers can place themselves on a scale from 0 (not likely) to 10 (very likely). Finally, all the values collected provide information about the loyalty of the customersthe higher the score, the higher the customer satisfaction.

But even if the NPS provides valuable insights, it is important to analyze the results and put them into practice. Because only by taking concrete action can a company grow or straighten out an imbalance. Conversely, this means: VoC programs are only successful if their results can also be implemented. They should therefore contain information on how to proceed with the NPS. In this way, companies can react quickly and purposefully if the mood barometer unexpectedly drops.

Whitepaper: Manage Feedback Data

Learn how to collect feedback correctly and how to comprehensively evaluate the data obtained.






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    Conclusion

    A successful VoC program gives a company valuable insight into their customers’ needs, problems, and complaints. With the help of targeted Voice of Customer methods and effective VoC management, companies can gain a holistic understanding of their customers and their behavior in order to adapt their decisions accordingly.

    VoC data thus provide valuable information for:

    • the company management
    • the marketing department and
    • customer relationship management

    A structured VoC program can help companies:

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