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voice of the customer (VOC)

Contributor(s): Dennis Shiao

Voice of the customer (VOC) is the component of customer experience (CX) and customer satisfaction (CSAT) that focuses on the perception of a customer's needs, wants, expectations and preferences. In most businesses, the quality of customer experience is a key differentiating factor against competitors. Therefore, VOC is important for ensuring that customer input is requested and valued.

To determine the VOC, an organization will analyze indirect input, or data that reflects what a customer does, and direct input, data that reflects what a customer says. Indirect input includes a close examination of data gathered from monetary transactions, market research, product usage data and Web analytics. Direct input includes social media monitoring for brand or product mentions, collecting customer feedback and conducting customer interviews.

Once all data is gathered, it is analyzed to spot patterns and trends. Qualitative input may identify product bugs that need to be fixed or customer service processes that need to be improved. Quantitative data may identify high or low usage rates in some features, indicating the usefulness or success of those features. Insights from VOC data should then be used to inform actions. Examples of actions include making improvements to customer support and launching new products and services.

Implementing VOC can increase customer loyalty as well as create a more valuable product offering. Several vendors have developed software products that can help facilitate VOC through data gathering and data mining tools.

Stages of VOC software

Importance of voice of the customer

VOC helps ensure that organizations deliver features that customers want and need. With subscription-based, digitally-delivered product offerings, such as software as a service (SaaS), customer retention and the ability to upsell are important factors in revenue. Therefore, VOC-enabled customer success is crucial to organizations with a "pay-as-you-go" pricing model. Additionally, it is important to communicate organizational changes that are made as a result of VOC data to inform customers that their opinions are being acknowledged.

Voice of the customer methodologies

Along with collecting digital data, other VOC methodologies include:

  • Organizing a customer advisory council that meets with existing customers to receive their feedback.
  • Sending customers a request to complete surveys or product reviews.
  • Calculating customer scores such as the net promoter score (NPS), customer health score (CHS) and customer effort score (CES).
  • Gathering logs from customer support phone calls, customer chats and SMS
  • Selecting topics and customers to create focus groups.
This was last updated in March 2019

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