Digital Insights

How Your Company can Benefit by Understanding Your Customer’s Voice

Published: August 26, 2014

Voice of the Customer (VoC) refers to the preferences and experiences that are expressed by your customers as they relate to your company, products, and employees. The process includes the collection and sharing of valuable feedback information among all employees involved in product development, marketing, sales and operations.

According to noted business strategist and author Peter Drucker, “the purpose of business is to create a customer,” and this philosophy is embodied in the dual role of VoC:

  • To keep the customers you already have.
  • To continually improve your product and service offerings in a manner that will help you attract new customers.

Why Voice of the Customer is Important
The ability to deliver a superior experience for your customers is a vital factor in determining how successful your company will be in today’s highly competitive environment. VoC can provide you with an “unfair” advantage by helping you

  • Truly understand and prioritize the needs, wants, and pain points of your customers.
  • Understand how your customers perceive and value your products.
  • Understand how well your customers believe you are delivering on your promises.
  • Analyze and distill this information into a useful format that can help you create and deliver a superior product.

An effective VoC program provides actionable real-world data that you can use with confidence to improve customer satisfaction with your company; all too often businesses badly misread their customers with disastrous results. In a recent survey of 362 companies, a full 80 percent believed that they provided a superior customer experience. When customers of these companies were interviewed, only 8 percent felt that the companies had delivered on their promise of a superior customer experience.

How to Start an Effective Voice of the Customer Program
Start by recognizing that bringing real customer orientation to your company means actively listening to your customers as well as developing the ability to anticipate their future needs and wants. Don’t get caught up in a data trap; gathering information about your customers is meaningless if it doesn’t get used to effect meaningful improvements in your company.

  • Set the right goals. Think about what business decisions should be influenced by VoC input. Having a clear idea of how the VoC information will be used will help you decide exactly what type of information needs to be collected, reducing the risk of information overload.
  • Tie your VoC program to the customer journey through your company, starting with the very first point of contact. Identify the points where customer loyalty and value are created as well as those points where they can be lost; these should be the focus of your VoC program.
  • Make sure that your VoC program is embraced and implemented throughout your company, particularly among your marketing, sales, and operations staff; it is absolutely critical that these departments understand how VoC insights can help them do a better job.
  • A combination of both solicited feedback such as email and website surveys, and unsolicited feedback such as social media can be used to collect information from your customers.