In this brief guide, learn about what the Voice of the Customer (VoC) is, its benefits to an organization, the various VoC data collection methods, and some steps and tips to follow in building a successful VoC program.
Published 25 Jun 2023
| By Kevin Gausch, Patricia Guevara
The Voice of the Customer is a research method or technique used by businesses to collect and validate customer feedback about their products and services. It’s also considered an important component of Customer Experience (CX) which focuses on the needs, expectations, and preferences of customers.
Since the primary purpose of gathering and maximizing the Voice of the Customer data is to help businesses improve their overall CX, it’s a must for key stakeholders such as those involved in customer service and support to be passionate about customer feedback. They stand between the business and its customers, so the process of utilizing the VoC gathered through customer interactions must be well-implemented.
In the context of Quality Function Deployment (QFD), the Voice of the Customer is taken into account to implement effective action plans and strategies to address customer needs and expectations. QFD is also a tool used in integrating the VoC into an organization’s quality process, wherein the holistic methodology of Six Sigma lies. By using a product planning matrix called the House of Quality, customer requirements are obtained in the first stage of QFD.
The Six Sigma methodology’s overall purpose is to improve the quality, value, or intent of the products or services of a business. As the Voice of the Customer analysis becomes the foundation of the organization’s product life cycle and process improvement projects, the application of Six Sigma becomes more streamlined and targeted to the intended direction of how the organization can improve its processes toward stellar CX and customer service.
Conducting Voice of the Customer research and having relevant insights at your disposal also presents the following benefits to your organization:
Although different companies may have their own unique methods to collect VoC insights, the following is a list of the most common data collection techniques and Voice of the Customer tools:
Building a Successful Voice of the Customer Program
A successful VoC program must be customer-centric, aligned with the organization’s goals, and able to adapt to the changes that the business goes through. In order for these to happen, you may follow these steps and some tips for building and maintaining a VoC program that works.
Depending on the desired outcomes of your organization within a certain period of time, the kind of goals you need to define may vary. These goals should be able to help you to clearly set the foundation for the next steps you should take in setting up a targeted and purposeful VoC program.
For example, if you’re focusing on increased customer retention, you should look for and set up the relevant listening tools that can help you better accomplish your action plans toward that goal. In this case, you’re ensuring that the specific initiatives you’re implementing are leading to more defined objectives you can set and relay to your teams and employees toward better CX and customer service.
To better guide you, here are some questions you can ask during this step:
In this step, it’s crucial to understand first what your organization already knows about your customers. Using existing customer data, you can create customer or buyer profiles that you can utilize in effectively mapping out the customer journey. Even more, your marketing and product development strategies can also benefit from the presence of such profiles for further personalization.
Going back to the sample scenario wherein your organization aims to focus on increasing customer retention, your focus must be on your existing customers instead of new or potential ones.
Depending on the objectives you’ve set for your VoC program, the kind of listening tools and strategies you may implement could be unique and may vary. t’s also crucial to consider what triggers you’ll use to encourage or prompt customers to share their experience with your business.
Efforts to proactively “listen” to customer feedback can be integrated into certain points within the customer journey. For example, conducting software demonstrations and organizing customer events can be effective ways to gather customer pain points, expectations, and other insights.
Once you have a significant amount of VoC data ready for analysis, it’s imperative to ensure that the whole organization is committed to establishing goals and action plans to achieve a successful VoC program.
Commonly, the employees and leaders in the customer support and customer service teams are the ones who must be more involved in building the VoC program. Also, the leaders and teams in charge of approving and making changes to the current CX processes must be on board with the program.
Eliminate manual tasks and streamline your operations.
Lastly, knowing what to measure also contributes to creating a program that seamlessly integrates your VoC data into what your efforts aim to achieve. Using standard metrics like Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) gives you a quantitative way of measuring customer interactions and if these are improving based on the VoC program you created.
As you continuously strive to be a customer-driven business, tapping into the voice of your customers can boost your efforts to achieve a viable VoC initiative. In this endeavor, having powerful tools like SafetyCulture integrated into your key processes is a powerful way to be consistent with your CX operations.
Using SafetyCulture, a workplace operations platform, CX professionals and product teams can improve and contribute to building a sustainable VoC program by maximizing the platform’s features:
You can also download, use, and customize these free Voice of the Customer templates and checklists from the Public Library to collect and document customer insights and feedback:
Kevin has a Lean and Six Sigma Black Belt from Villanova University and Certified Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence through ASQ with a focus on the construction industry. Kevin has 13 years of Quality and Project Management experience in the utility contractor space, including; electric transmission, distribution and substation, gas distribution and pipeline, and telecommunications, both inside and outside plant. 16 years of construction experience overall.
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