Sales & Marketing Tech

Listen Up! Build a Successful Voice of the Customer Program to Maximize Customer Feedback

Published by in Sales & Marketing Tech

A voice of the customer program improves customer listening, and, in turn, your customer experience program.

Header illustration of a man standing next to a giant computer monitor with text balloons coming out of it

Have you ever stopped, closed your eyes, and listened deeply to your surroundings? When you really focus, you notice more and more sounds the longer you pay attention, sounds that build on each other to create a mini symphony.

Such moments are a lot like a voice of the customer (VoC) program. Customer feedback and insight is all around us; we simply need to focus and listen.

What is a voice of the customer program?

A VoC program helps measure customer experience (CX) by capturing and analyzing multiple types of customer feedback to identify customer experience areas that need improvement. As one of the core ways to better understand your customers, VoC programs enable organizations to follow one of the foundational pillars of strong CX.

A VoC program should include 2 types of feedback:

    1. Direct feedback is provided to organizations openly and directly through methods such as surveys or complaints. It is generally directly solicited by the business.
  1. Indirect feedback is generally unsolicited, though it may include operational or transactional information. This can include customer comments on social media or review sites (including Capterra), as well as data including website clicks or purchase history.

When and how to build a voice of the customer program

The first step to building a VoC program is to determine what your uses cases and goals for the data are, which will help inform what data you need to achieve those goals.

Determine when in the customer journey you need to extract feedback, and how. The strongest VoC programs consolidate a variety of feedback sources from listening posts throughout the customer journey.

Let’s take a look at a few example use cases and the types of VoC data that would benefit each case. These examples aren’t exhaustive; there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a VoC program. Your business should tinker with the frequency, cadence, and listening channels that work for your unique needs.

Use case #1: Improving the customer service experience

Imagine your business wants to monitor and improve experiences with your customer service department. Data sources that benefit this goal include:

    • A survey deployed via phone immediately following a phone call with a customer service agent asking how satisfactory the interaction was.
    • Text from customer chat logs with customer service representatives, which can reveal common customer problems and sentiment during the issue-resolution process.
    • Transcripts or audio recordings of customer service calls, which can reveal common customer problems and sentiment during service interactions.
    • A follow-up email survey delivered two to three days after a customer service case is closed, asking whether the customer feels their problem is fully resolved. If the answer is “no,” your customer service department can reopen the case.
    • Overall issue resolution times, which you can pair with survey data to analyze whether certain problems are taking too long to solve (and whether this is frustrating customers).
  • Call center and/or online chat traffic to learn whether there are repeat surge hours when customers have to wait longer than average. Adding service agents during peak hours could improve CX.

Use case #2: Product development improvements

Let’s say you want to get a stronger pulse on your customers’ experiences with and sentiment about your products. Here are a few ways to incorporate product-related data into your VoC program:

    • An email survey delivered three days after a product is purchased or delivered, asking about product satisfaction.
    • Social media listening with triggers that alert your team when a product is mentioned on various platforms.
    • Reviews sites monitoring. If your product is listed on a third party reviews site, regularly monitor user reviews and analyze their sentiment.
    • Customer complaints about your product delivered to customer service and/or sales teams can reveal repeat issues experienced by customers.
    • FAQ or self-service page traffic can reveal common sources of confusion that your customers may be solving on their own but that may still be an initial source of frustration.
  • Related purchase history can reveal information such as opportunities for growth. For example, if satisfied customers buy a related product a few months after their initial purchase, your marketing team could know to target purchasers of one with promotional materials for the other.

Voice of the customer software solutions

Leveraging a VoC solution takes dedication, and—often—advanced skill sets. Before undertaking a VoC program, determine skill levels within your organization, such as whether staff are comfortable making and analyzing survey results.

Regardless of the level of expertise within your organization, there are a range of software solutions that can help automate and aggregate data from listening posts throughout your customers’ journeys.

Many customer experience software solutions include advanced survey management tools, and many CX and survey software solutions include pre-built survey questions for common CX metrics that measure satisfaction and loyalty, such as NPS, CSAT, or CES.

Some of these tools also let you manage when and where you gather direct feedback, while aggregating or automating collection of indirect feedback. CX and survey dashboards track progress on key metrics and show sentiment changes over time, so you can stop and truly listen to your customers.

Looking for Customer Experience software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Customer Experience software solutions.

About the Author

Kristen Bialik

Kristen Bialik

Kristen Bialik is a senior specialist analyst covering customer experience for Capterra. She holds B.A.'s in English and Communications from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in Journalism Research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Follow her at @kebialik for insight on CX for small and midsize businesses.


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