Voice of the Customer (VoC) refers to a process or programme designed to capture customer preferences and opinions, analyse them to gain new business insights, and then share them to create meaningful change. VoC programmes use many different methods to gather information on customers. Some notable systems include
- Data Analysis
- Social Media
Surveys can be used for various purposes in a VoC programme. They often include key metric questions, such as NPS or customer satisfaction, and an open-comment section. Traditionally, surveys come in three main categories: post-transactional, email, and phone.
In post-transactional surveys, customers are asked to complete a brief questionnaire after an interaction with a company. Survey invitations are often printed on receipts or sent as follow-up emails after an online purchase. These surveys are easy and useful because of their timeliness. They provide an outlet for customers to voice concerns or praise while experiences are fresh in their minds. However, they can be very subjective and are sometimes difficult to compare with other companies and benchmarks.
Surveys sent via email are the successors to paper-only surveying. They are cost effective and allow for the attachment of photos or sound files. They can be used in almost any situation because they aren’t limited by geographical areas that may be hard to reach by post. In addition, email surveys allow for ease of data analysis. Naturally, ease of use creates its own set of drawbacks. With the ability to send out thousands of surveys instantaneously, email surveys typically get low response rates.
Telephone surveys can be an important asset to any VoC programme. Being quickly able to target specific groups, makes it simple to discover what customers think. Most people have access to a phone. Calling, while it can be time-consuming, is personable. People usually appreciate that and it can yield higher quality answers. However, it generally yields little quantitative data as compared to email surveys, and is very expensive. Phone surveys can provide valuable information but are generally used as only part of a company’s overall survey strategy.
Data analysis is another important aspect of VoC technology. Once survey data has been collected, it remains useless until a thorough inspection has been completed. Dozens of methods exist with which this can be accomplished. Generally speaking, everything can be classified under two categories, qualitative and quantitative methods.
Qualitative analysis does not deal with numbers. Rather it examines information such as interviews and open ended survey questions gathered from the VoC programme. Because of the personal nature of collecting this type of research, it can be tough to generalise conclusions due to fewer people being talked to. In addition, with the lack of mathematics involved, the quality of the analysis is dependent solely on the skill of the person conducting the analysis.
Quantitative data deals with numbers. It seeks to quantify data in terms that can be easily understood and applied. In other words, it uses statistical methods such as the average, minimum, and maximum to express data and draw conclusions. This includes examining data to draw conclusions about categories such as demographics, user preferences, personal observation or interviews conducted. Conducting this type of analysis is useful because it can allow for more generalised results as well as being more objective than qualitative research. Perhaps the most advantageous reason to use quantitative analysis is that it can be replicated by any other analyst. The strength of quantitative research—the numbers—is also the weakness. By focusing too much on the numbers, one may inadvertently silo the experiment to a single facet.
Social Media reaches 82% of the population today. By harnessing social media in your VoC programme, listening to the voice of the customer will be easier than ever. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide forums for customers to voice their concerns in an informal and uninvited way. Social listening tools such as SocialCX, can monitor sites and organise information to give a more accurate picture of what customers are saying about a company.
When used correctly, social media can be a powerful tool for improving your company’s image and customer service. Social media can also be a double-edged sword. While there are many positive perks, social media is also a volatile market, often changing on a whim. A successful VoC programme that incorporates social media will keep up to date on their customers’ feedback.
Managing a successful voice of the customer programme is difficult. Technology has made it easier than ever to know what customer are thinking. By incorporating surveys, data analysis and social media into your VoC programme, meaningful insights can be gleaned and then shared across an organization to create change and long term impact.