As the textbooks say, the Voice of the Customer (VOC) is the in-depth market research process to capture a customer’s expectations, preferences, and aversions – producing a detailed set of customer wants and needs, organised into a prioritised, logical, business management structure.
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But for any organization, the Voice of the Customer should be much more than a set of processes and measurements. As Peter Drucker said, “The single most important thing to remember about any enterprise is that there are no results inside its walls. The result of a business is a satisfied customer.”
If a company that truly believes in putting the customer at the heart of their organization, a Voice of the Customer program should be driving everything it does, with all decisions determined by what will be the best experience for their customers.
At VIRTUATel, we believe so strongly in the importance of the true Voice of the Customer that we own the trademark! So you can see that we have understood the importance in listening to the voice of the customer for many years. This experience is a vital component when you are considering designing and deploying the surveys and questionnaires that you will use to drive your VOC campaign.
Capturing the Voice of the Customer using automated surveys
There are a number of different touch points within each organisation’s customer journey where the company interacts with its customers. Each of these touchpoints provides the opportunity to collect VOC data from customers and influence their behaviour. Using automated surveys over the phone, mobile, web and email contact points will ensure a complete VOC view is captured at minimal cost.
Once the finding have been confirmed and prioritised, it may be worthwhile delving deeper into the results by conducting specific customer interviews.
Successful VOC programs also call upon a variety of customer-initiated feedback, such as product reviews via third party websites as well as social media content. At VT we have recently launched a social media survey service and have discovered this can be a valuable source of additional VOC data. In addition, due to the “real-time” nature of social media, it is also an excellent channel on which to monitor changes.
In summary, the Voice of the Customer can be captured through a variety of different tools, mechanisms, and platforms, including:
- Automated Surveys
- Direct discussion
- Focus Groups
- Customer Specifications
- Field Reports
- Complaint Logs
- Ethnographic Studies
- Social Listening
- Home Visits
Why conduct Voice of the Customer research?
In any industry, listening to the customer is key – VOC programs make it possible for organisations to understand their customers’ preferences and buying decisions, and quickly respond to their feedback in an intelligent and meaningful way.
The effective use of Voice of the Customer programs and processes allows you to connect and engage with customers at key points in the customer journey, allowing you to:
- Customise your products and services to meet the needs and expectations of your customers
- Maximise your profits
- Identify and prioritise your customers’ needs and wants
- Prioritise issues and developments
- Evaluate new concepts, ideas, and solutions
Allowing you to listen to your customers and act on their feedback, the Voice of the Customer process helps you to build better products than you would otherwise be able to.
The VOC also allows you to truly understand the customer journey. Each customer interacts with your organisation through different touch points, with different members of staff, buying different products and services, and having different post-purchase experiences. VOC takes a unified view – taking into account the entire journey rather than focusing on one of these angles.
Voice of the Customer in 2016
Most commentators agree that organizations that are not focusing on improving customer experience in 2016 will go backwards. According to Gartner, “Customer experience is the last source of sustainable differentiation and the new competitive battleground.” They estimate that by 2017, 50% of product investment projects will be redirected to customer experience innovations.
And the best place to start is to ensure you are hearing the voice of your customers loud and clear.
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