What is the Voice of the Customer (VoC)?

Editorial Team

5 min read
Customer checking out at shop

Customer experience (CX) isn’t a new concept. Business owners have always wanted to better understand the needs and desires of their clients. Historically, owners have relied on focus groups, surveys, and social media to gain deeper insights into how and why their customers engage with their products and services.

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Thanks to technology, businesses now have faster and more accurate ways of learning what many CX experts refer to as the Voice of the Customer.

A customer’s voice – defined

What is the Voice of the Customer? The VoC approach involves actively collecting feedback about the expectations, needs, and dislikes that customers have when interacting with your products or services.

You might be thinking – but isn’t that why surveys and focus groups are used? That’s true. However, what sets the VoC concept apart is the sheer amount of data collected and how that information is ultimately used. As a business owner, for example, you might also look at your company’s reviews on third-party sites, blog comments, and call center recordings to better understand how your customers really feel about your brand. This allows you to gain a more nuanced understanding and course correct so that you can provide customers with a better overall experience.

How Voice of the Customer research can help your business

When executed properly, a VoC program can provide you with real-time insights throughout the entire customer journey – from initial awareness to the final sale. From these insights, you can start identifying opportunities to resolve any challenges that customers may experience when shopping with your business. Likewise, you can begin to identify customer behaviors that will help you build your brand.

For example, discovering why customers refer friends and family your way allows you to start highlighting those selling points in your ad copy. Or, maybe you learn that people love your products but dislike your eCommerce store’s checkout process. This insight is something you can fix with a little web design. In fact, you’ll likely discover many hidden ways to improve the customer experience once you start asking for feedback.

Designing a robust VoC program also allows you to better manage your online reputation. The more feedback you collect, the easier it becomes to get ahead of complaints or address bad reviews before they’ve had time to grow into much larger problems.

Your customers are talking about your business. They have thoughts and complaints. Establishing Voice of the Customer goals allows you to hear what they have to say. The more Voice of the Customer research you conduct, the easier it becomes to align your business’s products, services, and delivery with their actual needs instead of their perceived ones.

What is a VoC program and how do you create one?

If you’re like most small business owners, you probably already collect feedback from your customers – maybe via email, surveys, or comment cards. Perhaps you also safeguard your online reputation by reading and responding to every negative review you come across.

With a VoC program in place, all of the above (and more) become systematized.

Step 1: Get everyone on board

The process starts with having everyone on your team understand what the Voice of the Customer concept is and why it matters. Universal buy-in is essential, since your employees interface with customers every day. This puts your staff in an ideal position to collect the type of information you need regarding expectations, dislikes, preferences, etc.

Step 2: Start collecting data

The next component involves systematically gathering as much customer data as possible with the express purpose of analyzing this information and putting it to use. Ideally, this collection should happen at key steps throughout the buying cycle, including from repeat customers.

Many VoC programs rely on a mix of qualitative and quantitative feedback collected from multiple channels. We’ve already discussed surveys, forums, and comment cards, but don’t overlook the importance of feedback from sources such as:

  • Live chat discussions
  • Call center transcripts
  • Customer support tickets and emails
  • Website heatmaps and user recordings
  • Usability tests
  • Social media

Just remember that data collection isn’t a destination. It’s an ongoing process. That’s because your customers are always talking. You should always have tools and systems in place to hear what they’re saying.

Step 3: Standardize your data

Whatever tools you use, the data itself must be standardized. Doing so allows you to spot trends that you can then turn into actionable insights. There are standalone VoC solutions that can help you measure and quantify the data you collect. At Clover, our POS solutions can help automate and manage many of the most time-consuming aspects of customer feedback collection.

For example, many small business owners use our customer engagement tools to promote two-way dialogue – as opposed to the one-way communication normally associated with traditional marketing. Clover Feedback enables you to connect with your customers directly and learn what they are thinking.

Best of all, our POS devices come with detailed reporting so that you can quickly identify trends like best-sellers, busiest times of day, and employee performance. Since all of our POS solutions are cloud-based, you can access your analytics from anywhere – including in the store, at home, or in the field.

A true Voice of the Customer strategy requires using every channel at your disposal to capture how your customers feel about your brand. Then, you use this information to improve the customer experience, rather than simply reacting to new problems as they arise.

If you have questions about how our POS solutions can help you capture customer feedback, contact a Clover Business Consultant today.