When a company is still small, customer feedback is easy. You know your customers. You talk to them. Whenever your company grows, this gets harder. Contact with customers becomes more indirect and their feedback doesn't always reach the right person. That's exactly what a VOC program fixes. It's a program that helps you collect, analyse, and follow up on customer feedback, both in an ad hoc and structural way.
VOC or Voice of Customer means that you as a company gather and analyse the feedback, needs and preferences from your customers in order to improve your product, process or service. It's a type of market research that includes customer feedback analysis, in-depth interviews and etnographic research.
After the research is conducted, the insights are being transformed into prioritized projects, programs or backlog items that improve the customer experience. These are hierarchically ordered and based on actual customer feedback, hence the name 'Voice of the Customer'.
It typically is a practice that is popular in product development but has since been used to improve processes and services as well in bigger companies.
The voice of the customer methodology is built around a constant loop of gathered customer feedback, turning it into insights and improving your product based on it. This renewed iteration of your product will again lead to more feedback that you can categorize, analyse and turn into action points. So, in the end, you'll be repeating those steps:
The first thing you need to do in a Voice of Customer program is to actually gather feedback from your customers. Sounds logic, doesn't it? You can do this in a quantitative or qualitative way, but best practice is to combine those two approaches.
There are several techniques that can help you get customer feedback. For example there is
There are a lot of questions you can ask to your customers to sollicit feedback. In the end, you want to make it as open as possible so you are not steering your customer in any way. That being said, you can get the conversation going with some of those topics:
When you start intentionally gathering customer feedback, you'll quickly notice your next challenge: the volume of input that needs to be processed. For a good customer feedback analysis, it's important to centralize feedback and have an objective way to turn it into insights. That's why we believe at Hello Customer that linguistics and sentiment analysis is key in this process.
When your customer feedback is analysed and categorized, you need to turn it into insights. Which part of our offering is performing well and which part is not? Are there returning complaints and can we link them to a specific location, process or product?
In the end, it's all about root-cause analysis of both positive and negative customer feedback.
When receiving this amount of customer feedback, you need to get it categorised at scale so you can make sense of what most of your customers are actually talking about. Is it the food at your restaurant? Is it the friendliness of your broker agent? You need to drill down to define the root-cause of the feedback.
This is where the magic combination of artificial intelligence and linguistics comes in. No longer there is the need to have employees sift through tons and tons of feedback to categorize it.
Once you've succesfully captured the content and intent of the customer feedback, you can move on to adding the layer of sentiment analysis to your feedback. Were customers being positive or negative about your product? It's an important insight to have at scale, so you can start improving.
Sentiment Analysis checks whether the comment that was made was actually meant positive or negative. It can be done on all sorts of feedback from online customer reviews to customer support calls.
The strength of a VOC program lays in the ability to go full circle. If you're only gathering and analysing customer feedback in the end nothing will change and thus nothing will improve. The best practice is to get a cross-functional team together that combines people from Customer Service / Support, Operations, Sales and top-level management.
Those people should be informed about the VOC analysis that has happened and together take responsibility to make the changes and improvements, suggest by the voice of the customer, to actually happen.