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Voice of the Customer
Voice of the Customer
What is voice of the customer?
Voice of the customer (VOC) is a business concept that refers to the gathering and evaluation of feedback from customers concerning their experience with a company’s products or services. VOC is a vital tool for companies looking to gain insights into the needs, desires, and preferences of their customers, in order to utilise this information to enhance their offerings, services, and overall customer experience.
VOC can be measured by collating data from a diverse range of sources, including customer surveys, focus groups, online reviews, social media posts, and customer service communications. Organisations may also use tools such as sentiment analysis software to scrutinise online customer feedback and extract significant themes and emotions.
Voice of the Customer is a powerful mechanism that enables companies to apprehend their customers’ needs, wants, and preferences. By collecting and analysing customer feedback, companies can make informed decisions that result in improved products, services, and customer experiences. While VOC has some drawbacks, the benefits far exceed the costs, making it an indispensable tool for any enterprise looking to remain competitive in today’s customer-oriented economy.
Voice of the customer questions
If you’re to better understand your customers’ perceptions, experiences and expectations of your brand and make the improvements you need, its essential to ask the right voice of the customer questions. smart tip: get inspiration from our list of example VoC survey questions.
And given the many touchpoints that a customer can have with you, it’s vital that your VOC survey questions are relevant to that particular experience – whether that’s examining customer satisfaction with a support call, or an in-store experience, or exploring how easily they could navigate your company website or app.
Alongside capturing CX metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), companies looking to initiate a VOC program can also elicit responses to open-ended questions, to garner feedback on specific facets of the customer experience. Some instances of voice of customer questions might include:
For customers who have just completed a service or support call, voice of the customer questions could include:
How easy was it to get in touch with us today?
Overall, how would you rate the quality of your customer service experience today?
How well did we understand your questions and concerns?
VOC questions could be valuable when examining the in-store experience too. Suitable questions could include:
What motivated you to visit our store today?
How would you describe your experience in our store?
How likely are you to recommend our store to your friends and family?
You might also capture customer opinion from those trying to get information or make purchases on your website. Sample questions could include:
Overall, how well did our website meet your needs?
How easy was it to find what you were looking for on our website?
What improvements would you like to see on our website?
Advantages and disadvantages of VOC
One of the primary benefits of VOC is that it enables companies to comprehend customer needs and preferences, thereby informing areas such as product development, marketing strategies, and customer service initiatives. By integrating customer feedback into decision-making processes, companies can create products and services that meet customer requirements, fostering brand loyalty, higher sales, and a more robust brand reputation.
VOC also has some limitations. Collecting and analysing customer feedback can be time-intensive and costly, and companies may encounter difficulties interpreting large quantities of VOC data. Moreover, some customers may express their opinions more openly than others, which means that VOC data may not represent the entire customer base.
Top five benefits you can achieve with an effective VOC survey program are:
When the changes you make are based on the real opinions and expectations of your customers, the satisfaction levels of your customers are likely to be far higher.
When you better you’re better informed about how your customers interact with, perceive and understand your brand, your resulting actions can help further improve customer loyalty and grow your market share.
Product development and innovation
By listening to your customers and knowing more about what your wider audience is saying, you’re better able to pick up on new trends and improve the development and innovation of new products.
Your customers are your best form of marketing, with happy customers more likely to shout from the rooftops about how satisfied they are. So, the better you nurture these relationships, the more efficient and successful your marketing efforts.
The more you listen to your customers, the more informed you will be about the effectiveness of your go-to-market strategies and able to make any necessary improvements you need to take.
Putting voice of customer to use
Today’s market leading organisations are utilising voice of the customer research to better understand the needs and requirements of customers on a deeper level. By implementing voice of the customer surveys throughout the customer journey organisations can understand what matters the most and what action needs to be taken to improve satisfaction, build loyalty and maximise profitability.
Through voice of customer surveys, VOC programs aim to collect more in-depth feedback about your customers’ needs, expectations and preferences enabling you to make product and service improvements.
VOC survey programs have gained real traction in recent years and are a fast-growing segment of many organisations’ core business strategy, particularly large brands in competitive marketplaces where customer experience is the key to driving more sales.
Voice of the customer software
Capture feedback and drive action
With customer journeys becoming increasingly complex, there are many factors that can influence an individual’s experience and perception of a brand. So, the ability to connect, collect and analyse customer feedback at every touchpoint is essential.
With voice of the customer software, you’re able to trigger VOC surveys across a variety of channels to capture feedback at the point of experience. These feedback loops enable you to consistently gather, analyse, and learn from customer data, in an ongoing process that facilitates continual improvement and drive positive change to product and services to better meet customer requirements.
VOC software can help you to:
- Identify areas for improvement along the customer journey
- Prioritise what customers want the most
- Prioritise improvement that will deliver a step change in customer experience
- Gather feedback from customers on new services, ideas and solutions
- Drive great customer loyalty and profitability
The 3 key voice of customer metrics:
There are a wide range of voice of the customer tools out there, but they all tend to revolve around capturing three key metrics which are:
Net Promoter Score (NPS):
By asking your customers the question: ‘How likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague’ and asking them to rate their response on a scale of 1 to 10, NPS can measure their overall satisfaction and loyalty to your brand.
Customer Effort Score (CES):
With CES customers are asked the question: ‘How easy was it to do X, Y or Z?, and told to rate this answer on a 5 point scale. The idea behind this is that, the easier it is for your customers to find what they are looking for or solve an issue with minimal effort, the happier and more brand loyal they are likely to be.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT):
By asking your customers how satisfied they were with a particular experience they had with your brand and rating that experience on a scale of 1 to 5, CSAT is an effective way of measuring your customers’ mood and overall satisfaction.
VOC survey programs – maximising feedback
From product, client or customer service satisfaction, to a support evaluation or buying experience, there can be many areas and touchpoints on a customers’ journey that you’ll want a greater insight into. If you’re to gain the greatest value from deploying a VOC survey program, it’s important you maximise feedback collection. Many organisations rely on just one or two channels but SmartSurvey provide you with an omnichannel feedback solution enabling you to collect feedback across many different channels to get the insight you need.
Below are some example channels that you could use as part of your Voice of the customer survey program.
Still one of the most popular survey distribution channels, email is a quick and effective way of following up with your customers for almost any customer experience scenario. It’s simple to personalise your message, embed your VOC survey link and distribute on masse.
Whether you’re solely an e-commerce business, or run an online business alongside your physical stores, triggering your VOC survey via a website pop up is an effective way to reach your digital customers. You can also place them at various strategic points across your site, so whether you’re after feedback about a new product launch, a fresh page layout or are after general views about your site, you’ll be covered.
This voice of the customer survey example can be especially effective when you’re trying to garner feedback from customers for their views on your products and brand experience following an in-store visit. They can be easily printed onto a range of material from product packaging, catalogues, menus, posters and even at the bottom of sales receipts, for a convenient and effective way of reaching out.
Given how attached modern consumers are to their mobile phone, this voice of customer survey example can be a great way of sending a VOC survey invitation. Its immediacy and ease of reach makes the SMS method ideal for virtually any scenario, from reaching out to a customer after they have had a product delivered, or another individual after they have completed a phone call with your customer support team.
VOC methodology and best practices
Voice of the customer methodology is all about the approach businesses take to better understand their customers’ needs and expectations. Businesses typically employ a variety of voice of the customer research techniques to extract vital information from customers, to ensure they are gaining the maximum value from their research.
While using online customer surveys across a range of channels and touchpoints remains the most effective way of collect VOC feedback, other techniques can be used to complement it.
Below are some VOC survey examples using different methods and channels:
- Customer Interviews:
Conducted face to face, by phone or through email, can be extremely valuable, with its more personal touch helping to build trust.
- Live chat:
Offers a quick and effective way of reaching out to customers in real-time, which can be followed up with a survey.
- Focus groups:
Where a group of eight to twelve customers are invited to meet with you to share their perceptions, beliefs, and opinions about your product or service.
- Dedicated feedback form on your website:
This should be something that every company with a website includes as standard.
- Online customer reviews:
From G2 and Crozdesk, to TrustPilot and Capterra, it’s easy to collect, review and analyse what people are saying you if you’re listed on these sites.
Whether it’s good or bad feedback, your VOC program can provide an early warning from your customers about the direction where you’re heading. So, it’s important to have the right voice of customer survey best practices in place, if you’re to be able to respond quickly and keep things on track.
5 best practices that help maximise your success
Connect feedback across channels
From your social media platforms, mobile comms and website, to your email, call centre and in-store operations. If you’re to collect feedback from everywhere your customers are, you need to have an omni-channel feedback tool in place to cover all these points and provide the accuracy and depth of customer insights you need to drive change in your customer experience.
Involve all your departments
For your VOC program to be successful, all your departments need to be involved in collecting, sharing and analysing the data and acting on the insights. Look for voice of the customer survey software with tools that allow your teams to collaborate effectively together.
Use smart dashboards and reports to keep the right people informed
Best in class voice of the customer software gets information to where it’s needed quickly and effectively. You’ll want a platform that makes it easy to analyse data in detail but also pass data into your preferred BI tool so you can distribute the insight to the right people across your entire organisation.
Include the voice of your employees
Your employees’ engagement levels will impact the quality of service you deliver to customers, so it’s also important to know what they’re thinking and feeling. Only when you’re surveying both your customers and employees’ experiences, will you get a complete picture of what is really going on in your business and why.
Have an ROI mindset
Any customer experience program needs to be able to deliver returns to the business. So, it’s essential to have an ROI mindset, focusing on everything from your measurements and metrics to the actions and improvements you put in place on what they’ll deliver back to your business.
Create a VOC survey with SmartSurvey
Get your VOC program up and running quickly and effectively:
- Use out-of-the-box CSAT and Net Promoter Score questions and automatic scoring
- Use voice of customer survey templates designed by experts, to capture the emotion and feelings that drive the customer experience
- Identify the context and sentiment behind customer feedback
Capture feedback from your customers across any channel, at any time:
- Collect online and offline feedback across the entire customer journey
- Automate in-the-moment feedback collection at key customer touchpoints
- Differentiate and understand feedback collected across all channels
Get straight to the insight that matters across the end-to-end customer experience:
- Analyse feedback from across the entire customer journey
- Visualise data and identify trends with out-of-the-box CX charts
- Drill down into qualitative data, sentiment analysis, and customer anecdotes
Voice of the customer templates
From what you should be asking your customers, to the types of questions you should be using, it can be daunting to know where to start when you’re trying to create your first survey. Why not get started quickly with a fully customisable VOC template.
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