Obtaining and understanding Voice of the Customer
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There’s a good chance you’re not an undersea witch. Which means capturing voices isn’t your specialty. While we’re glad you’re not casting spells on unassuming mermaids, it’s vital for UX designers to understand the Voice of the Customer in order to create a better customer experience.
Read on to learn what Voice of the Customer (VoC) is, why it matters to businesses, and how you can best gather this important data.
What is Voice of the Customer?
Voice of the Customer is a method of gathering customers’ experiences with a business. When you engage in VoC research, you’re seeking to understand your customers’ perception of your brand (including the product and services you offer).
Using data gleaned from your VoC research, you may then identify areas for improvement and areas where there is a disconnect between what your customer wants from you and what they’re actually experiencing from your business. This data is crucial for creating and improving customer personas and making better decisions across the entire organization.
For instance, if you sell sports equipment online, you may conduct Voice of the Customer research and discover that your customers consider your brand a gym-only brand. But if you’ve been acting under the assumption that most of your customers are using this equipment for home workouts, there’s an obvious gap, and you’ll need to begin developing marketing that affirms your products are indeed geared for home use. Without conducting Voice of the Customer research, however, you would likely have not understood how your customers were perceiving your company and its products.
Why is Voice of the Customer important?
A company that completely understands the wants and needs of its customers is more poised to succeed than companies operating under assumptions alone.
In short, VoC impacts the bottom line. And we’re not talking about just providing improved customer service, though that could certainly be feedback that you receive from your Voice of the Customer research. Rather, VoC is about understanding your customers so you can better meet their expectations at every level of your organization.
This exercise includes many benefits:
- You’ll be able to identify your customers’ needs, wants, and expectations.
- You’ll be able to prioritize improvements that must be made to your product and service.
- You’ll be able to increase customer retention.
- You’ll garner new ideas for creative solutions.
- You’ll see red flags for potential crises before they occur.
- You’ll have better insights into how effective your marketing strategies are.
- You’ll be able to make better decisions based on learnings gathered from your VoC research.
These are valuable benefits that have tremendous potential in elevating your brand, solidifying your place in the marketplace, and ultimately creating better brand recognition that garners loyal customers.
How to obtain Voice of the Customer data
Customer research can initially seem overwhelming, especially when you have a lot of customers and when reaching out to strangers could very well be your worst nightmare.
Introverts rejoice: there’s more than one way to gather your VoC. Here are the most common methods:
1. Customer interviews
Ok, we lied: Sometimes you do have to talk to people in person. But the insights gained are so worth it. You’ll be able to meet one on one with your customers (or those who choose not to be your customers) and hear feedback in their own words. Sometimes they’ll present you with solutions you never would have thought of, and that’s invaluable.
2. On-site customer surveys
Inviting customers on-site can be a great opportunity for your entire team to participate in learning about your customers. On-site customer surveys are also a great opportunity for you to gather feedback on a potential solution before releasing it to your wider customer base.
Due to COVID-19 on-site surveys should be canceled or postponed until it is safe to meet in person again.
3. Live chat
Live chats are becoming increasingly integrated into company websites, and many people feel more comfortable utilizing a chatbot than speaking to someone over the phone. Chat logs can be shared easily and it’s easier to utilize translators to overcome potential language barriers.
4. Social media
Meet your customers where they’re at: social media. From conducting formal surveys through social media platforms to asking a question through your account and gathering the answers, social media allows for many different methods of gathering your customers’ voice.
5. Net Promoter Score
The likelihood of your customers referring your brand to others is a Net Promoter Score, and it can reflect the health of your brand. Net Promoter Scores are a way to understand brand perception, and they can be consulted regularly to understand if implemented solutions and processes are helping or harming your company.
6. Feedback forms
If you’ve ever visited an Apple store to buy a product or have a product repaired, you’ll receive an email after your visit inviting you to provide feedback on the service you received. Feedback forms like these are a common tool of quickly gathering information from customers.
Voice of the Customer best practices
By now, you may be excited to start using the above methods to gather the VoC. Before you do, though, become familiar with best practices that can garner more useful and accurate data.
1. Don’t overcommit to one method
Gather feedback at various touchpoints to reach more customers and more feedback. You could use live chat, feedback forms, online reviews, and quick web surveys. Just don’t put all your eggs in one VoC basket.
Cross-departmental collaboration is key. Everyone should be in on gathering VoC, from customer support to marketing.
3. Lean on tools
There are many, many companies dedicated to helping you gathering VoC, so you don’t need to do all the heavy lifting. From incorporating a survey widget into your website to using templates for Net Promoter Score feedback, research the tools that would best fit your company’s customers.
4. Don’t just look at the data
If everything in your VoC research shows that your customer support is lackluster, don’t just sit with that knowledge: use your insights to make changes. That information should be catalyzing solutions. And the solutions should happen quickly and efficiently.
Be sensitive to the fact that time is money. Your customers are doing you a favor by giving you feedback on your brand, so you should reward them for that. Gift cards, discounts, and other incentives can be used to help gather more feedback from customers and also to thank customers for the feedback they’ve provided.
More and more data points to the value of personalization. Abandon the bulk emails in favor of personalized, more human-sounding emails, for instance. If you’d like quick feedback after a purchase, consider inviting your customer to provide feedback on the exact item they purchased.
7. Rinse and repeat
Your VoC isn’t static: As your customers evolve, so too will their feedback. Measure often to track changing behaviors and perception and keep ahead of any looming crises.
Performed correctly, VoC can yield critical insights that can take your brand to the next level. When your entire business makes it a priority to gather Voice of the Customer and then tweak as needed across the organization in response to that voice, you’ll likely experience a healthier, more resilient brand that is confident with its solutions and deeply understands its customers.
Once you’ve mastered the Voice of Customer it’s time to take your knowledge and apply it to creating effective user surveys in Lucidspark.Learn more
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