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Three "must haves" to find the Voice of the Customer



Getting key feedback from customers is nothing new. And in the height of the information age, it has become easier than ever to get the voice of your customer. However, not every Voice of the Customer (VoC) program is successful.


What is Voice of the Customer?


Voice of the Customer is a research program that captures the experience customers have during their entire customer journey with you. The feedback covers areas like product performance, company direction, and employee interaction and support. Voice of the Customer intends to return direct information from buyers back to your company to bridge the gaps between company perception of performance and actual results.


To create a successful voice of the customer program, you need to consider three important factors: what information you gather, how you get it, and how you use it.


What information to gather in a Voice of the Customer program


If you aren’t asking the right questions, you can’t expect to get the right answers. If you approach your voice of the customer program the wrong way, you’ll be left with a lot of “interesting but worthless” information.

Consider the key points that matter:

  • Do you understand your customers’ reasons for seeking an outside solution for their needs?

  • Do your customers believe you understand their needs?

  • Are you demonstrating the ability to solve that need?

  • What roadblocks appear on a consistent basis throughout your customer base?

  • Are you able to solve those roadblocks quickly?

  • What is the best practice to remove those roadblocks so they do not appear?

  • Do your customers consider you a valuable partner?

  • Would they recommend you to their peers?

  • What is the likelihood of doing future business with you?

This is just a skeleton of questions that can be the basis of an effective questionnaire.


How to gather Voice of the Customer data


A best practice for a quality voice of the customer program is gathering both qualitative and quantitative answers. Generally, it is helpful to do this is two stages: use a web survey to gather quantitative data and a phone interview for qualitative.

Using the web for quantitative and phones for qualitative lets the customer respond in the easiest way for each type of question. How many web surveys have open-ended fields for “additional comments” that go unanswered? People are less likely to type out long form explanations to their ratings scales.


Conversely, it can be clunky and difficult to ask for a series of criteria ratings over the phone.


Use both methods but use them for the appropriate data you are gathering.


You've got the information, now what?


One of the biggest travesties in competitive intelligence is keeping it locked away from the general company population. So much improvement can be realized by proactively distributing good information to all departments.


Get it out to the right people. If there are key nuggets that are more beneficial to one department over another, make an extra effort to get that intelligence to them. Make sure that the information goes to more than just leadership. Encourage departments heads to disseminate the data throughout their teams so that all are on the same page as to what is working and not working.


And finally, organize action committees to make sure that needed changes get implemented. Make this information into a culture of learning within your company. The more they get good intelligence and see that the company is using it to improve, the more they will be interested in participating with you.

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