How to Build a Strong Voice of the Customer (VoC) Program

Voice of Customer
Companies can build a strong Voice of the Customer program by following a few simple steps, as outlined in this article. Learn about the importance of a VoC program, how it differs from other customer analytics programs, and the different analytics tools that will help you gather the right insights to make product decisions.
The top-down approach to running businesses is now changing, as management realizes that the decision-making process starts by receiving input from the lower levels of the hierarchy. Simultaneously, businesses are realizing the importance of listening to the needs of the customers during and after the product development phase. Giving an ear to the voices of customers through their opinions and feedback on public and private channels can help in putting a stop to multiple cycles of product reiterations.
This is where programs such as the Voice of the Customer (VoC) come into play. The VoC program introduces systematic ways of responding to customer feedback throughout the development cycle.
The “Voice of the Customer”, or “Customer Voice”, is a program for collecting and acting upon customer feedback on the product/s or service/s of an organization.
The program’s goal is to listen to the concerns of customers and address them through a well-planned cross-organizational endeavor. It involves the top and bottom levels of the organization coming together to formulate a VoC framework to tackle the gaps in customer communication and redressal.

The Importance of the Voice of the Customer

The primitive methods of selling, solely based on current demands and existing production, limit organizations in terms of upscaling and innovation. Contrarily, businesses need to urgently take on a customer-centric approach to solving business problems for the modern customer.
The VoC program is thus closely tied to Customer Experience (CX) and Customer Success (CS) ventures that are, needless to say, at the core of any product company that aims to evolve constantly.
According to IDC’s CIO Agenda Predictions of 2021,
“By 2025, 80% of CIOs alongside LOBs will implement intelligent capabilities to sense, learn, and predict changing customer behaviors, enabling exclusive customer experiences for engagement and loyalty.”
Web analytics and product intelligence tools are important assets that help customer experience initiatives. In the face of tough industrial competition and rising customer needs, customer experiences should drive the majority of product innovation. As customer loyalty amounts to a major share of repeat revenue for organizations, customer impact will be a serious measure of company success.
However, VoC differs from CX and CS in that it targets customer concerns from individual users across any spectrum of communication channels, whether inbound or outbound. So, let us look at the best methods to create a great VoC program.

The 4 Stages in Creating a Strong VoC Program

There are several steps involved in making a VoC program that will transform your customer success processes into a well-planned, company-wide initiative. For that, you need a stage-by-stage program implementation, which we will summarize into four concise steps, namely, group, listen, analyze, and act.
Strong VoC Program

Group

The VoC program is not an individual effort or a singular team effort. Therefore, the first step toward establishing the program is to instill within the organization a culture that values customer feedback. Spreading knowledge about the importance of customer retention through the VoC program can motivate teams to come together and find common solutions.
Program leaders that are strong believers in the profits of a VoC program can push other team members to be involved in delivering responses. Find these program advocates from all departments to collaborate in collecting, analyzing, and finding solutions that will address customer concerns and sentiments.
The very idea of seeking out comments and reactions, and finding the appropriate responses may not evoke unilateral agreement to start with. Dealing with negative sentiments is, without a doubt, a painful task. Yet, for that very reason, a collective effort will erase the unnecessary pressure of resolving issues from one particular team.
As a result, businesses can stay their ground in tackling problems and welcome criticisms along with positive reviews.

Listen

Once a strong foundation for the Voice of the Customer program has been laid, with customer response enthusiasts from across the board, it is time to identify the right venues and audiences for interaction.
The venues and channels need to be prioritized by listing all the touchpoints through which the customers react to or interact with your brand or product. Direct and indirect business channels, such as company-owned profiles and general forums, will need to be included in this list. Out of this, the platform that gets the most queries warrants the most attention.
On the other hand, finding the right audience is about identifying the most pressing questions and concerns. It is important to gather the views of the customer about a product through various methods, such as:

Analyze

Proper information collection through the listening process will help acquire a good set of data from which teams can gather deeper insights. The extent and success of the analysis depend on how well the organization has defined its user segments and user personas.
Backtracking on how a particular segment of users interact with your product and support team can tell you a lot about where the root of a problem could be. It can also give you valuable insight into what issues need to be prioritized.
It must be noted, however, that the more responsive a business is to each individual concern, the better its chances of creating a solid brand value. Keep in mind, though, that simply responding to queries will not cut it, but taking actions that are both promotional and remedial is what will make VoC programs successful.

Act

Now it is time to formulate an action plan in which every team member can participate. Generally, businesses have to formulate a standard VoC playbook from which teams can find appropriate responses to reviews and tickets. This is done by analyzing common trends in customer behavior.
When queries arise, the first-response teams will have to initiate the process of resolution by choosing a reply from the standard playbook. Meanwhile, the quest for a solution to the problem begins by posting the query to the concerned departments. Specific and complicated queries need to be addressed differently by avoiding such generic intimation. In such cases, customers can be encouraged to write a direct query through email, where an ad-hoc analysis from teams will help find the best answer.
If customers are raising repeat concerns about a particular feature or service, then it may be time to take further action through escalation. These could be valuable inputs that can propel product changes, improving business performance and ratings.
In the end, customer satisfaction is measured by how the VoC program has impacted the overall ratings and reviews for your product and brand.
Are you interested in knowing more about how product analytics and customer analytics features can improve business performances? Check out more Countly articles from our blog and academy!
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