16.7.2021

What is Voice of the Customer (VoC)?

Written by Aine Hendron

voc

In today’s hyper-competitive market, where large, affordable online marketplaces and copy-cat entrepreneurs are extremely common, keeping customers happy has never been more important. 

It’s well known that consumers are spoilt for choice when accessing products and services, but how do you ensure they buy from your business and not from your competitors?

The answer lies in voice of customer insights. 

Why is VoC important?

Voice of the customer, or VoC, is a combination of customer feedback, customer opinions and general views of your brand and product. 

Understanding the customer’s perspective is critical for making improvements to the overall customer journey. Taking an impartial view can be difficult when you are a part of the process and understand why things are done a certain way, or the thinking behind specific actions. 

Yet, gathering VoC information goes beyond simply gathering some feedback. It’s what businesses do with the feedback that’s important. 

Listening to opinions and implementing suggestions can have a monumental impact on the overall success of a business. It leads to reduced employee turnover, fewer complaints, and better customer satisfaction.

Digital demand and revenue consultants, Arke, conducted a survey to examine the impact of VoC research with several industry leaders and some other mid-size businesses. They found that by tuning in to the voice of the customer, these businesses unlocked fantastic performance improvements.

Customer retention rates improved by:

87% in best-in-class businesses

56% in all other businesses

Employee engagement rates up by:

37.2% in best-in-class businesses

9.5% in all others

Decrease in customer service costs:

23.6% in best-in-class companies

1.2% in all others [1]

Reduced customer service costs allows companies to redirect money into profitable channels, such as more robust customer relationship management, point of sale (POS) technology, and product and service development.

Get the most from your VoC feedback

Frank Murdock of the American Society for Quality notes that the worst way to gather voice of the customer information is to continue business as usual, wait for something to go wrong, and customers complain about it. Instead, companies should be proactive in gathering information and collecting customer feedback. 

Murdock also notes that VoC cannot be used to manage or control any type of process. That is, that feedback cannot be blindly followed, and not every customer request should be fulfilled. 

Instead, VoC needs to be translated into customer-specific information, targets, and technical requirements. Feedback should be accepted, integrated into company processes, and explained to staff in a way they can understand [2]. 

How to gather VoC information

When gathering VoC information, you’ll be aiming to answer some of the following questions:

  • Why do your customers need you?
  • What can you do to help your customers?
  • What are your customers looking for?
  • What are customers’ interests and behavioral patterns?

You can find all of this out by creating a strong voice of the customer program. To do this, you’ll need:

  • An objective and overarching question, e.g., Why has customer turnover rate increased in the last quarter? Or, Why do customers feel loyal to our brand, and how can we increase customer loyalty overall?
  • A method of collecting and compiling data
  • Detailed customer responses and feedback
  • A team that can translate feedback into actionable steps [3]

In order to get a better response rate, you might want to incentivise customers to respond by offering gift cards or extra loyalty points for those who respond. 

Create a customer satisfaction survey

One method of gathering customer data is by creating a satisfaction survey. Surveys help businesses gain understanding around issues that negatively affect customer retention. If the feedback repeatedly highlights specific issues, then you have a clear insight into what you need to improve. While negative feedback can be disheartening to read, it should be used constructively to uncover and correct shortcomings and improve your customers’ experience with your company.

Social media and live chat

Part of your VoC program should allow you to have a two-way conversation with customers where they can directly voice issues, and your business can provide immediate solutions. This shouldn’t be an exercise in dismissing complaints, but rather gauging a better understanding of how accessible your information and services are for customers. 

These conversations should all be kept for training and quality improvement purposes, so you can return to them later and analyse feedback properly.  Allow customers to be fully honest and encourage direct constructive feedback, letting them know that it’s with the intention of improving operations and creating a more personalised experience for them. This also allows your brand to build a relationship with a customer by asking for unfiltered opinion, and acting on their response, which should lead to better brand loyalty.

Focus groups

This is where a small group of customers gather in a room and are asked to share their perceptions, beliefs, and opinions about your product or service. You may prompt participants with specific questions every now and again, but the main purpose is to encourage a candid, relevant conversation among consumers. The conversation should unveil customer expectations and their prioritization of needs. 

Businesses may also ask participants to fill in an in-person survey. This way, they can elaborate fully on points and get answers to specific problems that they face immediately.

Advance your business with Epos Now

Adopt a dedicated point of sale (POS) system, whether you run a hospitality or a retail business. Our POS technology provides detailed reports for businesses on product performance, allowing you to see what’s selling and what’s not, saving you research time and money. 

Epos Now’s POS also provides:

  • Integration with marketing apps for seamless customer communication and personalised, targeted campaigns. 
  • Custom loyalty programs, special discounts and limited-time offers, so you can give back to your loyal patrons and improve interaction. 
  • Detailed time-based reports on sales and inventory, allowing you to detect trends, and adjust to the needs of your customers.
  • Advanced, real-time inventory management with optional automatic stock purchasing, meaning you will never sell out of your most in-demand items. 

For more information or to get started with Epos Now, request a callback from one of our expert advisors today. 

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