A study by Temkin Group revealed that only 57% of large North American firms have a formalized Voice of Customer (Voc) program. The premise of Voice of Customer is to collect and analyze customer data to transform an organization into a truly customer-centric operation. VoC is a market research technique designed to help a company better understand customers’ wants and needs and to be able to prioritize these in terms of importance and satisfaction with current alternatives in order to positively affect the customer experience. When executed well, an effective VoC program enables you to acquire business insight about customers and what is important to them.

Design Your Voice of Customer Research to Address These Questions

problem solving voice of the customer experience

We find the best VoC studies are designed to learn the answers to these kinds of questions:

  1. What are your customers saying about your company, brand, product/service? And where are they saying it?
  2. How do your customers feel about your company, brand, product/service? And how does this affect their intent to buy?
  3. Why do they feel the way they do and what is the root cause of this sentiment?
  4. Are their differences among different types of customers and if so, what are they and which customer segments?
  5. Who are what influences your customers’ perceptions and feelings?
  6. What are your customers needs, wants, desires and intentions and how do these relate to your company, brand, products/services?
  7. What are your customers saying and feelings about your competitors and what are their perceptions of your competitors and how well do the competitors meet their needs, wants, and desires?

While many VoC studies are qualitative in nature, ideally these studies should consist of both qualitative and quantitative research steps. VoC research is typically more than a customer satisfaction study which is designed to measure how an organization’s products and services meet or surpass customer expectations.

Make Your Voice of Customer Research Actionable

VoC research should enable you to make customer-focused decisions.

To succeed VoC studies, you need a minimum of two things:

  1.  a robust voice of the customer (VoC) process
  2.  to be implemented with people who are properly trained
How to design a good voice of customer study
Voice of Customer Research Needs to be Actionable

Reconcile the Many Voices

One of the challenges of analyzing the results of a VoC study is that customer voices are diverse.  There are multiple customer voices for most organizations, even those that work in only one market, such as the voice of the procuring organization, the voice of the user, and the voice of the supporting organization. These diverse voices must be considered, reconciled and balanced during the analysis of the study. One technique to accomplish this is to set in advance of the study different priority ratings associated with each customer voice.

This often raises the question as to how many customers do we need to talk with? While there is no hard and fast rule because the number will depend upon the complexity of the product, diversity of market, product use, and the sophistication of customers, experts in the field suggest that with 20 customers you can capture 90-95% of your customer needs. The first source of information if you are trying to address your current market should be current customers. But it is also a good idea to talk with prospective customers, especially if you hoping to address a new market. And we often recommend talking with competitors’ customers.  Use ranking and paired comparisons to aid to prioritizing customer needs.

Remember the ultimate objective of a VoC initiative is to understand how satisfying a particular need influences the purchase decision. The time is always right to capture the voice of your customer. Ready to commence your VOC study?

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