women with a microphone illustrating the voc the customer

A Guide to ‘Voice of the Customer’ Research & Analysis

You simply cannot create great things in a vacuum. There needs to be a certain level of input from outside sources and a whole flow of collaboration to get things moving. They often say Rome wasn’t built in a day, but equally, it wasn’t built but a single person. In fact, they’d be INCREDIBLY tired if they did.

So with that in mind, and with so many roles that can be filled, one of the most important points of creation and progress comes from the Voice of the Customer (VoC). The people who will, after everything has been prototyped, created, tweaked, and more, be the ones paying the money for your products. As we create and develop new ideas, we must ensure that they all have the customer in mind.

Sales Ian obviously listens to the customer… even if the rest of the team aren’t fully aware of it….

The VoC concept can be applied through every single development step. From initial ideation to design and build, right up until launch or later iterations, we must always keep them at the forefront of our minds. Asking yourself, ‘what would the customer think?’ or ‘how will this be received by them?’ can be great tools to help decide between options and challenges. Oh, and asking the customer directly, of course.

We need to ensure that their needs are met, that they are kept in mind, and that we are developing something fit for purpose – with them in mind every step. Without them, your product or service wouldn’t exist – the customer is king!

In this guide to VoC research and analysis, we will break down the overall concept of it, why it’s so important, and how to implement it into your business or project.

We’ll discuss the different ways to conduct customer feedback and research (both internally and externally) to get the best insights into what customers are looking for, as well as make sure you have a good way to monitor sentiment through specialist tools and more.

So, before you start creating things with no customer in mind, let’s get down to business.

The Ultimate Guide to VoC Research & Analysis

What is the Voice of the Customer?

The VoC is a term used to describe the collective feedback from customers about their experiences with a company’s product, service, or overall brand. The VoC helps companies understand what customers want and need from them to create better products and services that meet those needs. It can also help inform marketing strategies, customer service, and product development decisions.

An example of how VoC can work out in the wild is a movie theater conducting a survey of its customers, and one customer writes, “Your popcorn is so delicious, I’d eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I could!” This feedback could prompt the theater to consider offering a larger size of popcorn or perhaps even selling bags of popcorn for customers to take home.

By listening to the VoC, you get the answers handed to you on a platter. Some will be absolute hogwash, whereas some feedback will be helpful. The artistry in VoC research uses tools, experience, and know-how to determine which bits to heed.

Why is the Voice of the Customer important?

The VoC is crucial because it provides valuable insights to help businesses improve their products and services. By understanding what customers are looking for, companies can decide how to best meet those needs. This could mean creating a better product or service, adjusting pricing strategies, improving customer service, or even changing aspects of the overall brand. It’s so simple; every company should do it, but you’d be surprised at how few are.

The VoC can also help businesses gain a competitive advantage. With good-quality customer feedback, companies can differentiate themselves from their competition by determining what customers want and delivering it.

In addition, VoC can help companies better understand their target customer base and develop better relationships with their customers. This is key to developing a customer-centric approach which prioritizes your customer over product.

There are oodles more reasons why but the bottom line is it is very important, and if you are not implementing it into your business, you should be.

How to capture the Voice of the Customer?

You can’t just chase people about demanding answers. It’s not very polite and can get you into trouble. That being said, capturing the VoCr can be done in various ways, including surveys, focus groups, interviews, market research, and social media.

Companies may also use technology like tl;dv to help capture customer feedback quickly and accurately. By recording video calls with customers, you are not only able to capture their feedback in a conversational format but also get facial cues from them as well. This, along with AI-driven transcription and the ability to create simple, shareable reels of smart insights, can help you and your entire team better understand the customer experience.

tl;dv is particularly great for all of this and, as the team over at our.space says:

"tl;dv has made it super easy to make customer insights accessible for the whole team! Anyone can search, listen and watch super specific feedback from every customer touchpoint."

How is the Voice of the Customer measured?

The VoC is often measured by looking at metrics such as customer satisfaction, net promoter score (NPS), and customer lifetime value (CLV). Some companies can also use sentiment analysis to understand customers’ feelings about a product or service. This could include analyzing online reviews and social media posts for positive or negative language. By understanding customer sentiment, companies can adjust their approach accordingly and ensure they are providing the best experience possible.

Prepare for voice of the customer meme

How to analyze the Voice of the Customer?

Analyzing the VoC can be done manually by examining feedback from surveys and other sources, or it can be automated using tools like ChatGPT. Once the data has been collected, companies can use algorithms to identify patterns in customer feedback that may indicate areas for improvement. This could involve looking at common topics raised by customers, identifying customer needs, or finding out which features customers like and dislike. Companies can adjust their products and services by gaining insights into customer preferences.

What are some Voice of the Customer research techniques?

These techniques can take many forms, including surveys, interviews, focus groups, social media analysis, and customer feedback tools. Each has its own strengths and benefits but also its own drawbacks. The key to genuinely democratic research is to ensure that you are not heavily reliant on one technique but instead use a varied cross-section of techniques to capture customer feedback. This ensures you get the most comprehensive view of your customer base.

What is a Voice of the Customer survey?

A customer survey captures customer feedback about their experiences with a company or product. These surveys typically ask customers to rate their satisfaction with certain aspects of the company’s products or services. They may also include questions about their overall impressions and recommendations for improvement. These surveys can be conducted online, through email, or even over a video call.

By collecting customer feedback in this way, companies can gain valuable insight into their performance and identify improvement areas.

What is a Voice of the Customer interview?

A VoC interview is a technique that allows businesses to gather valuable feedback and insights from customers about their experiences with their products or services. During this interview, a company representative talks to customers one-on-one to learn more about their needs, preferences, and opinions. The interviewer can ask questions and follow up on responses to better understand the customer’s experience.

VoC interviews can be conducted in person or over a video call using a tool such as tl;dv to capture the insights and store them in a user interview repository for later reference. These interviews are typically semi-structured. This means that while there is a general list of questions, the interviewer can also ask follow-up questions based on the customer’s responses. The goal is to gather as much feedback and insights as possible.

How to improve Voice of the Customer reports?

Creating an effective VoC report ensures that the data is reliable and accurate. This means using multiple data sources to validate the insights you’re gathering from customers.

Once you have collected the data, it’s important to analyze it thoroughly to identify patterns, trends, and themes. Look for common threads in what customers say about your products or services. This can help you identify areas for improvement and opportunities for growth.

For example, you can confirm particular insights by taking survey responses and matching them up with your interviews. However, if the data received from each is totally different, this also gives you some critical insights – particularly into whether something has gone wrong from the planning stage. This could be how questions were formulated (Hello, Mom Test!) or the selection techniques. Whatever the outcome, it’s helpful to know.

Once analyzed, a VoC report should be easy to read and understand. Use charts, graphs, and tables to help visualize the data and make it more accessible to readers. This will help stakeholders quickly understand the most pressing issues and areas for improvement.

Focus on the most important insights and highlight them in the report. Allowing stakeholders to quickly understand the most pressing issues and improvement areas will make life much easier!
Use the report to inform decisions about product development, marketing strategies, and customer support. Share the report with relevant teams so that they can take action on the insights gained from the report.

Resources, Tools & Methodologies For Getting The Voice Of the Customer Right

While it would be nice to wave a magic wand and “ta-da,” it’s all ready to go, or you require little to no input that won’t work. In this section, we will break down some helpful places to get VoC tools and resources to get your VoC research right.

Voice of the Customer Surveys

VoC customer surveys are a great way to collect customer feedback on their experiences with your product or services. By conducting surveys, you can gather data that will help you better understand customer needs and preferences.

If you want to put together a survey, here are some of the most accessible tools to use on the market.

SurveyMonkey is a web-based survey platform that allows users to create professional surveys and collect data from their respondents. This platform is incredibly easy to use and costs just $25/per user a month. Also, you can use SurveyMonkey to source audiences to get responses.

Typeform is a user-friendly survey platform that allows users to easily create beautiful, engaging surveys. It also has a great selection of templates available to help you get started quickly. Typeform’s basic plan starts at $25/per month for the basic plan.

Google Surveys
While relatively basic, Google Surveys are free and leverage the super powerful Google Workspace services. It also feeds directly into your Google Workspace, meaning its easier to extract and find the data once collected.

Voice of the Customer Interviews

If you want to conduct more nuanced, qualitative research as part of the wider VoC collection, then video interview software is a great shout.

Zoom is a great tool to use for hosting video calls. It has a free version and features like screen sharing, chat, and audio recording, and it also allows for up to 100 participants on a call. There is a free tier, but it’s worth upgrading to the Pro plan at $14.99/month for longer meetings.

Google Meet
Google’s version of Zoom, Google Meet, has steadily increased in popularity. It’s incredibly easy to get started and doesn’t require any downloads. There are also an array of extensions and plug-ins that can be used alongside it. It’s also free to use with others on Google email addresses.

Whichever of the two above platforms you prefer, tl;dv works seamlessly with both. It’s a great tool to use for recording and transcribing customer interviews. It also offers various features like time-stamping, tagging, and keyword search. Every call and meeting can be stored on the cloud, and there are great AI-driven features such as the automatic summarize and magic clips where you can search by keywords, and tl;dv will create a highlight reel of ALL the meetings that mention those keywords. There is a free tier, and the pro plan costs just $20/month per user.

Voice of the Customer Analytics

Data data data. We love data. Data is the stuff that tells you what your customers REALLY think,. When all is said and done, collecting quantitative data of actions, clicks, beeps and boops will uncover a whole new side to what they are REALLY trying to say. This is the pure definition of the Voice of the Customer analysis.

Google Analytics
Nothing says more about your customers than their behavior on your website. While to the uninitiated, Google Analytics can seem a touch overwhelming, the data contained (when you learn how to read it) can open incredible narratives to your customers. Where are they coming from? How long are they staying? What pages do they leave from? Each one of these provides a little snippet into your customer’s world and mind. And, even better, it’s totally free!

Mixpanel is a product analytics platform that helps businesses analyze user behavior on their websites and mobile apps. It allows you to track user behavior across multiple devices, analyze user retention, and gain insights into user flows and funnels.
One of the key features of Mixpanel is its ability to track events and specific user actions, such as clicking a button or viewing a page, which can help businesses identify trends and patterns in user behavior. Mixpanel also provides tools for segmenting users based on various criteria, which allows businesses to target specific user groups with personalized messaging and marketing campaigns. While it does have a cost attached if you are measuring over 300 million events per month, the added data you get from Google Analytics can make a real difference.

Tableau is a data visualization platform that helps businesses turn raw data into interactive charts and reports. It’s user-friendly and includes a drag-and-drop interface and a range of customization options for stunning visualizations. Tableau can connect to multiple data sources, including spreadsheets, databases, and cloud services, and includes features for data preparation and advanced analytics, such as forecasting and trend analysis. By using Tableau, businesses can gain valuable insights into their operations and communicate those insights with others through interactive visualizations and reports. It starts at $70 per user/month for a creator, with additional licenses costing $15 up to $42 (both per user per month).

How to come up with Voice of the Customer Questions?

When coming up with questions to ask customers and conducting VoC user interviews, it is important to focus on understanding their needs, experiences, and expectations. 

Questions should be open-ended and focus on the customer’s journey or experience with a product or service. Additionally, surveys should be kept short and to the point, as customers are more likely to complete them if they don’t take too long. Questions should also be tailored to the specific industry and company’s goals.

Some examples of common VoC questions are:
• How would you rate our product/service?
• On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied were you with the customer service you received? Can you tell me why you gave it that score?
• If you could change only one thing about our product/service, what would it be?
• How frequently do you use our product/service?
• What motivated you to purchase our product/service, and how does it solve a particular problem you have?
• Have you used any other products/services similar to ours? If so, how do they compare to ours?
• What was the best thing about our product/service in your experience?

Voice of the Customer Best Practices

All of this is great, but with no consistency or boundaries, it will all be for nothing. Developing solid best practices provide a solid baseline to compare against. It also means that anybody coming into the team has a clear set of directives and “rules” that they can use to ensure consistency.

Here are 20 best practices for consideration when conducting VoC research and analysis:

  1. Define clear objectives and goals for the VoC program.
  2. Ensure executive buy-in and support for the program.
  3. Use a variety of feedback channels to gather customer insights.
  4. Incorporate both quantitative and qualitative feedback.
  5. Use a mix of structured and unstructured questions in surveys and interviews.
  6. Segment customers based on demographics, behavior, and other criteria for targeted feedback.
  7. Use customer feedback to drive product development and improvement.
  8. Make customer feedback an ongoing process, not just a one-time initiative.
  9. Respond to customer feedback promptly and with transparency.
  10. Close the loop by sharing feedback and actions taken with customers.
  11. Train employees to listen actively and respond appropriately to customer feedback.
  12. Use benchmarking and competitive analysis to contextualize customer feedback.
  13. Prioritize feedback based on impact and feasibility.
  14. Use data visualization tools to make insights more accessible.
  15. Make sure the VoC program aligns with other business functions such as sales and marketing.
  16. Use customer feedback to inform marketing messaging and customer communications.
  17. Continuously refine and improve the VoC program based on results and feedback.
  18. Use technology tools such as tl;dv to analyze verbal and non-verbal feedback,
  19. Regularly monitor and report on customer satisfaction and loyalty metrics.
  20. Celebrate wins and successes to maintain momentum and engagement.

AI & GPT3 for Voice of the Customer Research

In the past, all VoC research needed to be done manually. Whether that was handwriting transcriptions (hey, tl;dv will fix that problem! Goodbye hand cramps!) or painstakingly coming up with questions, or pouring over sheets and sheets of numbers and hand-drawn graphs. Yuk.

Thankfully AI, GPT-3, and GPT-4 will make that all a thing of the past. In fact, AI will revolutionize VoC research even further.

You can harness AI at the very start by defining your research goals and selecting the data sources you want to analyze.

Next, choose the right AI tools and algorithms to analyze the data, such as natural language processing and sentiment analysis. Use GPT-3 to generate open-ended questions and responses that can help you uncover new insights and perspectives from your customers.

Once you have your data, use AI and GPT-3 to analyze and interpret it. Some ways of doing this include:

  • Use clustering algorithms to group similar responses together and identify patterns in the data
  • Use topic modeling to identify the most common themes and topics in the responses
  • Use sentiment analysis to determine the overall sentiment of the responses.

Finally, use the insights gained from your research and customers success to improve your products, services, and customer experiences.

Voice of the Customer Templates

  1. https://safetyculture.com/checklists/voice-of-the-customer/ – This template is so easy to use; it’s like a hot knife through butter – smooth and effortless.
  2. https://miro.com/templates/voice-of-the-customer/ – This template is like a megaphone for your customers, amplifying their feedback to the max.
  3. https://www.typeform.com/templates/t/voice-of-the-customer-survey-template – This template is like a personal assistant, helping you easily gather and organize your customers’ feedback.
  4. https://monkeylearn.com/blog/voice-of-customer-template – This template is like a Swiss Army knife, packed with all the features you need to gather and analyze customer feedback.
  5. https://goleansixsigma.com/voc-translation-matrix – This template is like a party hat for your customers, giving them a chance to share their thoughts and opinions in a fun and engaging way.
  6. https://www.repustate.com/blog/voice-of-customer-template/ This template is like a secret decoder ring, helping you unlock the mysteries of your customers’ feedback.
  7. https://www.getguru.com/templates/voice-of-customer-voc – This template is like a superhero’s utility belt, equipping you with all the tools you need to save the day for your customers.

Voice of the Customer Training & Certification

VoC training is essential for your business strategy if you want to understand and meet the needs and expectations of your customers. Through VoC training programs, you and your employees will learn the necessary skills and techniques to gather, analyze, and act upon customer feedback, leading to improved products, services, and overall customer satisfaction.
These courses will often cover various topics, such as customer survey design, data collection, and analysis, customer journey mapping, and customer persona development.

Suppose you want to demonstrate your proficiency in VoC training. In that case, you can obtain certification from organizations such as the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI), the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), and the American Society for Quality (ASQ).

Putting It All Together

Mastering the Voice of the Customer is like mastering the art of flying a unicorn – it takes time and dedication, but once you’ve got it down, you’ll be soaring to new heights!

Ok, there are no unicorns but a happy customer is kind of the unicorn when it comes to product development.

So don’t just “listen” to your customers – hear them out and really get to the heart of what they are trying to tell you. They are literally giving you ALL the cheat codes and the stuff to defeat the boss level. Now you just have to do the work of piecing it all together and using it to your advantage.

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