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So, you want to know what customers think? (1) - How to set up a VoC Program

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

An important component of a customer experience strategy is Voice of the Customer. Voice of the Customer (VoC) describes your customer’s feedback about their experiences with and expectations for your products and/or services. It focuses on customer needs, expectations, understandings, and product improvement. VoC programmes have become more important over the years and are becoming an increasingly important part of organizations core business strategies. Capturing and acting on customer feedback is critical to understanding the customers wants and needs, determining areas of service or products that require improvement and to ascertain how to ensure customer loyalty going forward. 

VoC is one of the three voices of CX measurement, the other two being Voice of Employee and Voice of Process.

This series of blogs will focus on VoC and particularly how to set up a B2B VoC programme, what conditions should be established as a foundation, what to think about when considering the design, different kind of methods available for getting customer feedback, the difference between transactional and relational surveys, establishing the process (who does what and who is accountable?), the follow-up and what measures can be taken once the feedback has been received. I will not be discussing what kind of system should be used (e.g. NPS, CSAT, CES, etc.). There are enough discussions online about the merits of each of these systems. B2B and B2C are different is several aspects, not least because of the potential volume of feedback in B2C programmes. There are certain areas in which there is overlap, but my blogs will focus on the B2B case.

Before you start

Before starting with a VoC programme, the following things should be considered for starters.

1) Is your C-suite or senior management on board with a VoC programme? If you are lucky, the idea will have originated there and they will have a stake in ensuring that it will be successful. If you haven’t broached the subject with them yet, you will need to think about how to do this before you start. You will need to demonstrate how the process will work, what resources will be required and, probably most importantly in this circle of stakeholders, what the benefits will be. You will need be absolutely certain that you have their backing. They particularly need to understand that VoC programmes require patience and staying power. A VoC programme will not deliver results overnight.

2) What is it that you want to know exactly? When running a customer feedback programme, colleagues often came to me and asked to run a survey for their customers. My first question was “Why?”. Sometimes the answer I got was “Well we just want to know what our customers think of us”. That’s a bit too vague… Do you want a more general impression about the state of your relationship (relational) or do you want more specific information about particular touchpoints in your interactions with your customers (transactional)?

3) Who is going to be involved in the process? Who will decide who is being surveyed and who will follow up? What do you think the process will be for handling feedback after the initial follow up? What kind of data analysis will be carried out?

4) What do you have in mind from a communication perspective? An engaged workforce is critical for the long-term success of the programme. To achieve that engagement staff, have to understand why the programme is being launched and what the objectives are.

These are just some points that are worth pondering before you start getting serious. 

A good place to start is to commence putting together a project charter. It’s not necessary to complete it fully at this stage, but it will give you an overview in one place of the main details of the project you are about to embark on.

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