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  • Writer's pictureMike McGuirk

Two Must-Do’s When Collecting Voice of the Customer (VOC) Data

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

As more and more businesses begin to adopt customer-centric business practices, they are exploring new ways to capture customer feedback that will inform and inspire decision-making that leads to better customer experiences. Many companies have implemented Voice of the Customer (VOC) programs that allow them to do the following:

  • Listen to customers – Ongoing collection of timely and relevant customer data

  • Analyze customer feedback – Use of analytic techniques to turn data into customer insights and distribute these insights to the appropriate business stakeholders

  • Act on customer needs – Take action on the insights to improve customer-centric business practices (e.g., customer support, communications, product development, etc.)

  • Monitor VOC initiatives – Ongoing tracking of selected customer-focused KPI’s (e.g., Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer satisfaction, customer value, etc.) that measure the performance and business impact of the VOC activities

These VOC elements provide a great framework for the implementation of successful VOC programs. However, I want to share with you two very important considerations when you design and implement your VOC program.

#1: Listen to your customers using both unsolicited and solicited data collection approaches

Advancements in data processing technologies and social listening analytic platforms have made it possible to collect and analyze extremely large volumes of unstructured text and voice data that originates from the interactions consumers have with businesses every day. This unstructured data contains extremely valuable unsolicited feedback from consumers across many different communication channels such as social media posts, forums, reviews, blogs, as well as from customer-initiated interactions with companies (e.g., website chats, inbound support calls, email inquiries, etc.).

It is also very important to balance this unsolicited feedback with more traditional sources of solicited quantitative and qualitative customer feedback that is collected through surveys, consumer panels, and focus groups. A major advantage of solicited feedback is that companies have far greater control over which consumers are included, thus helping companies capture feedback that is representative of the audience they wish to study, although it could still be subject to response bias.

The ideal solution is to capture both unsolicited and solicited customer feedback. This will allow companies to get a much broader and deeper understanding of customers' attitudes, needs, and emotions that can inform the development of very targeted and impactful customer-focused business improvements. These improvements could range from better product return policies to improvements in self-service customer support videos to more transparent and easy to understand consumer data collection and usage policies.

#2: Incorporate customer feedback tracking mechanisms to avoid survey fatigue

I think we have all experienced the very annoying situation when you feel you’re being asked repeatedly for the same feedback from a brand or company. It is even more irritating if you take the time to provide thoughtful feedback and the company never takes any noticeable action. Therefore, it is critical that companies incorporate feedback collection and business response practices that reduce the likelihood your customers feel this feedback fatigue!

I believe this feeling of ‘feedback overload’ by customers can be minimized through customer feedback tracking and management. Back in the early-to mid 1990’s, when Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions became widely adopted by businesses, it was understood that campaign management solutions were necessary to optimize the frequency and cadence of marketing communications to customers, or risk communication overload or fatigue. That same mindset needs to be adopted in the era of Customer Experience Management (CEM). Companies need to put tracking mechanisms and policies in place that establish enterprise-wide rules that govern how often customers can be solicited for feedback. Although tracking will not be possible for purely anonymous customer feedback, many surveys, particularly those fielded via email, SMS, phone, or post-purchase website visits can be tracked at the individual level.

Not only will feedback tracking help control the irritating practice of asking the same customers for feedback over and over again, it will provide the means to monitor ‘customer-specific’ feedback trends and close-the-loop and recognize customers that have shared feedback with you multiple times.

I welcome your thoughts and comments. Please check out for additional blog posts on a variety of analytic topics. #analytics #customerexperience #voiceofthecustomer #marketing #socialmediaanalytics

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