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What Is Voice of the Customer (VoC)?

Voice of the customer (VoC) is whatever your customers have to say about your brand, whether directly to your staff or via your company’s surveys or indirectly via social media and other channels. VoC offers a clear picture of what your customers really think about your company, whether you’re listening or not. 

The customer is always right, so the popular saying goes. These days, the customer has their pick of platforms for expressing their feedback, concerns, wants, needs, thoughts, feelings, complaints, opinions, and sentiments. One need only spend a few minutes scrolling through social media and popular third-party review sites like Google to realize just how many feelings and thoughts the modern customer has.

The phrase the “voice of the customer” is used to encompass all of these data points across channels, such as customer surveys, social media, and customer support conversations, emails, chats, and more. 

Strategic brands capture and analyze VoC to get a clear picture of the overall customer experience and find ways to optimize it, driving key outcomes like customer satisfaction and retention.

4 Ways to Use VoC Data to Improve the Customer Experience

Customer insights can be extremely powerful, but, ultimately, they’re only effective if the data that’s gathered gets acted upon in a timely manner.

Here are four important ways to use voice of the customer data to improve upon the products and services your company offers to drive customer experiences and lifetime value.

#1: To drive product innovations

Brands often think to ask for customer feedback when they launch new products and services.

While that’s certainly helpful, the reality is, if the product has any staying power, customers will be interacting with it—and formulating opinions about it—long after it’s first released.

That’s why leading brands prioritize collecting and analyzing customer opinions on an ongoing basis.

Doing so helped Birchbox detect trends about its products and make updates to its products and policies to improve customer satisfaction.

#2: To increase customer service performance

It’s not just your imagination: Customers with negative experiences are more likely to be vocal than those with positive experiences.

As it so happens, researchers say that dissatisfied customers will discuss what happened with up to 16 other people, while satisfied customers may only tell up to nine other people. 

By asking customers for feedback in the moments that matter the most—immediately after they interact with your customer support team—you can give these individuals the opportunity to go straight to the source with their issues and your team the chance to make things right right away.

Use Voice of the Customer data to increase customer satisfaction.

Not only will you be able to solve these individual problems much faster than if you wait to read through negative reviews about your company on social media, you’ll also be able to quickly intervene to address underlying problems a whole lot faster via actionable customer-service training.

While old-fashioned QA audits and sessions leave much to desire and can delay keeping customer service agents informed about what they’re doing right and how they can get better at their jobs, real-time coaching has been found to improve increase customer service performance by 12%.

#3: As a foundation for creating a customer-centric culture

Stella Connect client Warby Parker centers its philosophy on building a customer-centric culture around empowering everyone within the organization to be able to listen to and respond to the voice of the customer.

To make that goal a reality, all front-line customer service agents have access to tools to be able to see customer feedback in real time and receive training on how to take action based on these customer comments.

This helps the team not only provide the best of experiences in the moment, they’re learning as they go to ensure they deliver even better experiences in the future. 

As part of the company’s customer service training program, Warby Parker agents have the chance to achieve professional growth based directly on their performance and the customer service feedback they personally receive.

#4: To meet your customers’ needs and increase LTV, profitability, and more

No company can survive without customers, and no business can survive for long without generally satisfied customers at that.

That’s why businesses prioritize collecting qualitative VoC insights alongside tracking and optimizing quantitative customer KPIs like CSAT, NPS, and more because these data points offer a measure of the overall health of the organization and how well customer needs are being met. 

At the end of the day, you’re not in the business of selling products or services—you’re in the business of keeping customers coming back. Voice of the customer data is a secret weapon for understanding what drives repeat business.

Take fast-food giant McDonald’s: By listening to VoC data and using these insights to launch its wildly popular all-day breakfast menu, the company saw a 5.7% increase in sales.

Capture the Voice of the Customer metrics that matter for your business.

How Leading Brands Use Customer Feedback to Optimize Experiences

From Mercedes-Benz to Postmates, top service-focused brands are partnering with Stella Connect to capture and leverage real-time customer feedback, a powerful form of VoC data, to understand how their customer service teams are performing, drive improvements, and deliver exceptional experiences for customers.

Request your demo today to see first hand how we help brands like Williams-Sonoma save $1M in headcount costs and experience-booking platform Peek.com boost their QA scores by 25%.