Voice of the Customer (VoC): Beginners Guide on How to Collect Data Plus Best Practices

Voice of the Customer (VoC): Beginners Guide on How to Collect Data Plus Best Practices

Are you just starting to put together a Voice of the Customer (VoC) program?

You’re in the right place.

There are a lot of both in-app tools and outside the app methods of collecting user sentiment data to understand what your users really want, we’re going to show you the best practices and which common mistakes to avoid.

Specifically, we’ll go over:

  • 9 different methods on how to collect Voice of the Customer data
  • 6 best practices to follow for a successful Voice of the Customer program
  • 6 mistakes to avoid when implementing a Voice of the Customer program

Let’s dive in!

Content:

TL;DR

  • VoC stands for Voice of the Customer
  • Voice of the Customer is a term that describes the process of collecting feedback and user sentiment on your customer’s experience with your product
  • VoC has a granular approach as it focuses on specific questions, looking for specific answers from specific users
  • collecting and analyzing VoC data, helps your Customer Success team improve the user onboarding process
  • hen looking to plan and implement a VoC program, you should be looking at the Six Sigma DMAIC methodology (DefineMeasureAnalyzeImproveControl)
  • collect in-app VoC data with product analytics, NPS surveys, microsurveys, and live-chat
  • collect VoC data outside the app with customer interviews, online surveys, social media listening, product reviews, customer website behavior

What is Voice of the Customer (VoC)?

Voice of the customer (VoC) is the term used to describe the process of collecting feedback and user sentiment on your customer’s experience with your product.

Compared to the classic customer feedback data collection, often done in an aggregate form (all users), a Voice of the Customer program shifts the focus to a more granular level(individual users).

What do you do with the data you collect?

The Voice of the Customer data collected is the foundation of your VoC program.

A Voice of the Customer program is more than just gathering data. VoC program looks into capturing, analyzing, and acting upon individual customer feedback.

It’s about listening to your customer’s voices, understanding their needs and wants, and acting upon them to improve your product.

Why is Voice of the Customer important? How Voice of the Customer impacts your business?

In short, the Voice of the Customer helps you build better relationships with your customers, which helps you improve your product.

Your goal should be to build a product that your users want to use because it brings value to them.

If your users are having a hard time using your product, you should make it a priority to find out why, and remove those obstacles. If they are truly happy with your product, you should be looking into what’s making them happy and do more of that.

By having a Voc program in place, you can connect with your users at every stage of their journey and address the problems they might have to improve their experience.

A VoC program will give you answers to questions like:

  • What are users trying to achieve by using your product?
  • What blocks users from achieving their goals?
  • What are users expecting your product to do?
  • What do users like about your product?
  • What do users dislike about your product?

A VoC program focuses on specific questions, looking for specific answers, from specific users. Have this granular type of user insights help your business improve the product in areas that matter most for the end-user.

What is Voice of Customer’s role in Customer Success?

The Customer Success team’s role is to close the gap between customer expectation and customer experience.

How can you help your customers achieve their outcomes if you don’t know what they are and what they struggle with while using your product?

Listening to the Voice of the Customer will help your Customer Success team understand the user’s individual needs better and offer personalized help.

Continuously collecting and analyzing VoC data, helps your Customer Success team improve the user onboarding process by identifying and addressing the most relevant pain points users have.

How to run a Voice of Customer Programs (What is Voice of the Customer Six Sigma process?)

Sending out surveys and talking to customers might sound easy. Before getting to that, you must first plan your Voice of the Customer program: what are you looking for and how are you going to get it?

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail

So how exactly do you plan a VoC program?

Think of how Scrum and Kanban are two of the most widely used methodologies when it comes to Agile software development.

When looking to plan and implement a VoC program, you should be looking at the Six Sigma DMAIC methodology (DefineMeasureAnalyzeImproveControl).

Voice of the Customer program using Six Sigma will have the following five stages:

1. Define:

    • What questions are you looking to answer
    • Which customer segment can give you those answer
    • What tactics/methods are you going to use to collect user feedback
    • When during the user journey is it best to ask those questions

2. Measure

    • Satisfaction metrics
    • User interaction with your outreach tactics

3. Analyze

    • Compare satisfaction metrics over time
    • Understand what tactics are working best and when
    • Translate the words of your customers into Critical-to-Quality statements by asking ”What does that mean?” until you uncover the real problem

4. Improve

    • Your VoC program tactics based on what works best
    • Your product by acting on the feedback you collected

5. Control

    • Build processes that solve the problems long term

It looks more complicated than it actually is.

The important thing to remember is to always understand the data you need to collect before your start collecting it.

This will dictate the best method to use to collect data and from whom. (be specific, remember?)

How do you get the Voice of the Customer: techniques/methods/tools to use for data collection

Knowing what questions to ask is the hardest part. But once you’re determined that, there are multiple ways to get answers from your users.

I’ve divided them into two categories depending on where the interaction with the customer happens:

  • In-app Voice of the Customer data collection methods
  • Outside the app Voice of the Customer data collection methods

How to collect Voice of the Customer data using in-app methods

#1 Collect VoC data by analyzing your user in-app behavior

Are you tracking how your users engage with your product across their journey?

Data is always the starting point of your VoC as it will tell you:

  • which are the right users to ask more in-depth questions
  • Where are the friction points and drop off points in the user journey
  • Which features are bringing the most value to your users

When it comes to in-app user journey analytics that is relevant to your Voice of the Customer program, you should look into behavioral analytics data such as:

  • feature usage
  • in-app events
  • in-app session time

Userpilot’s in-app feature tagging is an easy way to track how your users engage with your product and where friction points happen.

in-app-feature-usage-tracking

Tracking in-app feature usage with Userpilot

#2 Collect VoC data through Net Promoter Score surveys

Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys are a quick way of measuring how loyal and happy your customers are. No wonder this is one of the most used methods of collecting VoC data.

It’s easy to implement and doesn’t require much of your users’ attention and time, meaning they are more likely to engage and answer than they would with a long survey.

Through in-app NPS surveys you can collect both quantitative and qualitative Voice of the Customer data:

  • Quantitative VoC data by asking users to answer the question ”How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” on a scale of 0 to 10.

NPS-survey-userpilot

Quantitative NPS survey question in Userpilot
  • Qualitative VoC data by asking them to justify their answer right after they answered the first question

NPS-survey-qualitative-question-userpilot

Qualitative NPS survey question in Userpilot

Keep in mind that when using in-app data collection methods, timing is essential.

As I mentioned previously in this article, before asking a user to respond to your NPS survey, decide at which moment of the user journey is it best to ask the question ”How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend or colleague?”

#3 Collect VoC data with in-app microsurveys

In-app microsurveys are a faster and user-friendly way of getting VoC data compared to online surveys.

That’s because they are shorter and focus more on getting targeted feedback from your users.

Targeted and specific is the main purpose of a Voice of the Customer program.

You should use in-app microsurveys when looking to answer specific questions such as:

  • What is the user trying to achieve by using your product (outcome they are looking for)?

in-app-microsurvey-userpilot

In-app microsurvey Userpilot
  • How easy is it to use a feature and what’s the purpose of using it?
  • Is there anything missing in your app?

in-app-microsurvey-example-userpilot

In-app microsurvey Userpilot
  • Why is the user canceling their account?

account-cancelation-in-app-microsurvey

In-app microsurvey when canceling the account

#4 Collect VoC data through live in-app chat

Live Chat is not only for customer support and pre-sales. It’s a great way to capture the Voice of your Customer data in real-time.

Even though a bit time-consuming, you can get valuable qualitative data by looking at what your users say when interacting with your Sales and Support teams via in-app chat.

More than that, once the live interaction has ended it’s the best time to collect data through an NPS survey or a micro-survey. The user will remember all the details about the problem, the solutions you offered, and how satisfied they were with your support.

All of the above data VoC data collection methods can be implemented using Userpilot.

How to collect Voice of the Customer data using in-app methods

#1 Collect VoC data with customer interviews

Customer interviews are one of the oldest methods of collecting VoC data.

You should use them when looking to gather in-depth feedback on your product from a particular type of customer. Not only you will gather relevant data, but in-person interviews will help build trust between you and your customer.

They are the most time-consuming VoC data collection technic so before you begin, define which customers you should be interviewing and why.

A great way to do this is by looking at the in-app behavioral data we discussed above and identify the most active users as they are likely to accept to do an interview.

Create a segment of highly engaged users and reach out to them to request an interview.

user-segmentation-userpilot

User Segmentation in Userpilot

#2 Collect VoC data with external online surveys

While in-app microsurveys are more user-orientated and specific, online surveys are more general and can help you get an overall picture of the Voice of the Customer.

Online surveys take longer to set up and analyze so it’s not an easy-to-use method.

You should use online surveys when you’re trying to understand how customer’s needs and expectations of your product change over time and what’s influencing it.

Online surveys are best for taking the pulse of your audience on a regular basis, but I wouldn’t advise you to use them more than once per year. Replace them with contextual in-app microsurveys and you will get more relevant data for your VoC program.

#3 Collect VoC data through social media listening

Social media listening is another great way to collect feedback.

Social media channels are where customers voice their opinion about your product, and potential customers listen and ask for recommendations.

Tracking brand mentions across social media channels will help you listen to what your customers are saying and join the conversation.

Linkedin notifications even tell you when someone mentioned your company and invite you to ”Join the conversation”.

social-media-notification

Source: Userpilot Linkedin account notification

It can be a bit challenging to gather VoC data from social media platforms. But it’s worth including this method here as this is the type of data you don’t have to ask customers to provide, making it that more valuable.

#5 Collect VoC data by analyzing online customer product reviews

Similar to the VoC data collected on social media, online customer product reviews will provide a lot of insights into what your customers think about your product.

Both negative and positive.

Compared to social media data you usually have to ask customers to leave a product review and direct them to the website where they can do so.

Commonly used product review websites are Capterra, G2 Crowd, or TrustPilot. These websites track both a score (quantitative review) and a qualitative review divided into pro’s and con’s sections.

capterra-userspilot

Captera-Userpilot-review

qualitative-review-capterra-userpilot

Qualitative review of Userpilot

#5 Collect VoC data by analyzing your customer website behavior

Voice of the Customer doesn’t need to be always spoken. User’s actions can say a lot too and you can gather that insight by analyzing user behavior on your website.

Using heat map tools such as Hotjar, you can see what type of information your users are most looking at, what buttons do they click and what type of content do they need before deciding to click the buy now button.

Hotjar can also be used to record in-app user sessions and used to get to the bottom of a problem much faster than just looking at in-app feature usage.

Voice of the customer best practices you should implement

VoC best practice #1: Think of it as a continuous process (your listening program must be always-on)

If a customer is happy today, doesn’t mean he can’t experience a bad interaction with your product tomorrow.

By constantly gathering feedback and interacting with your customers, you make sure you stay connected to their wants and needs, making it easier to react and respond promptly.

VoC best practice #2: Combine feedback from both in-app and outside of app sources

Levels of insights vary depending on the method you choose when collecting VoC data.

The best practice is to always use different methods of collecting data that complement each other. This way you can get more granular and in-depth feedback.

For example, use an NPS in-app survey then follow up via email.

Plus, customers will always be sharing what they think about your product even when you don’t ask them to. Not listening to their voice on multiple channels can cause you to miss critical information that can affect your product retention.

VoC best practice #3: Ask for feedback at every stage of the user journey

Gathering Voice of the Customer data isn’t something you do once a year or a quarter.

And most importantly, it shouldn’t be time-based. Look at collecting VoC data in a contextual way across the user journey.

Key points when you should be asking for feedback are:

  • during onboarding
  • after the user interacts with a new feature
  • after interacting with your CS or support department
  • when the customer reaches a predefined milestone in the user journey
  • when the user behavior changes: becoming more engaged in using your product or signaling they might be churning

VoC best practice #4: Share the data between departments

Having a Voice of the Customer program is meant to help improve customer experience.

If the data you collect is not shared across your company, how can you get the big picture on what your users think about your product?

More so, every time a user interacts with a member of your team they shouldn’t be repeating the same problem just because they got assigned to a different team member.

Sharing insight between departments will help you understand the problem better and improve customer experience and satisfaction.

VoC best practice #5: Respond to customer feedback

You will probably not be able to incorporate every feedback you get into your product, but it’s important that your customer feels their opinion is being listened to.

Acknowledge that you listened and tell them what you will do about it. This way you will be setting the proper expectations and the customers will be more likely to share feedback with you in the future.

feedback-response-example

Feedback response example

VoC best practice #6: Close the feedback loop ( act on the feedback)

Acknowledging and responding to feedback is the first step, but there’s no point in collecting the Voice of the Customer if you don’t act upon it.

Are your users complaining about bugs in the product? Do they desperately want a new feature? Adjusting your product map to take feedback into account will show your users that you value their feedback.

Don’t forget to keep them informed on the progress too.

Voice of the Customer mistakes you should avoid

I guess I shouldn’t mention that not following the best practices discussed above is the number one mistake.

Let’s take a look at some of the other most common ones you should avoid.

VoC mistake #1 Not being specific enough on what data you want to collect

Have you ever been asked to fill in a survey that seemed to be asking all the possible questions out there?

Not only that’s annoying to your users, but it will also not give you any relevant information that you can act upon.

Forget long and boring surveys where you usually have to incentivize users to fill them in and start using more targeted microsurveys. You can easily build them in Userpilot.

VoC mistake #2: Not looking at all relevant metrics

Direct qualitative and quantitative feedback is an essential part of your VoC.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking at your user’s actions and gather insights from there. Do not underestimate the valuable voice of the customer hidden behind product usage metrics.

benefits-product-usage-analytics

Benefits of Product Usage Analytics

VoC mistake #3: Not translating customer statement into Critical-to-Quality characteristics (CTQ’s)

Customer feedback is often expressed using comments like ”very good customer service”.

Does that say much?

A common mistake when it comes to analyzing VoC data is failing to translate your customer’s statements into CTQ characteristics.

You should:

  • go back to the customer and dig deeper into what they meant by the statement (use different methods of collecting VoC data and see which brings the best results)
  • look into how that user engages with your product and team and see if you can spot patterns that could trigger a specific statement (constantly asking ”what does that mean” or ”why” can help focus on getting the relevant information)

VoC mistake #4: Focusing too much on asking and forgetting about listening

It’s called the voice of the customer for a reason.

You are meant to listen to the customer’s voice first, wherever that might be: social media, reviews, in-app behavior, etc.

Don’t rely on just asking without listening first. In other words, always be contextual when asking your users for feedback.

There’s nothing worse than getting a feedback request as a user when you haven’t even used the product properly.

VoC mistake #5: Framing the answers

The answers you get will be influenced by the way you ask questions.

A common mistake when gathering VoC data is asking yes or no questions, or including the answer in the question.

Always try to be unbiased and ask as many open questions as possible, giving your users a chance to be honest and critical at the same time.

Asking ‘‘why” after asking for an NPS score will give you a more honest answer that you can act upon, rather than asking ”what do you like best about us”.

VoC mistake #6: Not including VoCe ( Voice of the Customer through the Employee)

Last but not least, don’t forget about collecting internal feedback. Voice of the Customer can sometimes best be heard from the people who interact with them daily.

Make sure to create an easy way for employees to share insights between departments.

Userpilot uses a #customersuccess Slack channel to keep insight in one place and enable teams to act on them.

slack-channel

Userpilot internal communication

Wrapping-up

If you’ve reached the end of this article you should be ready to start collecting your Voice of the Customer data.

Be sure to make a checklist of best practices and mistakes to avoid so you can always make sure you are on the right track.

Brainstorm with your team a list of questions you need insights on and start collecting data using in-app or outside the app methods.

If you’re looking for a tool to help you with the in-app methods discussed in this article (microsurveys and NPS surveys) Userpilot can help, get a free demo today!

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