Voice of the Customer (VoC) feedback sources

Today, business success depends on the development of customer-centric experiences. To that end, Voice of the Customer data delivers insights on individual and segment motivations which can help you measure and manage the customer experience.

What is the Voice of the Customer?

Many firms are, these days, developing Voice of the Customer programs with the intention to enhance the customer experience and propel business growth. VoC analytics is complimentary to Customer Journey analytics and can be used to evaluate the customer experience across touch-points and over time.

A successful implementation of a VoC program helps support a set of activities which comprise a closed-loop feedback process. More to the point, Voice of the Customer programs enable you to:

  • Listen to your customers’ feedback
  • Analyze the resulting data
  • Act upon the data to improve the customer experience, and
  • Monitor results

Voice of the Customer feedback sources

As VoC data has grown to become the backbone of the customer experience, it is important to have a clear idea of the different types of data you can gather when implementing a VoC program. There are three types of VoC data:

Direct feedback: This is the type of feedback your customers intend to provide your organization with. Direct VoC data refers to any touch-points in the customer journey whereby the customer expects the business to be listening. Direct feedback, typically, comes in the form of a survey, market research, written complaint, formal letter, or a forum/panel.

Indirect feedback: Feedback which refers to instances when the customer is speaking about the organization but does not necessarily have the intention to give feedback to the business. This includes feedback extracted from social networking sites, review sites, customer care interactions conducted via phone, chat sessions, or email.

Inferred feedback: This is feedback derived from transactional, behavioral and operational data associated with the customer experience or the customer journey across different touch-points. This type of feedback is extracted from historical VoC data and is the hardest to capture. Examples of inferred data include website click-stream data, purchase history or contact center data.

Why you should be familiar with different Voice of the Customer feedback sources

It is crucial to discern the three different sources of VoC data and where they come from in order to obtain a holistic perspective on the customer experience. VoC data can be used for a wide range of purposes but it all starts with a basic understanding of the business requirements of VoC analytics and a clear specification of the analytical outputs you set out to achieve. Once this initial step is complete, you can proceed with deciding which feedback sources are the most relevant to your business.

The general rule is to use more than one source to collect data. This way you will get feedback through a variety of diverse channels and compare the information between them to make sure you are getting consistent and accurate feedback. However, not all feedback sources are equally relevant. Depending on the industry some feedback sources might prove to be more valuable than others. Once you pinpoint the data sources which are most relevant to your business you can identify and establish appropriate channels through which you can gain access to that data.