VoC (Voice of the Customer) is the voice of people who buy stuff. In other words, it’s you. Or as Wikipedia says “…the Voice of the Customer is a market research technique that produces a detailed set of customer wants and needs, organized into a hierarchical structure, and then prioritized in terms of relative importance and satisfaction with current alternatives.” Voice of the Customer studies typically consists of both qualitative and quantitative research steps.”
There are many ways to gather VoC today. Before the internet, the best way was called a focus group. Companies called this qualitative research. In the early days of VoC, before it was called VoC, companies employed motivational researchers who claimed to know not only what the consumer said but also what the consumer really wanted to say about a company’s product. And focus groups remained the primary tool of marketers to gather VoC for nearly half a century.
Consumer feedback led to great marketing campaigns. Let’s look at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Through focus groups, consumers told the company and its agency Y&R, that moms felt guilty about serving fast food. This led to campaigns where KFC stressed quality, like the magical blend of herbs and spices. Gradually consumers changed and sales soared. Later on, when the word ‘fried’ became a liability, Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC. Problem solved.
Today with Amazon threatening every retail business, companies need to consistently deliver a better experience and VoC programs are gaining traction. According to MCorpCX President Michael Hinshaw, “VoC programs are such a priority for so many businesses; the ability to listen to your customers is crucial to your ability to compete on customer experience.”
In fact, 95% of companies say they regularly listen to their customers. Of these, 84% regularly ask customers for feedback, while 11% do so occasionally. Yet despite this widespread collection of customer feedback, only 29% of firms with VoC in place systematically incorporate insights about customer needs into their decision-making processes. And nearly three-fourths don’t think that their VoC programs are effective at driving actions. Sadly, they’re right. A Harvard Business Review article noted that marketing decision-makers in the Fortune 100 use data just 11% of the time to make decisions that affect customers.”
Today strict practitioners of VoC are blowing away the competition. At Apple, CEO Tim Cook reads and
often responds to up to 100 customer emails every day. And at the ever-expanding Amazon, all departments are completely data-driven—based on the successes and failures of the customer experience. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is a hands-on advocate for VoC, driving it from on high.
Like the motivational researchers of a half-century ago, soon there will be Voice of the Costumer entrepreneurs ready to take your business higher by listening to the consumer.
Chief Creative Officer
the damien harvey group