Steve Jobs once said, “You have to start with the customer experience and work backward to the technology.” He encapsulated a guiding principle that successful companies understand well: the importance of using customer feedback in product decisions. A voice of the customer (VoC) strategy helps you do just that.
In product management and marketing, voice of the customer (VoC) refers to collecting feedback and reviews from your customers. Leading companies understand what VoC is, why it’s important, and the best ways to collect and analyze customer feedback to implement a strong VoC program.
- Voice of the customer (VoC) programs help you gather customer feedback and insights to improve your products.
- VoC programs can streamline customer communication and help you stay competitive and innovative.
- Common VoC feedback mechanisms include feedback forms, surveys, questionnaires, social media discussions, focus groups, and customer interviews.
- The best VoC strategies start with determining the best customer feedback mechanisms and documenting a process for analyzing and interpreting the data.
What is the Voice of the Customer?
Voice of the customer involves collecting feedback and reviews from your customers to better understand their preferences, problems, and complaints.
The goal of VoC is to deeply understand how customers feel about your product and its features. Leading companies use these insights to build customer-centric strategies and improve product features and offerings. Many businesses gather and analyze customer data on an ongoing basis to make product-related improvements.
The importance of VoC in product development
VoC insights can improve your product strategy and help you implement new features that bring optimal value to customers. They can guide your product-related decision-making and inspire innovation, ensuring your products align with customer preferences and needs.
VoC facilitates better communication with your customers
A strong, ongoing VoC program provides a more direct line of communication between your product teams and customers. VoC programs make it easier for product teams to respond to customer feedback with enhancements and feature upgrades.
Take Amazon, for example. The company makes it easy for customers to leave reviews and ratings for purchases and experiences on their app and website. Amazon uses this feedback to enhance its offerings, like making it easier to search for products or improving its product lines.
VoC helps you stay competitive
Companies with a VoC program can meet customer expectations better than those that don’t. VoC insights allow you to differentiate yourself and better compete in the market by addressing specific customer pain points or offering unique features.
Netflix uses customer surveys to gauge competition and better understand customer satisfaction with its products. The first question in the survey is, “Indicate which online streaming/rental services you currently use.” The responses enable Netflix to identify their biggest competitive threats and opportunities and focus on differentiating themselves to become customers’ preferred streaming service..
VoC enables product evolution
A VoC program can help you prioritize features and product improvements. Sometimes, customer feedback even sparks big ideas for entirely new products. The customer feedback gathered as part of your VoC program can enable you to innovate more quickly and effectively. Your customers’ ideas and suggestions for new features, products, or services can give you a competitive edge.
For example. Apple’s feedback form has a field where customers can submit “Feature Requests” directly to the company. They likely tap into these requests when upgrading their operating system and developing product lines.
Four ways to gather VoC data
There are many ways to gather VoC data—and you’re likely already using some of them. Data analytics platforms like Amplitude can help you streamline your data collection process.
1. Customer feedback forms
Customer feedback forms provide an easy way to gather general feedback after a purchase or interaction. These forms gauge overall satisfaction so you can use the feedback to make product changes.
You can deliver feedback forms to customers via landing pages, emails, or SMS. For example, an ecommerce company may send customer feedback forms via email or SMS shortly after they deliver a product. Alternatively, a company may direct customers to a feedback form after they watch a product demo so they can gauge the video’s effectiveness.
Common questions on customer feedback forms include:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your experience with us?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our company/product to others?
2. Surveys and questionnaires
If you want more detailed customer feedback, you can send surveys or questionnaires. These are usually longer than feedback forms and ask more specific questions.
You can use surveys for more in-depth market research, customer satisfaction assessments, or any time you need more structured data collection. For example, you could collect data about a specific product by emailing a survey to all customers who purchased it in the last 90 days.
Common questions to ask on surveys or questionnaires for VoC include:
- Did our product meet your expectations?
- What could be improved about our product?
- Did the product align with how it was described on our website?
3. Social media monitoring
You can also monitor discussions about your company on social media. Companies use social media for VoC insights by analyzing feedback about their products, including complaints, suggestions, and general reviews.
To monitor social media, you can use a tool like Sprout Social or Hootsuite or hire a dedicated social media professional. Most software solutions enable you to automatically collect comments and other engagement stats from your social accounts. If you have a dedicated social pro they can manually keep track of brand mentions and engagement on your posts, including user-generated content.
4. Customer interviews and focus groups
Customer interviews and focus groups involve gathering customers for a moderated discussion in a small group or one-on-one environment. These meetings enable customers to provide feedback on specific products and offerings.
These create a setting where participants can share diverse perspectives, engage in group discussions, and provide immediate reactions. You can then use these insights to improve your product offering.
To set up a customer interview or focus group, you could contact existing and potential customers and users via email or direct message through your their app.
A data analytics platform can help you collect and store data from these four VoC methods by syncing with platforms you currently use or plan to implement. Consolidating your data simplifies data management and enables you to gain a holistic view of your customer feedback. In doing so, it will be easier for your teams to identify trends, extract actionable insights, and make informed decisions to improve your products.
How to implement a VoC strategy
Here are a few steps you can take to get started.
1. Set up customer feedback mechanisms
You don’t need to use all four feedback methods to start. You can start small and choose one or two t collection mechanisms that make the most sense for your team. For example, a company with a robust social media presence might start by monitoring its social platforms for product-related feedback and commentary.
Many companies designate one place to collect and store their customer feedback data so that everyone on the team can access the data they need—and making it easier to analyze the collected feedback.
2. Analyze and interpret VoC data
Once you’ve chosen your mechanisms, you can pick tools or software to help you effectively collect and manage customer feedback. These tools help you quickly identify patterns, trends, and common themes in the feedback to gain actionable insights. Analyzing your customer feedback can also inform your team of new trends in the market. By staying on top of these trends, you stay ahead of customer sentiment or preferences changes.
3. Apply insights to product iterations and marketing campaigns
You can then use your feedback insights to address common customer challenges and make improvements like new features. Consider prioritizing changes that directly address pain points or fulfill customer requests.
Try to embrace a culture of continuous improvement by iterating to refine your products and campaigns based on the outcomes and feedback. VoC insights are not static—they evolve along with customer preferences.
When you make changes or improvements based on feedback, consider communicating these changes to your customers to demonstrate the value and impact of their input.
Find the right data analytics platform for your VoC program
With VoC programs, data is your compass and analytics are your guiding light. Collecting feedback is great, but it’s what you do with it that really matters. To make the most of your VoC programs, consider adopting a data analytics platform that enables you to collect, manage, and analyze customer data from different sources.
Amplitude's data analytics tools provide behavioral analytics, automated reports, and data visualizations to help you analyze customer feedback—providing you the insights you need to make informed decisions about product enhancements.
Watch our demo to learn how Amplitude can jumpstart or uplevel your VoC program, or get started for free today..