What is a voice of customer programme? (Definition and tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 15 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When customers have a positive experience with a company, they're usually likely to purchase more products and recommend the brand to others. One way of finding out about the client's experience is through a voice of customer programme. Understanding how customers feel about the company you work at can help you to meet their needs and increase sales. In this article, we explain what a voice of customer programme is, discuss the benefits of using it, explore its techniques and methods, offer tips for implementing it and provide example questions you can include in such a programme.

What is a voice of customer programme?

A voice of customer programme is a method of capturing feedback from customers. It can help businesses understand what customers are looking for, whether they're happy with the services provided and what companies can do to help them. Understanding more about the customers can help a business improve its offerings and increase its revenue through more sales. This programme can also help companies to improve customer satisfaction and strengthen brand loyalty.

Related: How can customer experience mapping affect campaigns?

Benefits of using voice of customer programmes

These programmes can allow businesses to connect and engage with their clients. Some of the benefits of using them include:

  • understanding how satisfied clients are

  • identifying possible brand crises at an early stage

  • testing new ideas, concepts, products and services directly with clients

  • altering products, services or offers to better meet the clients' needs

  • improving customer retention

  • strengthening brand loyalty

  • being able to respond directly to unsatisfied customers

  • providing tailored solutions to customers

  • increasing repeat sales and overall revenue

Related: Why it's important to know your customers and how to do it

Voice of customer techniques and methods

There are several techniques and methods that you can use as part of a voice of customer programme, some of which can increase the likelihood of receiving beneficial feedback from customers. Here are some helpful techniques and methods you can use:

  • Customer interviews: This traditional method can have a high cost but is often the most useful.

  • In-person surveys: This method may be suitable for small- to medium-sized businesses, as it's typically resource-intensive.

  • Live chat: This method can help to collect real-time information about customers and maintain customer satisfaction by providing live assistance.

  • Online customer surveys: This method usually requires carefully selected questions to get reliable answers.

  • Online customer reviews: This method can bolster reputation and encourage reviews by providing a discount on future purchases.

  • Online feedback forms: It's usually highly important to include this method as it can provide valuable feedback.

  • Recorded call data: This method is often resource-intensive, but it may help to leverage historical call data.

  • Social media: This is often a useful technique as customers naturally gravitate to social media for discussions.

  • Website behaviour: Website analytics of customer behaviour can help businesses easily understand more about their customers.

Related: Guide to creating customer satisfaction survey questions

Tips for designing voice of customer programmes

The following tips can help you design an effective programme to improve the customer experience:

Use a bottom-down approach

You can create a strong programme by establishing a client-centric approach to the business from upper levels of management down to client-facing individuals. With the management of the company leading by example, this may help to improve the customer experience that all staff provide when dealing with clients. You can ensure this by engaging the leaders of the company in the programme.

Collect and collate feedback from different channels

It might be beneficial to conduct voice of client programmes over several different channels or using different techniques. Collecting and collating the feedback from different channels can allow the programme to have a more holistic assessment of the customers' experiences. It may also ensure that you don't miss any important information regarding clients.

Collect relationship and transactional customer experience

Customer experiences typically fall into two categories: relationship and transactional. Relationship experience relates to how a customer feels about a company's overall brand, whereas transactional experience refers to their experience in a specific interaction. To ensure your programme is effective, it might be best to gather information regarding relationships and transactional experiences across as many channels as possible.

Collect feedback across the customers' entire lifecycle

During their interaction with a company, customers may deal with any division, unit or personnel. Some parts of the company may provide positive experiences to customers, while others may not. To identify this in your feedback from clients, you may wish to ensure that you have sufficient granularity by collecting feedback across the client's full interaction lifecycle.

Perform analytics on your feedback data

Depending on what technique or method you use to conduct your programme and how many customers you engage with, you may end up with large quantities of data. This feedback data may only be useful if data scientists analyse it. If the company you work at doesn't have an in-house data team, you can always contract external data analysts to assist you.

Ensure you prepare a customer follow-up plan

The first part of your programme typically consists of gathering data from customers, whereas the second part is about how you can use this data and follow up with clients. It's usually important to know how you're going to incorporate feedback from clients and how the business can pivot to suit the clients' needs. Responding to clients may help to show them that the business is listening to them and taking their feedback into account.

Listen to employees

Employees can provide valuable insight into products, services, offers and the general running of the business. Client-facing employees can be particularly useful in this regard. It may also help to understand how your colleagues experience working at the company. Happy employees often lead to better client experiences.

Make the customer feel their feedback is valuable

Letting the customer know that their feedback is valuable to you can make them feel you care about them. You can do this by including a sentence such as Please take your time to provide us with your feedback. We value your feedback and would like to improve our customer experience for all before your ask for their opinion. This may also encourage them to respond to your request for feedback more readily.

Respond to all types of feedback

You may sometimes encounter customers that provide you with less than positive feedback. You may not have time to deal with all feedback, but responding to these customers may significantly improve their overall satisfaction with the company. You may also wish to offer them a discount voucher for future purchases to further improve their satisfaction.

Have patience and remain committed

Completing a customer voice programme can be a lengthy process. It's therefore important to remain patient and stay committed to your end goal. You may also wish to see the programme as a continual monitoring effort that runs concurrently with the business and not as a standalone project. It can take a long time to alter customer culture, and you may wish to take this into account when reviewing your results.

Related: How to become a customer success manager (plus skills)

Examples questions for customer voice programmes

Here are some example questions you can use for your programme:

  • What features or qualities do you look for in a company/product/service?

  • What is the most important thing you look for when choosing a company for [product/service]?

  • When you think about [company name], what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

  • Provide the name of a competitor you would prefer over our [product/service] and at least one reason why you would choose them over us.

  • What was your least favourite experience with [company name]?

  • How can [company name] improve your experience as a customer?

  • How would you describe your experience with [company name]?

  • Do you feel our [product/service] is good value for money?

  • Would you recommend [company/product/service] to others and why?

  • Which company have you purchased the most [product/service] from in the last year?

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