All you need to know about running a successful VoC program

Voice of customer research

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What is voice of customer research?

Research of any type is a systematic study of a problem statement. Whereas voice of customer research is research process that discovers and defines the wants and needs of the customers. 

Voice of customer research makes use of quantitative and qualitative research approaches to bring out the best for the customer experience surveys. When there is a norm in the market where almost all the businesses runs on what their customers want and think about them. Voice of customer research brings such brands and organizations close to their customers. 

According to a landmark paper by Griffin and Hauser, there are four aspects of voice of customer research. They are:

  • Customers describe their need in their own words.
  • Those needs can be grouped on hierarchy.
  • Needs can be prioritized.
  • Segmentation of needs and benefits that are perceived by the audience. 

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Why voice of customer research is important?

  • It defines the wants, needs, pain points and hesitation of your target audience. 
  • Improve the customer journey.
  • Voice of customer research helps the customers to make their customer journey faster and easier. 
  • It also helps you build a transparent relationship with your customers. 
  • Voice of customer research opens a door for both the customers and brands to have a trustworthy interaction. 
  • Voice of customer research helps you define new marketing strategies. 
  • Developing strategies will also help you elevate the sales. 

How to design voice of customer research?

Any ‘good’ voice of customer research cannot be considered as an ultimate goal. As voice of customer is a tool to make tactical and goal-driven decisions. How great your tool works can only be determined when it works efficiently to achieve your defined goal. 

Therefore, the first step towards regulating a perfect voice of customer research is to define a firm objective. These objectives can be requirement gathering, customer satisfaction, etc. anything that is regarding the organization and its betterment. Therefore, your approach to the voice of customer research will differ depending on your goal. 

The understanding of “one for all study” is just impossible when it comes to the voice of customer research. Hence, your approach to solve one objective is going to have one definite research process. 

How to implement voice of customer research?

After you have defined your goal for the voice of customer research, it is time to implement these 5 steps:

Step 1: Executive sponsor involved in your research. 

It is important to have an executive team representative. Having a sponsor will help the research in directing its value and importance. 

Step 2: Customer wants

The research needs to be designed in such a way that it will efficiently bring out the customer wants and needs from their feedbacks. Make sure that their responses are not farther away from your defined objective. After getting their responses, it is time to prioritize, quantify and the problems that matter the most to the customers regarding your business objective.

Step 3: Control inputs 

The inputs to your voice of customer research study are none other than the crowd that take your surveys. You need to carefully sample your customer base who will be responding to your surveys. Other than this, one of the important factors that affect the research study is the way that you collect the data. Voice of customer data can be collected through surveys, interviews, focus groups, social media platforms. Make use of appropriate research tools to carry out your study. 

Step 4: Analyze results

Keeping your defined business objective in mind, now it is time to draw conclusions out of your data. This is the step where you will understand how well your voice of the customer research model has worked depending on how relevant data is returned. 

There are a lot of ways to adapt when you are analysing your data. Don’t lure away from your objective and synthesize your data accordingly. 

Step 5: Improvise

Now that you have your data and analysed results, you need to make firm decisions. You will understand the customer experience gaps and new ideas and insights. In this last step of the voice of customer research, you have to improvise your strategies and product development based on the customer wants and needs. 

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Sampling bias in the voice of customer research

Sampling bias occurs when the sample selected for the research is not random or is not a perfect representation of the entire population, thus skewing or influencing the research results. 

Brands conduct post-purchase feedback to keep track of the customer experience and their loyalty. If the whole process is under a sampling bias, it exposes the results to danger and further affects the brand’s progress. 

Sampling bias in the voice of customer research is inevitable, but you can minimize its effects by identifying and controlling it. 

Sampling bias affects the research:

  • If you restrict the research only to the customers who purchased your product, you will miss out on the customers who initially decided to purchase your product but due to some reason. You just missed what could be the huge reason why customers are NOT choosing your products and services.
  • Customers that are interested in giving their feedback are not always representative of the entire population. You will be missing out on the customers who are not willing to give their feedback. This will definitely expose you to sampling bias. 

Sometimes, you need to reach out to the customers to get their feedback, especially when they are shy and don’t care much about it. 

Apart from these unintentional sampling biases, they can also be influenced by the researcher itself. For example, when research finds it hard to reach out to a certain group of people, he will prefer studying the groups that are easily reachable and interact with.

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