CEO & Co-Founder
Voice of customer analysis is the process of understanding customer needs, expectations and sentiments and using them to improve products and services. According to Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service Report, over 70% of customers express positive feelings toward businesses that seek out and apply customer feedback.
The businesses that become — and stay — successful are those that listen to their customers. Therefore, understanding and harnessing the voice of the customer is now a competitive necessity.
This comprehensive guide dives in-depth into Voice of Customer analysis and how you can use it to improve the overall customer experience. We’ll also outline a VOC question template that you can use to engage with your customers and create a frictionless customer journey.
What is Voice of the Customer (VOC) Analysis?
Voice of the customer analysis is a systematic process of gathering and interpreting customer feedback to gain insights into their perceptions, preferences, and expectations regarding a product or service. It involves collecting data directly from customers through various methods like feedback forms, interviews, or Net Promoter Scores, and analyzing this information to get actionable insights.
VOC analysis provides businesses with a comprehensive understanding of customer sentiment and experiences, which is essential for making informed decisions and driving improvements.
Why Voice of the Customer Analysis Matters
Voice of the customer analysis is like having a backstage pass to the minds of your customers, allowing you to gather a wealth of data on their thoughts.
Where VOC truly shines is connecting the dots: it enables businesses to uncover trends and patterns in customer data. VOC can help you answer the following questions:
- What can we do to create frictionless customer experiences?
- How can we fine-tune our product to exceed expectations?
- How do we turn potential leads into loyal customers?
VOC analysis helps businesses transform customer feedback into actionable strategies that can improve the overall customer experience.
Voice of the Customer Analysis Sources
To conduct an effective voice of customer analysis, you’ll need to access several data sources.
Customer surveys are a staple source of VOC data. These structured questionnaires allow businesses to gather specific feedback on aspects such as product satisfaction, service quality, and overall experience.
However, surveys have their limitations. Low response rates can lead to sample bias: if only around 4% to 12% or customers respond to surveys, you won’t be able to conduct thorough analysis. This demographic may lean heavily towards your happiest or least satisfied customers— and will not give you a complete picture of the overall customer experience.
Survey designs can also influence responses, potentially skewing the data. The way questions are framed, the order in which they appear, and the available response options can all determine the results. For instance, the absence of neutral response options might force customers to choose options that don't truly reflect their opinions.
Call Center Reports
Voice of customer analysis can pull important data from call center reporting than covers:
- Average Abandonment Rate
- Average Handle Time
- Customer Satisfaction
- Cost Per Call
- Average Talk Time
- First Contact Resolution
- Net Promoter Score
It can also pull information from subjective notes and after call work agents complete.
Direct Customer Feedback
According to SurveyMonkey, 85% of customers find it important to be able to share feedback on their experiences. This direct customer feedback serves as a conduit between customers and businesses, providing an unfiltered view into how they engage with a product or service.
Some of the sources of direct feedback include:
- Customer reviews
- Customer service interactions
- Feedback forms and surveys
- Focus groups
Customer feedback can help alert businesses to potential issues before they escalate. For example, user testing groups can help identify product defects or website glitches before a product or service is launched. By inviting and acknowledging customers' voices, businesses can engage better with their customers. This fosters a sense of trust and partnership, enhancing brand loyalty. It also helps businesses build a good reputation, which they can leverage to gain a competitive edge.
Social Media Insights
Social media can be another valuable source for VOC analysis due to its real-time, candid interactions. Whether you’re pulling from comments on Instagram posts to interactions on LinkedIn posts, social media can be a solid source of genuine thoughts and sentiments about a business.
However, while all of these data sources can be helpful, they can often be limited or biased. Plus, aggregating and analyzing mountains of data can be extremely time consuming and resource intensive. Fortunately, there are call center software tools that can make VOC analysis much simpler.
Operative Intelligence is a next-generation analytics tool that fully automates the conversion of call center data into actionable insights. This no-code automation extracts both macro and micro insights, including:
- The reasons behind customer support contacts
- Cost implication of customer pain points
- Ways to decrease handle time and its costs on the business
- Sources of negative sentiment
- Opportunities for product enhancement by engineering teams, and
- Performance disparities at the team and agent levels.
This empowers businesses to pinpoint high-impact opportunities for improving customer experience and organizational productivity.
How to Conduct VOC Analysis
1. Start with the Question or Problem
An effective VOC program is centered on addressing questions and seeking informed answers. Rather than diving into analysis without direction, it emphasizes the importance of first identifying the specific questions that are relevant to your goals. Asking the right questions can be challenging, and that's understandable. You just have to take a step back and align your questions with your business objectives.
One way to do this is to reflect on the information that would increase your customer experience and enhance products and services. For example, some of your questions may include the following:
- What services and products do customers prefer?
- What trends are in the market?
- Which areas need the utmost improvement?
- What desired customer sentiments do you seek?
These questions set the stage for your entire analysis process, shaping your choice of data collection, analytics tools, and techniques.
2. Use Voice of Customer Tools
Finding the root cause of customer issues is time-consuming – and nearly impossible to scale without analytics tools. VOC tools are software and methods used to gather and analyze customer feedback in order to identify, visualize, and predict trends in user behavior.
These tools use different techniques including basic data analysis, text and sentiment analysis, automated inquiry categorization, data mapping, and more. For example, customer survey tools are used to design, collect and analyze responses from customers. Some popular survey tools are SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, and Typeform.
3. Gather & Analyze VOC Data
Now that you know what unique problems you want to solve in your organization and the tools to use, the next obvious step is to gather and analyze your data.
If you don’t want to rely on limited survey responses or expensive data analyst teams, it’s time to work with Operative Intelligence. This customer service analytics platform captures 100% of customer interactions across voice, chat, warranty, and online reviews. It analyzes their sentiments at scale and then generates real-world insights based on first-party data.
By listening to the exact words customers use, and not key phrases, the platform helps clients gain a true understanding of what customers need and what they need to change.
“The data is irrefutable, it’s literally the voice of the member telling you exactly what is going on.”
Mark Whitney, Vice President of Member Solutions
Operative Intelligence also helps you discover what interactions to automate, breaks down inquiries by volume, costs, and sentiments, and pinpoints what changes will yield maximum impact. These insights enable businesses to construct a business case and monitor ROI on each solution.
4. Identify Root Cause of Customer Pain Points
Now that you’ve conducted VOC analysis, you can start identifying where your business is–and where it needs to be. To do this successfully, you need to make sure this analysis includes the very important context surrounding the customer issues.
Let’s look at a scenario where an organization discovers that 27% of customer inquiries revolve around product returns. Yet, they do not understand the specific reasons driving these return inquiries. Is it dissatisfaction with product quality? Is the return process unclear? Are there shipping issues? Instead of doing guesswork or investing significant time and resources,
Operative Intelligence seamlessly derives these insights from its VOC analysis to not only uncover the root cause of issues but also provide the context surrounding the pain points.
With Operative Intelligence, the business discovers that 26% of product return inquiries stem from customer confusion on when they’re getting their refund.
In that case, they can take steps to clarify the refund process and provide better estimations of refund times. This somewhat simple change can lead to reduced customer contacts and improved customer satisfaction.
5. Improve the Customer Experience
The final step in conducting VOC analysis is translating the acquired insights into actionable strategies for enhancing customer experience. Now that you know where your customers are running into issues, you can implement product, service, or even company-wide policy changes to keep your customers happy and retained.
Voice of Customer Question Template
Take a look at some comprehensive set of questions to consider when conducting VOC surveys:
- How did you discover our product/service?
- What led you to choose our product/service over alternatives?
- What features or aspects of our product/service do you find most valuable?
- Are there any features or improvements you would like to see in the future?
- How easy was it to find and purchase our product/service?
- Did you encounter any difficulties during the purchasing process?
- Were our pricing and payment options clear and satisfactory?
- How intuitive and user-friendly do you find our website/application?
- Were you able to quickly accomplish your intended tasks on our platform?
- Did you face any issues or challenges while using our product/service?
- Have you interacted with our customer support team? If yes, please share your experience.
- How satisfied are you with the responsiveness and helpfulness of our support representatives?
- Is there anything we could improve in our customer support processes?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our product/service to others?
- What aspects of our product/service do you appreciate the most?
- Is there anything that we could do better to enhance your overall satisfaction?
Feedback and Suggestions:
- Is there any additional feedback, suggestions, or comments you would like to share with us?
- Do you have any ideas for new features or improvements that you would like to see in the future?
- How does our product/service compare to similar offerings from competitors?
- What differentiates us from other options available in the market?
- What are your expectations for our product/service in the future?
- How do you envision our product/service fitting into your long-term plans?
Automate Your Voice of Customer Analysis
Voice of customer analysis is a multi-dimensional approach that fosters a complete understanding of the customer journey to give businesses actionable insights into how they can refine strategies, enhance products, and deliver exceptional customer experiences.
Businesses previously had to spend huge costs on world-class analysts to extract insights from mountains of customer data.
Now, Operative Intelligence can conduct fully automated voice of customer analysis at scale. In less than two weeks, you access:
- The root cause reasons why customers contact support at scale and what they cost the business
- The top contact center automation opportunities and the ROI for each
- What is driving increases in handle time and cost + how to fix it
- What is driving negative customer sentiment and satisfaction
- Agent and team effectiveness (resolution + satisfaction) for 100% of inquiries
- Top and lowest performing agents by inquiry type