“Voice of the Customer (VoC)” is a terminology that surfaced nearly 20 years ago in an MIT paper. Whether this was the first mention of the concept is unknown. What is known is that ever since the term came into being, VoC programs, technologies, strategies, etc., have all matured. They will continue to evolve as technologies, strategies, etc. as they work to better derive the biggest benefits possible.
As we kick of 2022, its time to look forward to try and glean how voice of the customer can better improve your organization’s products, support and services. Below are four ways these practitioners expect VoC to continue to evolve in the next couple of years.
Social Media and Personalization
VoC is a core concept at the heart of any successful business, said Irene McConnell, a member of the Forbes Coaches Council and hiring manager for Arielle Executive. “The future will be around this concept as social media channels increase the audience’s interaction with your brand. Personalized communication will take center stage in VoC programs as we advance in 2022. This type of communication would allow brands to build a seamless communication channel with their target audience. These virtual conversations would increase the sense of loyalty among users and help them reach purchasing decisions much quicker.”
The audience is fed up with the constant bombardment of advertisements on their social media accounts, lacking any personalization, McConnell explained. Similarly, cold calling your potential customers at ungodly hours removes any sense of personal boundaries. This measure creates uneasiness and discomfort, leading to a negative customer experience. It doesn’t make them feel valued or satisfy them in being associated with the organization
“The conversation between a sales agent and a customer needs to be given the utmost importance as it is the first step towards acquisition,” McConnell added. “In 2022, brands will integrate VoC programs into their conversational experiences. The targeting can be based on different factors such as location or demographics. Since the nature of the campaign is conversational, you’ll get an insight into the customer experience and how they interact with different aspects of your sales funnel. However, tools can provide data only in quantitative terms, acting as a limitation rather than an opportunity.”
“VoC programs are certainly becoming more sophisticated over time,” said Andrew Smith, PowerReviews vice president of marketing. “If you think back to how organizations used to capture VoC, it was essentially surveys (quantitative) and focus groups (qualitative). Both have their faults. Survey fatigue is very real and — despite the best of intentions — surveys themselves are inherently biased due to how they are structured in terms of question wording and response options.
Therefore, Smith expects to see continued evolution away from these methodologies. The more sophisticated VoC programs instead look to tap into indirect and inferred feedback mechanisms, along with other feedback submission channels that were originally intended for other purposes.
“For example, think about analyzing the content of customer service calls. These likely contain a wealth of actionable intelligence on systemic problems outside of the individual problem resolved on that particular call,” Smith said. “The more advanced programs will incorporate analysis of these interactions at scale.”
Smith added that product rating and reviews include a wealth of context-rich information. They are publicly facing, so they can also be mined from across the internet to benchmark against competitors and drive highly specific product and messaging enhancements. Increasingly, I expect more cutting-edge organizations to lean into these different feedback mechanisms as part of a multi-channel and holistic VoC program.
Related Article: 7 Voice of the Customer Metrics You Shouldn’t Ignore
An Expansion of How VoC Is Used
“Voice of Customer will first and foremost become more expansive in how it is thought of and applied. VoC tools will be deployed not only by data analysts but also by product, customer success, marketing, PR teams and C-suite executives,” said Caro Solari, Affogata head of marketing. “Those companies which are customer-obsessed are those that incorporate the customer into every aspect of their product, whether it’s for product launches, resolving issues or marketing customer stories.”
In terms of the evolution of the product itself, we’ll see more customization based on specific use cases, for example, a DNA testing site might want to be able to incorporate niche ancestry sites, make connections with their existing database and market those stories to the customer, Solari added. “Fintech or trading platforms will prioritize online forums to tap into communities whose stories aren’t obvious on social media to prepare for high trade volumes and stave off a potential PR disaster.”
The last big shift Solari expects will be incorporating more product-specific features, which help with faster product development, iterations and launches (especially when it comes to specific geographies). That product focus will enable product marketing to be more on message and provides what resonates in terms of keywords and messaging better than any alternative.
Related Article: 8 Enterprise Voice of the Customer (VoC) Tools You Should Know About
More VoC Options and Solutions Will Be Available
VoC programs, technologies and strategies will continue to evolve at a rapid pace due to the ever-growing popularity of VoC initiatives and the increasing demand for customer feedback, according to Emir Bacic, co-founder of Pricelisto. “As technologies continue to improve, businesses will have more options for collecting customer feedback,” Bacic said. “Additionally, they will be able to better analyze and act on feedback data. This will allow them to improve their customer service faster and provide a better experience.”
The technology evolution will extend to the increased use of cloud storage systems for customer feedback data, which will allow for better access to and better analysis of the data since it is stored in a single location, accessible to authorized users from anywhere (with an internet connection), rather than in separate silos, Bacic added.
“VoC programs will become much more strategic,” Bacic said. “They will start using data analytics tools to identify trends and actionable insights from customer feedback. This will allow businesses to make more informed decisions on improving their customer service.”