Voice of the customer strategy: Getting started

Why you need a voice of the customer program

The terms customer experience and customer success are becoming more and more prevalent in strategic business discussions. Along with big data analytics, it is one of the main concepts impacting modern business transformation. Big data analytics can be leveraged as one of the ingredients to customer success. Usage statistics, behavioural analysis, persona mapping and predictive analytics are data points all executive teams should be thinking of. However, one of the most important company metrics is voice of the customer. Secondary to generating profits, the main purpose of a business is to provide value to its clients. There is no one better to tell you how best to do that than your customers themselves. Organizations are currently in different stages of implementing these programs. This post mainly addresses those who do not have processes in place to collect, aggregate, analyze and report on customer opinion.

Collecting voice of the customer

Organizations are collecting feedback from their users, their superiors and even their prospects from a variety of channels. 10 years ago, an NPS (Net Promoter Score) survey was one of the only effective methods of understanding voice of the customer. It is a measure of how likely your customer is to recommend your product or service. Modern communication and text analytics technology now enables you to understand why. Surveys are still a popular way to collect insights. Short questionnaires that include a free form text box can be deployed at various stages. I’ve worked with companies who issue one a few days after on boarding, then at the 1, 2, 6 and 12 month marks. Others will request feedback based on specific interactions; i.e use of a new feature, an upgrade, following an interaction with support or customer service, etc.

Your sales, account management, support and customer service teams are collecting customer opinion in many of their daily interactions. Emails, call notes and support transcripts are another common source for valuable insights.

Once you’ve started collecting feedback, Keatext offers one of the leading solutions for text analytics and reporting.

How to manage all of this data

Proliferation of data has created numerous challenges, many of which stem from data silos. If you’re implementing a voice of the customer program from scratch, plan for a solution to aggregate feedback in a central repository. Your CRM could be a good choice. Many of the applications that cover the different touch points (surveys, chat, support, etc) provide data replication and synchronization integrations. Building onramps to a database that can be queried by business intelligence tools is another, typically more complex option.

Gaining actionable insights from customer feedback in the form of unstructured text is enabled by natural language processing (NLP) or text mining technology. Topic detection and sentiment analysis are two of the most useful metrics in this context. If you’re in the process of planning or implementing a voice of customer program in your organization, let me know if I can provide any insights on best practices and potential vendors to explore.

A veteran of the text analysis industry, Jay currently heads up the customer success team at Keatext. 


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