Whatever happened to VOC?

Remember back in the '90s, when voice of the customer (VOC) was all the rage? It was a process discipline, a way for companies to gather customer insight to drive product and service requirements.

But VOC got lost amidst a booming tech sector, abundant resources, and the many, many new markets, customers, and transactions that companies pursued. Somewhere along the way, pulling out all the stops to delight the installed customer base got lost. One-to-one marketing, personalization, and demand creation rose above truly understanding customers, above assessing their needs and driving higher order benefits for them and their customers.

Today, VOC is again moving to the center of the radar. We know this because the very recent Phelon Group/MarketingProfs VOC survey revealed that more than 80% of companies sponsor either formal or informal VOC activities. But this time, customers aren't just king—the integration of customer retention, repurchase, and referenceability is a full house.

Because marketers have neither time nor resources to experiment, we're joining forces with MarketingProfs to bring you this regular column, as well as the VOC survey results.

What's VOC today? More than a once-a-year review or online survey...

Voice of the customer means tuning your organization, at all its touch points, to what customers feel and think, what they say, how they act and respond to plays by your company and its competition. And, unfortunately, that can't be relegated to a once-a-year business review or a complex, online loyalty survey that uses dozens of questions to get the same answer: "Do you plan to buy more... and when?"

VOC is the collective body of information that informs and in some cases drives decisions within your organization. Specifically, voice of the customer comprises:

  • Customer perceptions of your brand
  • Customer satisfaction and loyalty data
  • Customer usage information
  • Customer inputs: future needs, business challenges, specific requirements
  • Customer word of mouth within their companies and peer groups, in the industry through events and testimonials

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Promise Phelon is president and CEO of UpMo and founder of the Phelon Group.

Twitter: @PromisePhelon

LinkedIn: Promise Phelon