Discovering the voice of the customer (VoC) is an essential piece of any business strategy. Though the customer is always right, there’s usually no way you can cater your business specifically to each and every individual. 

What you can do is analyze what your customers are saying about your business on a large scale and work to address the overarching themes that come through from feedback. Pinning down the voice of your customer allows you to better understand customers and create more accurate buyer personas, which in turn help you improve the entire customer journey.

Defining VoC

First things first, let’s establish a clearer definition of voice of the customer. VoC is a way of understanding your customers’ wants, needs, fears, and expectations about your brand. You reach this understanding by listening to what your customers are “saying” about your brand via online reviews, social media, and other feedback gathering tools.

Image source: Chattermill

Once you know what your customers think and feel about your company, you use their feedback to make changes that will allow for a smoother and more satisfying customer experience.

3 Steps for Creating a VoC Program for Your Business

To create a voice of the customer program within your business, you should follow three basic steps:


Step 1: Gather Customer Feedback – To create a voice of the customer program, you first need to gather data on what your customers are saying. You can do this through a variety of different channels, and certain channels will be more effective depending on what type of business you own. For example, B2B software companies may have more luck gathering feedback from surveys and focus groups, while lifestyle companies may rely more on social media. Below are a few places where you can gather customer feedback:

  • Social media
  • Surveys
  • Site behavior
  • Online reviews
  • Chatbot conversations
  • Customer service interactions

Step 2: Uncover Trends Within the Feedback – Once you’ve gathered your data, the next step is to analyze it to uncover trends. Because you can’t address each piece of feedback individually, identifying common themes can help you make positive changes that will matter to the majority of your customers. To analyze your qualitative data, such as reviews or social media comments, you will first need to code the data. This transforms it into quantitative data which can be more easily measured and compared. From there, you can combine different scores with demographics to find out what certain segments of your customers are saying to you.

Step 3: Make Changes Based on Trends – Once you’ve identified trends within the voice of your customer, you can start making changes to your business model based on this feedback. But with so many options before you, where should you start? The answer is to start with the changes that will affect your existing, most loyal customers most, not prioritizing marketing to new customers. 

Customer churn is costly, and you want to do everything you can to keep your existing customers happy. In fact, did you know that it can be up to 25 times more expensive to gain a new customer than to keep an old one? Sustainable business growth depends on a loyal customer base.

Voice of the Customer Example: Zappos

To better illustrate how this process can work, let’s use the shoe delivery company Zappos as an example. Shortly after their founding in the early 2000’s, Zappos was in trouble and nearly went under. 

So what did they do? They put the customer at the center of all their operations by listening to their needs and defining a stellar voice of the customer program. Here are some of the ways Zappos puts the needs of their customers first:

  • Free shipping and returns
  • 24/7 warehouse for faster service
  • 365-day return policy
  • No time limits on customer service calls

When they were acquired by Amazon in 2009, the company was worth around $1.2 billion

There you have it, the three basic steps for understanding your customers better by defining their voice and an example of excellence to look up to. It’s time to start making changes that will help ensure your customer’s loyalty and create a better customer experience.