What is Voice of the Customer (VoC)? VoC Guide

David Pop


min read

In a customer-centric economy, client expectations are higher than ever. To meet these evolving demands, many brands are now heavily investing in Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs that incorporate a comprehensive, closed-loop approach.

Speak to any executive in customer experience, research, or marketing, and they’ll likely tell you that the era of one-directional customer marketing is over. Now, leading companies are rapidly adapting their listening and response strategies, as VoC programs have become crucial in fostering customer loyalty and boosting sales.

It's estimated that U.S. companies annually lose around $62 billion due to poor customer experiences, as these lead to customer defections and abandoned purchases. Furthermore, negative experiences are twice as likely to be shared by people compared to positive ones.

Definition of Voice of the Customer

The Voice of the Customer (VoC) refers to the process of gathering and understanding customer comments and opinions about a company, its products, or services. It's a concept that encapsulates customers' feedback regarding their experiences and expectations from your offerings, with a focus on their needs.

By tuning into the Voice of the Customer, companies can gain a deeper understanding of, and effectively respond to, their customers' needs and customer expectations, thereby enhancing the products and services they provide. A VoC program offers insights into what customers like, their issues, and their complaints. These programs are designed to identify and address customer feedback, ultimately boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Businesses utilize VoC to refine the overall customer experience across all touchpoints with the company. Effective VoC interpretation often relies on technological tools like text analytics and sentiment analysis, which help derive meaningful insights from customer feedback.

VoC programs have become increasingly popular and integral to corporate strategies, especially as customers now expect more direct interaction with businesses. These programs are crucial for understanding the complex decision-making process of potential customers, as they hinge on capturing and responding to customer feedback.

Voice of the customer program benefits

Companies gather the Voice of the Customer (VoC) data to enhance the customer's overall experience with their business. The most effective way to comprehend VoC is through technologies like text analytics and sentiment analysis, as these tools help in extracting meaningful insights from customer feedback.

Attuning to the Voice of the Customer allows businesses to grasp and subsequently fulfill their customers' requirements. Implementing a VoC program provides valuable insights into what customers prefer, their issues, and their grievances. This positions companies to more accurately pinpoint problems and opportunities, guiding them towards appropriate actions. When executed well, this approach is a powerful means to boost customer satisfaction and foster loyalty.

How Businesses Are Transforming the Corporate Landscape Through VoC Initiatives

It has been consistently demonstrated that high-quality customer perception and exceptional customer service are key factors in business success. When customers provide real-time feedback to your organization, they anticipate that you will not only listen but also take action and keep them updated on the developments.

Gaining customer loyalty requires a unified perspective on your customers, market, and employee base.


PrestaShop, a widely used e-commerce solution and a leader in Europe & LATAM, embarked on a Voice of Customer (VoC) program in 2022, venturing into a new domain previously unexplored by them. On average, PrestaShop receives over 150,000 pieces of customer feedback annually. Through their robust VoC program and the implementation of ClientZen's customer feedback and VoC tool, PrestaShop witnessed a notable transformation in their VoC efforts. This included a 15% decrease in negative sentiments during the onboarding phase, a 1% reduction in average client interactions, and a 4% decrease in negative sentiments about PrestaShop's products.

Building a successful Voice of Customer program

Before diving into the development of a detailed plan to attain customer experience maturity, it's crucial to lay the groundwork. Many times, there's a haste in initiating a program without ensuring proper alignment of all the critical elements needed to evolve into a customer-centric organization.

By concentrating on these six key factors, you can effectively foster customer centricity across your entire organization.

Solid Leadership

A customer-centric culture begins with strong leadership. Achieving significant impact from any customer-centric initiative requires buy-in at the executive level. Additionally, gaining support from mid-level leaders is crucial for truly enhancing customer experience. Leaders influence their teams' priorities, so when they prioritize customers, their teams will likely do the same.

Clear and Defined Vision

The vision for your Voice of the Customer (VoC) program must be clear and easily comprehensible to everyone in the organization. Start with the language and messaging used to communicate this vision. A concise and straightforward vision statement can facilitate better understanding and support from leadership.

Employee Engagement and Teamwork

An engaged workforce is essential for the sustained success of a customer-focused company. Increased employee engagement leads to better cross-functional collaboration, resulting in more effective customer initiatives. Understanding your workforce is key to engagement, often achieved through a formal employee experience program.

Consistent Listening and Adaptation

Having a systematic approach to monitoring and collecting customer feedback is crucial for enhancing the overall experience throughout the whole customer journey. Given the variety of channels through which customer feedback can be gathered, it's important to use a robust platform capable of adapting to changing customer feedback preferences.

Unified Direction and Proactive Steps

Alignment means everyone in the organization is working towards the same goal, with each team understanding their role in achieving this vision. Action typically refers to concrete steps taken to improve customer experience. Conducting thorough root cause or driver analysis can pinpoint areas for proactive measures.

Persistence and Dedication

It's important to recognize that developing a top-tier customer culture is a long-term endeavor that cannot be entirely outsourced. The world's most successful customer-centric companies have evolved gradually over several years. This process involves slowly shifting the customer culture, refining collection methods, enhancing analysis complexity, and broadening the scope of action. Throughout this journey, leadership must consistently show dedication and patience towards the vision and process.

Best practices when building a VoC program

The Voice of the Customer offers crucial early indicators and guidance for your success, coming straight from the most important source—your customers. To achieve ongoing enhancement in your VoC program, make sure to implement these five essential elements.

Connect multi-channel feedback sources & collect customer feedback

Several organizations depend on just a couple of channels for evaluating and enhancing their customer interactions, which constrains the comprehensiveness and detail of the insights they gather. Lacking a multi-channel feedback mechanism, Voice of the Customer programs often fail to provide a complete picture of customer preferences, behaviors, and satisfaction levels. Moreover, prominent brands and organizations aim to gather customer feedback across all touchpoints where their customers engage (email, slack, review platforms, social media, CRM, etc.), in order to foster a more integrated customer experience.

Cross-department collaboration

Developing a successful VoC program requires the involvement of various departments in gathering, analyzing, and implementing the insights obtained. There should be a seamless process for inter-departmental collaboration, utilizing action planning tools.

Integrating Voice of the Employee (VoE)

Linking employee experiences with those of customers offers organizations a comprehensive view of their operational reality and underlying reasons. Grasping this link is key to recognizing how employee engagement affects overall profitability.

Employee feedback plays a crucial role in shaping customer experiences in three fundamental ways:

  1. It sheds light on the context surrounding customer experiences.
  2. It assists in pinpointing process, policy, and technological obstacles that impede the delivery of satisfactory experiences.
  3. It provides valuable insights into the quality of the experiences employees have within the organization.

ClientZen's user interface was crafted with simplicity in mind, making it accessible to employees across various levels of technical proficiency.

Utilize Dashboards and Reports to Share Insights Effectively

An effective VoC platform should help you decipher the dynamics within your business. Opt for a platform that enables the customization of dashboards tailored to each role, ensuring that pertinent insights are visible to the appropriate individuals. ClientZen was developed to serve different departments within an organization, such as CX & VoC teams, customer service team, marketing and sales team, and development team at the same time.

Provide Tangible ROI and Concrete Business Outcomes

To ensure a customer experience program is successful, it's crucial to approach it with a mindset focused on Return on Investment (ROI). This means aligning everything – from the metrics you track to the actions and improvements you implement – with their potential to bring value back to the business.

ROI involves more than just tracking Voice of the Customer (VoC) metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), and Customer Effort Score (CES). It's about linking enhancements in these areas to financial outcomes.

Key focus areas include:

  1. Market Share: This entails expanding your presence in the target market, increasing customer spending with your brand over competitors, and redirecting their spending in other areas to your business.
  2. Cost Management: Every business activity comes with a cost. It's important to understand the costs of serving, acquiring, and retaining customers and balance these against the expected gains. If the cost of an activity outweighs its potential benefit to the bottom line, it may not be worthwhile.
  3. Efficiency: This often relates to time, whether it's the total man-hours needed for a task or the duration from start to completion.

Consequently, Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) has emerged as a key financial metric in customer experience. CLV considers a range of factors, from market share and customer retention to acquisition costs, offering a comprehensive measure of ROI.

Focusing solely on one aspect, like customer acquisition, overlooks other important factors, such as an increase in churn rate or the initial cost burden of new customers. For instance, a new customer might not generate profit in the first year, considering the acquisition costs.

Prioritize the Customer

In conclusion, integrating customer input into your strategies is crucial for any business aiming to enhance its customer satisfaction score. By effectively analyzing customer data, you're better equipped to meet and even exceed customer expectations.

Actively seeking and valuing direct feedback allows you to identify and address customer pain points more efficiently. Embracing these practices ensures that your business decisions are aligned with the needs and desires of your customers, ultimately leading to a more successful and customer-focused enterprise.

Additionally, if you're interested in seeing how ClientZen has positively influenced PrestaShop's Voice of Customer program, I recommend reading their case study here. For those aiming to develop or refine their VoC program efficiently and quickly, why not start with our 30-day free trial? You can also book a call with us for a deeper insight into how we can streamline your analysis process.

Customer feedback made easy

Customer feedback tagged automatically

Real-time customer sentiment scores

Pain-points evolution over time

Try Clientzen

David Pop

Marketing Manager at ClientZen