What is the Voice of the Customer?
Have you ever wondered why certain products or services undergo radical changes or even disappear from the market (and sometimes return with another trade name)? Does it depend only on the volume of sales or other factors come into play? To answer these questions, we should introduce the concept of “Voice of the Customer” and analyze what it means. This term refers to all those practices which enable to understand what a (real or potential) customer thinks about a product or service. But it is not limited to a simple reading of comments or opinions written upon request -e.g. an online survey-, the issue is much more complex.
In recent years, the types of channels through which customers and users express their opinions, complaints, suggestions or congratulations (yes, these are also important, then we will see why) have multiplied exponentially. Only a decade ago, the channels that permitted the interaction with the business world were significantly fewer, among them we may recall the telephone or pre-compiled polls often sent by traditional mail. In addition, most of the exchanges between customer and company responded to a specific need of the second; in other words, they were requested.
How has it changed?
Today, the picture has radically changed. The communication channels are numerous and also allow to interact in different ways through various media (images, audio, video, etc.). And what matters most to us is that this interaction
- is constant: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year;
- most of the times is multilingual;
- does not always follow predefined patterns (many times, it doesn’t even comply with the most basic spelling rules);
- is unstructured: it is not stored in a traditional database nor organized according to predefined criteria.
There is no doubt that, from a corporate perspective, this enormous amount of information can be highly beneficial!