What is Voice of Customer (VoC)? Best practices and examples

Understanding the voice of the customer is key to ensuring a positive experience. Here’s how to collect valuable customer insights and apply them to your business.

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Written and reviewed by:
Helena Young

Voice of Customer (VoC) is a customer insight that describes a buyer’s experiences with, and their feelings towards, a business. “Listening” and responding to VoC can strengthen your relationship with your customers and, ultimately, improve customer retention.

Businesses can also use VoC to better understand their customers’ needs and pain points. By addressing these, it is possible to create loyal customers with higher lifetime value.

Below, we’ll explain what VoC is in greater detail, how to implement it in your own marketing plan, and what potential challenges to be aware of.

What is VoC?

Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a term used in marketing and customer service to describe an audience’s opinions and observations about your business.

Unlike buyer personas, VoC is not about learning who the customer is, but what their experiences have been with your products or services. These can be negative and positive.

For an accurate VoC reading of your entire target audience, it’s important that multiple data sources are used and substantial market research is carried out.

For example, one organisation’s VoC might be made up of customer reviews left on its website, feedback given during focus groups, and recordings from buyers who have previously contacted the helpdesk.

Why Voice of Customer matters

VoC is vital for business planning and growth. It’s a way to include the most important people in strategy conversations: your audience. Here are three benefits that VoC brings to firms:

1. Enhancing customer engagement

Listening to your VoC engenders a stronger connection between businesses and customers. It encourages a two-way dialogue where buyers feel their thoughts and views will be heard.

Encouraging greater involvement from customers can even see them become advocates, introducing your brand to new audiences and driving overall business success.

2. Developing knowledge bases

Pooling together data from customer insights and feedback also creates an organic library of content to build a knowledge base (an online hub filled with information about your firm).

These exist to answer every burning question your audience has; something you can only do by listening to your VoC.

3. Building brand loyalty

Everybody wants to feel listened to. VoC strategies naturally cause shoppers to feel valued as their pain points are being addressed, which makes them more likely to shop with you versus a competitor.

Improved loyalty leads to more sales and greater revenue is generated. Plus, proactive issue resolution reduces churn and minimises the need for expensive customer acquisition. Double win.

How to implement a Voice of Customer strategy

Implementing a VoC strategy in your organisation requires high-quality data and lots of it. You can’t just make general estimates of what customers want – your VoC has to accurately represent your audience’s needs. Reliable VoC insights are most commonly found in:

  • Call data (eg. call volume and wait times)
  • Online surveys (eg. common topics discussed or problems reported)
  • Website tracking (eg. page views or bounce rate)
  • Social media listening (eg. mentions and sentiments shared on X or Facebook)
  • Customer testimonials (eg. reviews on Amazon or Yelp)
  • Focus groups and interviews (eg. reactions to new products or services)

What software should I use for VoC?

Most of these can be hosted or sourced using CRM software. This is a type of system that is specifically designed to manage buyer interactions and data.

The best tools offer analytics tools that automate your VoC KPIs for a running tab on customer sentiment, such as:

  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): service satisfaction on a numerical scale
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): willingness to recommend a company to others
  • Customer Effort Score (CES): ease of resolving an issue on a numerical scale
  • Customer churn: percentage of customers who stop using your business
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV): total revenue an average customer generates

More recently, brands have also been making use of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create their VoC.

For example, some telephone systems are now smart enough to extract key information and emotions from customer conversations in real-time.

Case study: how your Netflix binge shapes its next big hit

Netflix struck gold when it introduced personalised recommendations to the platform. By analysing the viewing data of millions of users, it is able to fuel its sophisticated algorithm for tailored recommendations and more effective advertising.

Users from the same household might even be shown different film thumbnails, depending on the kind of film genre or lead actor Netflix thinks they are most likely to enjoy watching.

Best practices for gathering VoC data

Data collection requires a thought-out approach to ensure that you source the most accurate and reliable statistics to inform your findings. Here are four techniques to help create a successful VoC data collection strategy:

1. Engage with customers through multiple channels

Every channel attracts a specific group. Gen Zers are more likely to use TikTok as a social media platform, while older generations favour legacy platforms like Facebook.

Diversity of voices is crucial for painting a full picture of your customers and their feelings towards your business. Make sure you pull data from multiple sources for a comprehensive overview.

2. Respect timing and frequency of surveys

Annoying buyers with requests for surveys and forms is a common mistake that VoC programs make. Even the big boys go wrong. HelloFresh, the meal prep delivery platform, was recently fined for sending millions of marketing texts and emails to customers.

However, most customers will happily set aside a few minutes every six months to provide input to your team – especially if they see you acting on their comments and critiques.

3. Create an effective survey

For clear, valuable responses from customers, you need the right survey questions. Before designing the survey, decide what format your audience would most want to interact with.

Keep all queries short, and focused on one point per question to avoid confusion. Consider pre-testing to see how a smaller sample reacts before rolling it out.

4. Incentivise customer participation

It is common practice for many businesses to offer a discount code or freebie to encourage people who fill out surveys. After all, you’re asking people to give up their time and money, so it can’t hurt to reward them for their effort.

Case study: Domino’s incentive program saw customers raking in the dough

In 2009, Domino’s was struggling due to a drop in sales and a rise in negative customer feedback. In response, they launched a revamped website with a webform that offered free pizzas to anyone who aired their opinions on how Domino’s could do better.

Domino’s received thousands of responses which it used to identify areas for improvement, such as pizza quality and delivery times. Meanwhile, customers got their own slice of the pizza pie with a bundle of free boxes for no charge. Win-win.

How to use VoC for business improvement

Customer feedback is often the catalyst for product innovation. Once you know what customers want, you can take steps to action improvements to overall satisfaction, including:

  • Adapting products/services based on customer input: few people know your company better than your everyday users. This familiarity means customers often have the best ideas for how to improve a product or service
  • Enhancing customer support: VoC feedback might reveal areas where your communication is unclear or inconsistent. As a result, customer support teams can refine their knowledge base materials to improve clarity and effectiveness
  • Tailoring marketing strategies to customer preferences: if your customer reviews are raving about a particular design element of your product or service, you’ll know to highlight this as a key pull factor in marketing materials
Case study: when Kim Kardashian became an Instagram product engineer

You might have Kim Kardashian to thank for your favourite Instagram feature. In 2014, the reality TV star tweeted her millions of followers to say she disliked not being able to upload multiple photos to the same post.

In came a loud chorus of customer voices all in agreement that they’d like the feature introduced – and Instagram listened. In 2017, it launched multi-photo posting. The new ability to scroll through pics pleased users and boosted customer engagement rate.

Challenges in VoC implementation

While VoC planning does have the potential to bring big wins to your business, there are still some risks to be aware of. Here are some common obstacles encountered when implementing VoC:

1. Data management

Gathering the data is only half of the battle; next comes knowing what to do with it. Analysing large volumes of data from surveys, social media, reviews, and support calls can be overwhelming if you lack the tools and software to organise them.

2. Addressing feedback

Gaining insights into the areas of your business that need improvement can be frustrating if you’re not sure how to address them – especially for SMEs with limited resources. Change can also be difficult. Some team members may feel unsure about implementing customer ideas.

3. Data quality concerns

Utilising inconsistent or biased customer data can lead to organisations reaching incorrect conclusions, potentially influencing major business decisions. Survey managers should gather data from as many channels as possible to better represent your entire customer base.

4. Data privacy

VoC is a careful balance between personalised experiences and data privacy. VoC surveys should clearly state what data is being collected, why it’s needed, and how it will be used. An opt-in or opt-out feature for future marketing campaigns is common practice.


Using a VoC program gives buyers a voice at the table, inviting them to improve their own experience while helping your business grow.

Without genuine customer input, you’ll be in an echo chamber, reaching conclusions via blind guesses rather than what’s best for the end user.

With more brands crowding the market than ever before, a well-crafted VoC strategy builds a bridge to your customers, leading to a loyal fanbase using its voice to share positive feedback about your company.

Voice of Customer FAQs
  • What is an example of a VoC?
    Social media has given brands a powerful method for researching VoC. Monitoring comments, mentions, and shares lets you see how customers are engaging with your brand, spot common themes or complaints, and estimate what their overall sentiment is.
  • What does the term VoC mean?
    VoC (Voice of Customer) is a marketing term that describes the process of collecting comments and critiques from your customers or clients. Using a VoC program, firms can gather data directly from the user to inform their business decisions.
  • What is the purpose of VoC?
    VoC gives you the high-quality insights and data you need to craft a positive customer experience. Gathering feedback on every aspect of your business model can also tell you what direction to take the company in, making it a useful marketing and strategy tool.
Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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