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The building blocks of a successful voice of the customer program

Introduction: The rise of the voice of the customer

Think about the last time you complained about a company’s product or service. Maybe you kept it to yourself–ingraining a newfound frustration with the brand in the back of your head–or vented about it to a partner or friend. Or maybe you told the company about it directly, which poses the question: What happened next?

Whether it’s through a “contact us” button, social media post, email, or in-product feedback portal, today’s customers have more of a voice than ever before. Communication is no longer a one-way channel from companies to consumers, and software users not only expect to be able to share feedback, but that this feedback will be heard and acted upon, too. While it’s promising that customers have so many mechanisms with which to share their opinions, it can be difficult for a company to manage and make sense of it all.

When feedback falls through the cracks, gets lost in translation, or doesn’t make it onto prioritization lists, this comes at the organization’s expense. By not taking customers’ feature requests and product ideas into consideration, you’re ignoring the very people whom you’re building the product for in the first place. Not to mention this qualitative data is extremely valuable in informing what you build and helping to drive your business’ growth.

The customer voice is even more critical as nearly every business has shifted their focus to optimizing or building digital capabilities. In a 2020 report from the IBM Institute for Business Value, 84 percent of surveyed executives said that customer experience management will be a high priority over the next two years, compared to only 35 percent just two years ago.

Product teams should always strive to understand and incorporate customers’ needs in everything they build, and this can’t be done effectively without clear strategy, processes, and feedback loops in place. Enter: a voice of the customer program.

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