Six Trends Reshape Voice Of The Customer Programs

One of the most important components of customer experience is a strong voice of the customer (VoC) program. In the past, I’ve written about two core elements of VoC programs: 1) The five levels of customer feedback; and 2) The “LIRM” processes for getting value from the feedback.

My work in this space has uncovered some major shifts; which led me to publish a report called Voice Of The Customer: The Next Generation. To begin with, I’ve found a number of problems with current approaches to VoC programs, the most glaring is that programs are all listen and no action. Companies obsess about the measurements and analysis, but many lack processes for responding to the insights in a closed-loop manner.

Given the current issues with VoC programs and the new capabilities enabled by a host of vendors, I outlined 6 key trends for VoC Programs:

  1. Tapping into unstructured and unsolicited feedback
  2. Integrating social media monitoring
  3. Increasing the tempo of responding
  4. Widening the access to insights
  5. Going beyond metrics to diagnostics
  6. Creating continuous feedback mechanisms.

I can’t go over the entire report in my blog, but I wanted to highlight the first trend. Today, most firms use multiple-choice surveys as the basis for their VoC programs. But there’s a ton of other listening posts that don’t fit into this mold. So companies regularly lose out on critical insights. But new capabilites like text mining, sentiment inference, and social media extraction allow firms to systematically gain insights from unstructured, unsolicited feedback:


These important listening posts include items like inbound emails, calls into the call center, comments on surveys, comments on company blogs, posts and comments on non-company blogs, and feedback on third party sites.

The bottom line: The voice of the customer is too valuable to waste

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

13 thoughts on “Six Trends Reshape Voice Of The Customer Programs”

  1. Bruce, I would agree that you need to look into tapping into unstructured and unsolicited feedback. We have discovered that Customer have a subconscious experience, I wrote about this a while ago in a post It it is this that is unstructured by it’s very nature and very difficult for Customers to even articulate.

  2. Dear Bruce,
    Very analytical posting , post CRM is the CIM, the Customer Involvement Management, all valuable feedbacks and keeping in constant touch with customers are a part of the CIM.

    I do agree with you that enough emphasis must be given for Voice Of The Customer.

    With Warm Regards

  3. Colin’s post on the subconscious experience was quite interesting. Whatever we can do to uncover the true feedback of customers (and incorporate that into processes for changing how we operate), the better. This is all, as Debashish stated, a process of customer “involvement.” Colin and Debashish: Thanks for your comments.

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