What Is ‘Voice of Customer’ and How Does It Differ From Feedback?

Lauren Thomas

July 20, 2023



With more choice than ever, it’s never been easier for dissatisfied customers to jump ship to a competing product. It can happen in a mere matter of clicks. 

Worse still, they could voice their dissatisfaction on their way out, on any number of social platforms and review sites.

Against that backdrop, the focus on the Voice of the Customer (VoC) has intensified. Not to be mistaken for traditional customer feedback, VoC is a more holistic approach to monitoring customer satisfaction and preempting churn. 

VP of Customer Marketing & Advocacy and self confessed ‘Customer Success Fanatic’, Ari Hoffman was one of the experts we interviewed for our guide How to Capture the Voice of your Customer with Video.

Here he unpacks the buzz term, why it’s become such a high marketing priority, the difference between VoC and customer feedback.

“The customer is now king. They are the ones in control, so companies have had to reshift their priorities. They need to do right by the customer.”

Why voice of the customer has emerged as a priority

It used to be that the companies were king. 15 years ago, if you bought a product or a service and you had a problem, what could you do? 

Sometimes they had company phone numbers, but oftentimes they were impossible to get through. You could write an email and wait for them to respond. You could write snail mail hoping someone somewhere actually read it. But customer dissatisfaction didn't damage the company, because you bought the product, it was done. 

But now there’s been a big shift in who owns the conversation.

Today, there are so many alternatives it’s easy to switch services. We have the internet and access to all of the information. So if I'm not getting value from your product, I'm leaving before you even know that I'm churning. 

As a customer, I also have the ability to leave reviews. Or I can share my thoughts on social media, and potentially damage a brand. 

That means the customer is now king. They are the ones in control, so companies have had to reshift their priorities. They need to do right by the customer to keep their business and get back the money they invested in acquiring them. This is especially true for the SaaS and subscription model. It's not about the perpetual sale. It's about making sure they get value out of day one.

And how do you measure that at scale? You have a voice of the customer program. VoC is really an early indication system. It's an early indicator to tell you if you are going in the right direction and it helps you identify the bigger macro trends at play. 

How Voice of customer differs from customer feedback

Customer feedback has been around forever. The problem was, a lot of the feedback you captured from questions at the end of customer support calls, feedback hotlines or inboxes was so anecdotal. It was really hard to capture what is happening at the macro level. Especially when you have hundreds of thousands of customers leaving feedback. That kind of data collection and deciphering trends is really hard.

Plus there's certain types of people who leave feedback. You're not hitting the masses. 

VoC helps you to capture a much larger portion of your customer base by deploying questions in consistent scoring models, at scale, and in the moments that matter. 

Instead of following a customer support call with a CS survey, you can use a customer effort score. That will tell you a lot more about the product itself, customer engagement and the experience they are having. Or there’s a net promoter score, which uncovers how likely a customer is to promote this to a colleague or peer. 

If you’re just asking for a score, you can keep the request light. You're able to get that feedback and macro trends, then you can always dive into the individual insights and follow up with more questions. And if you deploy these at parts of their journey where it makes sense, customers are much more likely to share, whether they're a feedback person or not. 

Why video is a crucial component to capturing customer voice

I used to fly around the world interviewing customers. These were customer testimonials, but at the end of each, I’d always ask: “Where did we miss the mark?” And I would always capture this on video because it’s the best way to really drive change.

Audio doesn’t capture the facial expressions. And if you write it down, the emotional component isn't there. So when your product team receives this second hand feedback, it’s easy for them to say it’s not a priority.

But when you capture it on video, you have a catalyst for change. A product team, who might be far removed from customers, can watch that and see a customer’s emotions. It drives results, it drives change. 

I absolutely believe video is fundamental in the way that we advocate for our customers, listen to them and share their feedback internally. 

Voice of customer isn’t just for marketing priority, it’s an organizational-wide priority

For product teams, if you can get closer to the customer, you can understand how customers are engaging with your product and how they feel about it. In the digital age, we have access to so much data and we can leverage it to help us really understand our customers. 

Using everything from sentiment analysis to customer effort scores, net promoter scores and customer satisfaction surveys, you can get an understanding, at scale, for how your customers are feeling towards certain products or services. Then on the promotional side, letting your customers tell their story is powerful because it resonates so much more to potential prospects.

For more expert tips on How to Capture the Voice of your Customer with Video, check out our free guide. As well as Ari, there’s advice from Customer Advocacy experts like Leslie Barrett as well as marketing thought leaders like Devin Reed and Katelyn Bourgoin. Plus question and email templates you can steal to get your VoC program up and running sooner.

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Be sure to book a Vouch demo today and chat with a video content expert.

Lauren Thomas

Lauren Thomas

Head of Content at Vouch

Lights. Camera. Traction

Cut through the noise with video.