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Voice of the 
Customer 
4imprint.com
Voice of the Customer: Marketing mind 
reading at its best 
They buy your products. They use your services. They drive your business, and 
without them your business would be toast. You know who we’re talking about— 
your customers. And you should know more about them. So let’s get inside their 
heads, and learn what they really think about your brand. You need to know 
what keeps them buying and what turns them away. Stop the guesswork and 
tune in with a little marketing mind reading. 
It’s called Voice of the Customer (VoC), and while not new to the marketing 
landscape, it’s receiving greater attention and is changing the customer 
experience (CX) landscape. The VoC method synthesizes all customer feedback 
and provides a complete picture of customer desires. This qualitative and 
quantitative feedback is then used to enhance customer experiences and build 
better customer-brand relationships. The goal is to gather all customer feedback 
from departmental silos so it can be viewed from a holistic organizational 
perspective and through a customer-centric lens. Insights can be used to drive 
change, break down customer barriers and solve problems. 
So what’s the bottom line with VoC? When an organization’s cumulative customer 
feedback is analyzed and acted upon, it can have tremendous, transformative 
power. Tuning into customer wants and needs can drive business, and some 
big players are taking notice. Companies like Jared® and Kay® Jewelers, Tommy 
Bahama®, Delta Airlines®, Starbucks® and 7-Eleven® have incorporated VoC into 
their business practices. And the 2011 State of Customer Experience Report by 
Forrester found that half of large North American companies are implementing 
VoC strategies1. 
VoC is turning heads and gaining recognition as “the pulse of a company”2. In its 
new seat as a marketing “must-have,” Gartner™ is predicting that VoC’s insight 
and value will lead to increased growth and revenue3. And back in 2013 Gartner 
predicted that within the next five years, VoC would be a top strategic business 
investment4. 
1 Burns, Megan, Harley Manning, and Jennifer Peterson. The State Of Customer Experience, 2011 Companies 
Have Lofty Goals But Aren’t Doing What It Takes To Reach Them. Rep. Forrester Research, Inc., 17 Feb. 
2011. Web. 13 Aug. 2014. <http://www.forrester.com/The+State+Of+Customer+Experience+2011/fulltext/-/E-RES58635>. 
2 Santos, Mike. “Mobile And Social Input Impacts Voice Of The Customer Strategies.” Retail TouchPoints. N.p., 
11 Dec. 2011. Web. 06 Oct. 2014. <http://www.retailtouchpoints.com/in-store-insights/1215-mobile-and-social-input- 
© 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved 
impacts-voice-of-the-customer-strategies>. 
3 Ibid. 
4 Ibid.
Where should VoC be put to use? Our answer: Everywhere. It can transform your 
organization from the inside out, and it has huge implications for marketing. VoC 
synthesizes organizational data from any and all channels, so it only makes sense 
that VoC strategy can be used to collect data and enhance customer experience 
through multiple channels. Potential channels include mobile, email, SMS (short 
message service), social media marketing, store-front, service enhancements, 
product improvements, kiosks and a more engaged team, to name a few5. We 
will touch on all of these multiple channels in this Blue Paper® but the focus will 
be on mobile. 
Why focus on mobile? Because what other channel can you be in your customers’ 
pockets, their cars, their workplace, next to their beds and on their Web browsers 
all at once? Mobile is a great fit for VoC because you can collect multiple forms 
of VoC feedback through various mobile platforms, and then use that data to 
strengthen your mobile presence. And mobile’s importance is growing, too. It is 
estimated that U.S. adults will spend 23 percent more time using a smartphone 
in 2014 than the year prior6. The rising usage of smartphones and other Internet-connected 
mobile devices makes a strong mobile strategy more important than 
ever. In fact, a 2012 study from OpinionLab™ and Tealeaf™ found that over 80 
percent of marketing and customer experience professionals say that managing 
mobile customer experience is just as or more important than improving customer 
experience on fixed websites7. 
VoC is gaining momentum due to mobile’s data collection capabilities and 
because it packs potential for serious return on investment (ROI) that makes it 
worth your time. Below are four ways VoC can make a difference. 
1. Customer retention: Keep your current customers by demonstrating that 
your company cares about their needs and wants8. 
2. Attract new customers: Improvements to products/services championed by a 
strong VoC program will intrigue potential customers and drive new sales9. 
3. Increase efficient decision-making: VoC heightens the awareness of your 
customers’ wants to facilitate customer-centric decisions10. 
5 Demou, George. “2014 Top Initiatives in Customer Experience (CX).” Avtex Blog: The Point of Interaction. N.p., 
7 Feb. 2014. Web. 1 Oct. 2014. <http://blog.avtex.com/2014/02/07/2014-top-initiatives-in-customer-experience-cx/>. 
6 “Mobile Continues to Steal Share of US Adults’ Daily Time Spent with Media - EMarketer.” E-marketer. N.p., 22 
Apr. 2014. Web. 27 Aug. 2014. 
7 “Study by OpinionLab and Tealeaf Identifies Mobile Experience as Top Priority in 2012 – OpinionLab – 
OpinionLab – Omnichannel Digital Feedback Management – Voice of Customer Feedback Anytime, 
Anywhere™.” OpinionLab. N.p., 31 Jan. 2013. Web. 27 Aug. 2014. <http://www.opinionlab.com/press_release/ 
study-by-opinionlab-and-tealeaf-identifies-mobile-experience-as-top-priority-in-2012/>. 
8 “Voice of the Customer - Medallia.” Voice of the Customer. Medallia, n.d. Web. 09 Sept. 2014. <http://www. 
medallia.com/voice-of-the-customer/>. 
9 McInnes, Andrew. “Allegiance Blog.” How Voice of Customer VoC Programs Really Deliver ROI Comments. 
Allegiance, 21 Nov. 2013. Web. 09 Sept. 2014. <http://www.allegiance.com/blog/how-voice-of-customer-voc-programs- 
© 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved 
really-deliver-roi/8298>. 
10 Ibid.
4. Build employee engagement: Implementing a VoC strategy empowers 
employees to solve customer problems and re-connects the team to your 
company’s mission11. 
Let’s embark on our mission to master VoC, or marketing mind reading as we 
like to call it. In this Blue Paper we’ll breakdown the VoC cycle into five phases: 
plan, collect, interpret, react and monitor. In each phase we’ll highlight creative 
integration of VoC and mobile with case studies. We’ll also give you a leg up by 
providing takeaways for your own VoC program. 
Phase 1: VoC program planning 
Set yourself up for success. When building a VoC program, a strong foundation 
is essential. Keith Schorah, founder of VoC software firm SynGro®, cautions all 
would-be VoC users: “It is fundamental the VoC program has a clear, focused 
strategy which is directly aligned to the organization’s commercial goals and is 
designed to permeate all aspects of the business. If it doesn’t, the VoC program’s 
success will be limited and most likely temporary.”12 Starting with a strong, 
focused VoC strategy, provides an opportunity to gain a single view of the 
customer, and the ability to re-engineer operations using root-cause analysis. This 
can drive fundamental change13. 
With those wise words from VoC experts, we have a checklist of seven steps for 
completing the VoC cycle planning phase. 
1. Audit your existing data14—Define what customer feedback data you 
have, what data you are collecting and where it comes from. It doesn’t 
make sense to start the collection phase if you don’t know what customer 
feedback data you already have. Ask yourself and your team: What 
customer touch points do you collect data from? What data is coming in 
and what departments “own” it? And where is current data being stored. 
2. Plan for data integration—The most impactful VoC programs integrate VoC 
data and all other business data. VoC data can be used to spot trends in 
existing business data that might not have been apparent if data was siloed. 
In planning your VoC strategy, start by having conversations about best 
methods for integrating new and existing data. Also, consider integrating 
11 Robson, Andrew. “Employee Engagement: An Undervalued Source of VoC ROI.” Customer Interactions Blog. 
© 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved 
NICE Systems, 13 Mar. 2013. Web. 09 Sept. 2014. 
12 Davey, Neil. “Listen Up: How to Build a Voice of the Customer Strategy.” My Customer. N.p., 10 Apr. 2013. 
Web. 15 Aug. 2014. <http://www.mycustomer.com/feature/experience/listen-how-build-voice-customer-strategy/ 
164752>. 
13 Ibid. 
14 Ibid.
VoC data with existing customer relationship management (CRM) programs 
to empower your sales staff. 
3. Get buy-in from key execs—Don’t forget this crucial step. Getting executive 
buy-in helps get all departments on board, and even more importantly it 
helps ensure that the final strategy aligns with business goals. VoC can only 
drive change when it aligns with and contributes to business level goals15. 
4. Make it someone’s job—Utilizing VoC to its full potential can be a 
complicated undertaking. Do yourself a favor and appoint a responsible 
VoC manager. The VoC manager keeps everyone on track and keeps VoC 
initiatives moving forward. 
5. Map the customer journey—Get a better understanding of your customers’ 
experiences. Start by looking at your customers’ mobile context and then 
map the entire customer journey16. Mobile context includes: 
a. Customer location when they use your mobile services; 
b. Customer user preferences; 
c. Situations users face while interacting with your organization; 
d. Customer history; 
e. Any personal decisions shared with you or social media networks17. 
Mobile experience can be enriched using a context profile to deliver 
relevant content. Delta Airlines’ app, for example, provides examples of 
customer context in action. At Delta, a frequent flyer can access his or 
her real-time placement on an upcoming flight wait-list18. The customer’s 
situational factors such as current location and local environmental 
conditions are also considered. When a flyer launches the Delta app, 
Delta delivers a countdown to departure time19. 
Customer context is a helpful first step in mapping the journey. Completing 
a customer journey map provides the full picture of how customers 
complete a transaction with your company20. Your customers’ journeys 
may be complex. They might involve multiple channels and devices. Some 
times customers’ experience touch areas that we, as marketers, may not be 
15 Ibid. 
16 Hammond, Jeffrey. “9 Challenges To Your Mobile App Strategy - InformationWeek.” InformationWeek. N.p., 
30 Apr. 2013. Web. 15 Aug. 2014. <http://www.informationweek.com/mobile/9-challenges-to-your-mobile-app- 
© 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved 
strategy/d/d-id/1109754>. 
17 Ibid. 
18 Ibid. 
19 Ibid. 
20 Davey, Neil. “Listen Up: How to Build a Voice of the Customer Strategy.”My Customer. N.p., 10 Apr. 2013. 
Web. 15 Aug. 2014. <http://www.mycustomer.com/feature/experience/listen-how-build-voice-customer-strategy/ 
164752>.
aware of. Using customer immersion tactics can help uncover any hidden 
touch points. Listen to real customer calls from your call center or call into 
your own call center without revealing who you are. Have your team watch 
customers in one of your retail locations. Go out and purchase your product 
and watch for roadblocks. Take notes on your experience and ask yourself: 
a. Was my problem resolved? 
b. How long did I wait? 
c. What frustrations did the customers around me experience? 
d. What positive attributes did my fellow customers express 
© 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved 
as I listened? 
These customer immersion exercises can help reconnect your team with 
your primary audience—your customers. With a fresh perspective on your 
customers, you’re ready to complete the customer journey map and add any 
new touch points you discovered. The journey map matters because you will 
want to monitor, measure and report on customers’ experiences at every 
touch point along the way21. 
6. Create an effective strategic objective—Once everyone is on board and 
you have completed your customer journey map, you can define your VoC 
objective. There is no point in investing resources and collecting all of this 
new data without a strong objective that is both actionable and directly 
tied to business goals22. Doing so helps the entire organization see the 
value of VoC. A clear objective helps all departments visualize how they 
can support the program23. 
7. Eliminate “action loops”24—Don’t collect the data if there is not an activity 
planned to test your findings. Do something with your findings and make 
sure your strategy has action baked in. 
Get started tip: As you work through the VoC cycle, time and time again, you 
won’t use all of these planning phase tips each time. Your due diligence will 
have paid off and your program will be up and running. However, we caution 
you not to overlook the planning phase entirely. Each new VoC initiative will 
require careful planning to make sure you are collecting the correct data for your 
intended action. 
21 Ibid. 
22 Ibid. 
23 Ibid. 
24 Ibid.
Phase 2: VoC data collection 
Get the insights you want from customer feedback by understanding what the 
data entails and making the right data collection decisions. Let’s break down 
what’s inside customer feedback. Upon collection, customer feedback becomes 
a detailed set of customer needs and wants in their own words25. We’ll use 
hypothetical customer feedback from a restaurant, a clothing boutique and a 
consumer product goods company to illustrate this concept. 
Restaurant example—“I enjoyed the meal, but service was slow and the wait staff 
lacked personality.” 
Clothing boutique example—“Loved the colors you put out this season, but 
when I was in the store I had trouble locating my size. Luckily, your great sales 
staff was available to help me out.” 
Consumer product goods example—“Product worked well, but it took me 
a while to figure out how to use it. Great packaging though!” 
In just one to two sentences, we learned about the quality of a meal, personality 
and helpfulness of wait staff/sales staff, store layout and product placement 
effectiveness, product functionality and product-use learning curve. We didn’t 
just learn about products and services, we got a glimpse of the customers’ 
expectations, needs and requirements. 
So what data do you need? It depends on your VoC goals. Use your data audit 
and customer journey map to determine what information you are missing? 
You also want to consider what data might be helpful in executing current or 
future initiatives. 
Once you decide what data you need, it is time to determine what collection 
methods will produce the desired information. Think about the collection 
method and the collection channel. And don’t forget about mobile. Your mobile 
presence can provide the data you are looking for. Mobile technology gives us an 
entirely new venue for collecting VoC feedback from customers via social media 
monitoring, enterprise feedback management, website interactions, surveys, 
speech analytics, text mining and Web analytics to provide a holistic view of your 
customer’s voice26. 
25 Gaskin, Steven P., Abbie Griffin, John R. Hauser, Gerald M. Katz, and Robert L. Klein. “Voice of the Customer.” 
(2011): n. pag. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Web. 21 Aug. 2014. <http://web.mit.edu/hauser/www/ 
Papers/Gaskin_Griffin_Hauser_et_al%20VOC%20Encyclopedia%202011.pdf>. 
26 “Voice of the Customer (VOC).” IT Glossary. Gartner, Inc., n.d. Web. 13 Aug. 2014. <http%3A%2F%2Fwww. 
gartner.com%2Fit-glossary%2Fvoice-of-the-customer-voc%2F>. 
© 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
You can get creative in your data collection, too. Supplement traditional 
interviews by asking social media followers to participate in Skype® or Google+® 
interviews. Considering surveys to collect feedback? Use online surveys via 
your mobile website or app. Data from your Web analytics and social media 
interactions provide essential data at other touch points, too. In the interpret 
phase we will discuss tools to help you dissect your data. 
Signet Jewelers, owners of both Jared and Kay Jewelers, gives us a peek at how 
the right VoC data can make a difference for multiple marketing initiatives. A few 
years ago, Signet embarked on its own VoC journey—unsure what they would 
discover. Using customer segmentation analysis, surveys and in-store observations, 
the team, in partnership with IBM Interactive®, identified opportunities to 
replicate the in-store experience in an online environment27. Using this new 
customer data, Signet designed and developed an intuitive website experience for 
customers. New social media profiles and a mobile website were also launched28. 
Customers can now compare items side-by-side, talk to a sales representative and 
check their credit balance no matter where they are shopping from—inside the 
store, online or via mobile29. The company is head over heels in love with the VoC 
strategy because following launch, 2012 holiday sales increased 49 percent over 
the same period in 201130. 
Get started tip: Base data collection on the customer journey map you created 
in the planning phase to ensure that you are capturing data at as many touch 
points as possible. Can’t hit all of your touch points? Start by gathering data 
that helps support your VoC objective. 
Phase 3: Data interpretation 
You’ve been collecting data. Now what? First, data organization and then, data 
prioritization. Random categorization doesn’t get us very far in understanding 
what the data means. But luckily, Griffin and Hauser, VoC research pioneers, 
created a customer feedback analysis framework to help. In this framework all 
customer needs are categorized as primary, secondary and tertiary31. Primary 
needs are composed of the ten top-level needs articulated by customers32. For 
example, if you were on the marketing team for a local restaurant looking to 
incorporate the VoC into a marketing plan, your customers’ hypothetical primary 
needs could be: 
27 Berg, Neal. “The Omni-Channel Retail Experience, or How Kay and Jared Jewelers Upped Sales 
49%.” MarketingProfs. N.p., 4 Apr. 2013. Web. 27 Aug. 2014. <http://www.marketingprofs.com/ 
articles/2013/10473/the-omni-channel-retail-experience-or-how-kay-and-jared-jewelers-upped-sales-49>. 
28 Ibid. 
29 Ibid. 
30 Ibid. 
31 Griffin, Abbie, and John R. Hauser. “The Voice of the Customer.” Marketing Science 12.1 (1993): 1-27. JSTOR. 
© 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved 
Web. 25 Aug. 2014. 
32 Ibid.
© 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved 
• Restaurant selection 
• Getting to the restaurant 
• Food options and menu 
• Restaurant building 
• Restaurant interior 
• Restaurant experience 
These needs may carry enough weight to be used in setting a strategic 
organizational or marketing direction. Secondary needs are considered tactical 
because they expand the primary need, and provide an approach for satisfying 
the primary need. Using our sample restaurant again, secondary needs could 
resemble the following: 
• Restaurant selection: Easy-to-access menu information online and 
table availability 
• Getting to the restaurant: Good location and accessible, safe parking 
• Food options and menu: Food quality, entrée specials and menu options 
for diners with dietary restrictions 
• Restaurant building: Outdoor signage and indoor traffic flow 
• Inside the restaurant: Clean restrooms and great atmosphere 
• Restaurant experience: Helpful, friendly wait staff and a fun experience 
Looking only at the restaurant selection category, the secondary needs reveal why 
customers might choose the restaurant over another if it is easy to access menu 
information online and they can get a table. Our restaurant team can then use 
those requirements in their efforts to drive restaurant traffic. 
Moving on to the third category, the tertiary needs. These needs are more 
operational in nature and provide details for making physical changes to the 
product, service or surrounding messaging33. Back to our restaurant again, 
a tertiary need might be an updated, mobile-friendly website or customer 
experience training for wait staff. 
Want even deeper analysis and interpretation? Many VoC vendors provide tools 
to increase your mind reading power with deeper analysis and interpretation. 
Many of the online survey tools you are familiar with have some interpretation 
capabilities built right in. Graphical representation of your data results is common 
and some track your customer satisfaction score over time34. Text mining is also 
a great tool for increased richness in survey data and other Web content. These 
software tools identify themes and relationships between survey text and other 
33 Ibid. 
34 Beard, Ross. “9 Customer Feedback Software Tools: Comparison & Review.” Client Heartbeat Blog. Client 
Heartbeat, 14 July 2014. Web. 10 Sept. 2014. <http://blog.clientheartbeat.com/customer-feedback-software/>.
content. Social media monitoring tools are helpful for interacting with customer 
thoughts in the social sphere. Additional tools embedded within a monitoring 
system vary by vendor, and some offer sentiment analysis or opinion mining. 
Accessing the feelings behind a tweet, comment or review, gives you more 
profound understanding of your customers’ thoughts and intent. Depending on 
the complexities of your in-office data analysis procedures you may also want 
to run this data against existing business data to identify new opportunities or 
confirm trends. 
No team can tackle all customer needs at once, nor would they want to. And not 
all wants and needs carry the same weight. After you complete categorization 
and any interpretation, all customer needs can be prioritized. After prioritization, 
the recently interpreted VoC data is ready for use in the reaction phase. 
Getting started: Great news! You don’t have to purchase expensive interpretation 
software programs. Uncover the meaning in VoC data by organizing customer 
feedback by primary, secondary and tertiary needs. Look into additional 
interpretation tools, and make sure to incorporate any data analysis capabilities 
your team has. Before partnering with vendors offering VoC data interpretation 
solutions, use caution. It is acknowledged that this market is still young and that 
marketers should be careful when choosing vendors. 
Phase 4: The reaction phase 
You’ve collected and interpreted your data, and wow—you’ve learned a ton 
about your customers. What’s next? It is time to put what you’ve learned to 
use. This phase is two-fold because your team will use your data to implement 
actions baked into the VoC process during the planning phase. You may also be 
reacting to surprises that emerged from the data during the interpretation phase. 
Be prepared to tackle both planned and unplanned action. When executing 
planned initiatives or reacting to a customer issue the data uncovered, both are 
opportunities for your team to improve overall customer experience. And that is 
the real beauty and power of the VoC cycle—a force that pushes your company to 
become increasingly customer-centric with every pass through the cycle. 
This phase is a chance to utilize your team’s creative juices. Your brand is 
one-of-a-kind, and you solve problems for your customer in a completely 
organic way. And if you haven’t been, the use of VoC is the perfect opportunity 
to start. Your customers have an organic perspective about your performance. 
And your team knows your organization like no one else. When using VoC to 
improve customer experience, let the data guide you to creative solutions for 
eliminating pain points. Help your customers have a fun, engaging and organic 
brand experience. 
© 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
Sound a little intimidating? No worries. You are now reading your customers’ 
minds … to some extent. You’ve got this. But we wouldn’t leave you without 
some tools to help facilitate these creative solutions. Tommy Bahama is one brand 
using a Customer Experience Management (CEM) tool to react to any unexpected 
VoC data in the moment. With the goal of improving the overall in-store and 
online shopper experience, Tommy Bahama installed “listening” kiosks connected 
to its CEM tool throughout the store in the second quarter of 201435. These 
kiosks allow customers to provide feedback without seeking a sales associate. 
The feedback is then provided in real-time to the store teams who can jump in 
and resolve issues before the customer leaves the store. This real-time reaction 
approach is helping Tommy Bahama improve brand loyalty. 
Speaking of brand loyalty, many of us have earned a gold star or two by 
paying for delicious frothy beverages with our Starbucks app, and Starbucks 
is using VoC to facilitate an in-app loyalty program and in-store experiences. 
Starbucks uses their website, www.mystarbucksidea.com, to collect masses of 
VoC data. Customers submit ideas for improvements, and then the Starbucks 
team continuously reports on how those ideas make an impact. One recently 
implemented “My Starbucks Ideas” is being used to improve customers’ mobile 
experience. The new feature sends app users email reminders of their earned 
free drinks within the loyalty program36. This example demonstrates how 
creativity can influence data collection and reaction within the VoC process. 
7-Eleven is another example of a company using multiple tools and creativity 
to collect and react to VoC data. 7-Eleven wanted to build greater emotional 
attachment among customers to boost customer engagement and sales. To reach 
this objective they launched real-time CRM technology tied to a customer loyalty 
program within their mobile app37. The company crowd-sourced VoC research, 
and discovered that many customers have favorite Slurpee™ flavors, but didn’t 
know what flavors were available in each store38. Once this was identified as a 
pain point for customers, the 7-Eleven team started collecting daily flavor data 
from franchise locations and rolling the data into the mobile app for customer 
use. This new functionality cost the 7-Eleven team very little to develop, but it 
solved a big pain point dealing with one of their most popular products. 7-Eleven 
demonstrates that all organizations can get actionable customer feedback even if 
customers spend little time or money in the company’s physical and digital space. 
35 Floretta, Alicia. “Tommy Bahama Collects Real-Time Feedback With Medallia - Retail TouchPoints.” Tommy 
Bahama Collects Real-Time Feedback With Medallia - Retail TouchPoints. Retail Touchpoints, 11 July 2014. 
Web. 11 Sept. 2014. <http://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-success-stories/tommy-bahama-collects-real- 
© 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved 
time-feedback-with-medallia>. 
36 Starbucks Coffee.” Ideas In Action Blog. Starbucks, 7 Aug. 2014. Web. 03 Sept. 2014. <http://blogs.starbucks. 
com/blogs/Customer/default.aspx>. 
37 De Haff, Michelle. “How the Voice of the Customer Is Driving Strategy Inside 7-Eleven - Medallia.” Medallia. 
N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Aug. 2014. <http://blog.medallia.com/customer-experience/voice-of-the-customer-driving-strategy- 
inside-7-eleven/>. 
38 Ibid.
Getting started tip: The action your team takes in this phase will vary based on 
what the data reveals about customer pain points and satisfaction. Take this 
opportunity to better your company and please your customers. Feel inspired by 
the examples above in that a dose of creativity can go a long way in improving 
the experience you offer up to customers. 
Phase 5: Monitoring 
Time to demonstrate the value of your VoC program with mind-reading 
measurement and analysis. In this phase we see the importance of tying your 
actions to overall business goals. As you monitor data being collected and 
customer response to your customer experience efforts, metrics are a must. 
How else will you measure whether or not your action is improving the 
customer journey? 
Many of the collection, interpretation and reaction tools we discussed include 
dashboards to help you monitor data and progress at all times. Before launching 
your VoC program, make sure to use existing respondent data to benchmark 
against new data and metrics. Benchmarking should help you visualize progress as 
your VoC program takes off. 
Wondering how to decide what metrics matter and how to prove the worth of 
your VoC program? It isn’t so complicated. Use metrics that match your overall 
strategic objective and tie the program to key business goals. Without overall 
objective measurement, you cannot really demonstrate your program’s impact. 
When aligning metrics with business goals, remember that money talks and 
that it is always important to continuously demonstrate ROI. Consider including 
commercial measures such as average customer spend, share of wallet, account 
profitability etc. Including these financial elements may help your VoC program 
prove its worth39. 
Additionally, embedding measurement at every customer touch point can help 
your team identify specific pain points and systemic problems. When trying 
to quantify the overall customer journey, go beyond customer satisfaction. 
Measure customer expectation. Why? Customer satisfaction does not prove 
customer loyalty. The myth that customer satisfaction equates to customer 
loyalty was debunked back in 1995 by a Harvard Business Review® study. The 
study looked at satisfied bank account holders compared to unsatisfied account 
holders. Researchers, Thomas and Sasser, found that in one year, 5.8 percent of 
unsatisfied customers closed their accounts and 6 percent of extremely satisfied 
© 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved 
39 Ibid.
customers closed their accounts40. This demonstrates that satisfied customers 
don’t guarantee loyal customers. Therefore, customer expectation might be a 
more helpful metric. Asking your customers if your service line or new feature 
implemented during the reaction phase meets their expectations is more telling 
than customer satisfaction metrics41. 
In the digital realm, Google® Digital Marketing Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik, 
recommends metrics in at least the acquisition, behavior and outcomes touch 
points of a customer’s digital journey42. In each phase Kaushik recommends the 
metrics outlined in the following figure. 
Figure 2. Metrics in three phases across the digital customer journey43 
There are so many metrics available. The important thing is to find out what 
matters to your business and measure, measure, measure. 
Getting started: Demonstrating value and ROI of a VoC program is no small task, 
but let your overall objective, business goals and customer journey direct you and 
help choose the right metrics to monitor your VoC progress. Remember this is by 
no means a definitive listing of metrics, but instead a listing of some metrics that 
could potentially be helpful. 
Ready to implement your own VoC cycle? 
As you analyze results from your monitor phase, your team can now take 
everything you learned throughout the VoC cycle to start the cycle anew. Working 
through the cycle time and time again can help create more engaged customers, 
a staff connected with your organizational mission and continued organizational 
transformation in your quest to become a customer-centric company. You might 
not be a VoC expert yet, but you are now equipped with the knowledge to 
40 Jones, Thomas O., and W. Earl Sasser, Jr. “Why Satisfied Customers Defect.”Harvard Business Review. N.p., Nov. 
1995. Web. 28 Aug. 2014. <http://hbr.org/1995/11/why-satisfied-customers-defect/ar/1>. 
41 Beard, Ross. “Customer Satisfaction Metrics: 6 Metrics You Need to Be Tracking.” Client Heartbeat Blog. N.p., 
2 Sept. 2013. Web. 28 Aug. 2014. <http://blog.clientheartbeat.com/customer-satisfaction-metrics-6-metrics-you- 
© 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved 
need-to-be-tracking/>. 
42 Kaushik, Avinash. “Best Metrics For Digital Marketing: Rock Your Own And Rent Strategies.” Occams Razor 
by Avinash Kaushik. Google, 25 Mar. 2014. Web. 28 Aug. 2014. <http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/best-web-metrics- 
digital-marketing-own-rent-strategies/>. 
43 Ibid.
start some key conversations that will help your company determine if 
implementing a VoC program is a good fit. Remember that VoC is not the 
silver bullet for organizational and mobile improvement. However, with 
increasing technology, the consumer voice is louder than ever, and the 
use of consumer feedback for continuous improvement can help guide an 
organization into the customer-centric future if implemented correctly. 
4imprint serves more than 100,000 businesses with innovative promotional items throughout the United States, 
Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland. Its product offerings include giveaways, business gifts, personalized gifts, 
embroidered apparel, promotional pens, travel mugs, tote bags, water bottles, Post-it Notes, custom calendars, 
and many other promotional items. For additional information, log on to www.4imprint.com. 
© 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved

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Voice of the Customer Blue Paper

  • 1. Voice of the Customer 4imprint.com
  • 2. Voice of the Customer: Marketing mind reading at its best They buy your products. They use your services. They drive your business, and without them your business would be toast. You know who we’re talking about— your customers. And you should know more about them. So let’s get inside their heads, and learn what they really think about your brand. You need to know what keeps them buying and what turns them away. Stop the guesswork and tune in with a little marketing mind reading. It’s called Voice of the Customer (VoC), and while not new to the marketing landscape, it’s receiving greater attention and is changing the customer experience (CX) landscape. The VoC method synthesizes all customer feedback and provides a complete picture of customer desires. This qualitative and quantitative feedback is then used to enhance customer experiences and build better customer-brand relationships. The goal is to gather all customer feedback from departmental silos so it can be viewed from a holistic organizational perspective and through a customer-centric lens. Insights can be used to drive change, break down customer barriers and solve problems. So what’s the bottom line with VoC? When an organization’s cumulative customer feedback is analyzed and acted upon, it can have tremendous, transformative power. Tuning into customer wants and needs can drive business, and some big players are taking notice. Companies like Jared® and Kay® Jewelers, Tommy Bahama®, Delta Airlines®, Starbucks® and 7-Eleven® have incorporated VoC into their business practices. And the 2011 State of Customer Experience Report by Forrester found that half of large North American companies are implementing VoC strategies1. VoC is turning heads and gaining recognition as “the pulse of a company”2. In its new seat as a marketing “must-have,” Gartner™ is predicting that VoC’s insight and value will lead to increased growth and revenue3. And back in 2013 Gartner predicted that within the next five years, VoC would be a top strategic business investment4. 1 Burns, Megan, Harley Manning, and Jennifer Peterson. The State Of Customer Experience, 2011 Companies Have Lofty Goals But Aren’t Doing What It Takes To Reach Them. Rep. Forrester Research, Inc., 17 Feb. 2011. Web. 13 Aug. 2014. <http://www.forrester.com/The+State+Of+Customer+Experience+2011/fulltext/-/E-RES58635>. 2 Santos, Mike. “Mobile And Social Input Impacts Voice Of The Customer Strategies.” Retail TouchPoints. N.p., 11 Dec. 2011. Web. 06 Oct. 2014. <http://www.retailtouchpoints.com/in-store-insights/1215-mobile-and-social-input- © 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved impacts-voice-of-the-customer-strategies>. 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid.
  • 3. Where should VoC be put to use? Our answer: Everywhere. It can transform your organization from the inside out, and it has huge implications for marketing. VoC synthesizes organizational data from any and all channels, so it only makes sense that VoC strategy can be used to collect data and enhance customer experience through multiple channels. Potential channels include mobile, email, SMS (short message service), social media marketing, store-front, service enhancements, product improvements, kiosks and a more engaged team, to name a few5. We will touch on all of these multiple channels in this Blue Paper® but the focus will be on mobile. Why focus on mobile? Because what other channel can you be in your customers’ pockets, their cars, their workplace, next to their beds and on their Web browsers all at once? Mobile is a great fit for VoC because you can collect multiple forms of VoC feedback through various mobile platforms, and then use that data to strengthen your mobile presence. And mobile’s importance is growing, too. It is estimated that U.S. adults will spend 23 percent more time using a smartphone in 2014 than the year prior6. The rising usage of smartphones and other Internet-connected mobile devices makes a strong mobile strategy more important than ever. In fact, a 2012 study from OpinionLab™ and Tealeaf™ found that over 80 percent of marketing and customer experience professionals say that managing mobile customer experience is just as or more important than improving customer experience on fixed websites7. VoC is gaining momentum due to mobile’s data collection capabilities and because it packs potential for serious return on investment (ROI) that makes it worth your time. Below are four ways VoC can make a difference. 1. Customer retention: Keep your current customers by demonstrating that your company cares about their needs and wants8. 2. Attract new customers: Improvements to products/services championed by a strong VoC program will intrigue potential customers and drive new sales9. 3. Increase efficient decision-making: VoC heightens the awareness of your customers’ wants to facilitate customer-centric decisions10. 5 Demou, George. “2014 Top Initiatives in Customer Experience (CX).” Avtex Blog: The Point of Interaction. N.p., 7 Feb. 2014. Web. 1 Oct. 2014. <http://blog.avtex.com/2014/02/07/2014-top-initiatives-in-customer-experience-cx/>. 6 “Mobile Continues to Steal Share of US Adults’ Daily Time Spent with Media - EMarketer.” E-marketer. N.p., 22 Apr. 2014. Web. 27 Aug. 2014. 7 “Study by OpinionLab and Tealeaf Identifies Mobile Experience as Top Priority in 2012 – OpinionLab – OpinionLab – Omnichannel Digital Feedback Management – Voice of Customer Feedback Anytime, Anywhere™.” OpinionLab. N.p., 31 Jan. 2013. Web. 27 Aug. 2014. <http://www.opinionlab.com/press_release/ study-by-opinionlab-and-tealeaf-identifies-mobile-experience-as-top-priority-in-2012/>. 8 “Voice of the Customer - Medallia.” Voice of the Customer. Medallia, n.d. Web. 09 Sept. 2014. <http://www. medallia.com/voice-of-the-customer/>. 9 McInnes, Andrew. “Allegiance Blog.” How Voice of Customer VoC Programs Really Deliver ROI Comments. Allegiance, 21 Nov. 2013. Web. 09 Sept. 2014. <http://www.allegiance.com/blog/how-voice-of-customer-voc-programs- © 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved really-deliver-roi/8298>. 10 Ibid.
  • 4. 4. Build employee engagement: Implementing a VoC strategy empowers employees to solve customer problems and re-connects the team to your company’s mission11. Let’s embark on our mission to master VoC, or marketing mind reading as we like to call it. In this Blue Paper we’ll breakdown the VoC cycle into five phases: plan, collect, interpret, react and monitor. In each phase we’ll highlight creative integration of VoC and mobile with case studies. We’ll also give you a leg up by providing takeaways for your own VoC program. Phase 1: VoC program planning Set yourself up for success. When building a VoC program, a strong foundation is essential. Keith Schorah, founder of VoC software firm SynGro®, cautions all would-be VoC users: “It is fundamental the VoC program has a clear, focused strategy which is directly aligned to the organization’s commercial goals and is designed to permeate all aspects of the business. If it doesn’t, the VoC program’s success will be limited and most likely temporary.”12 Starting with a strong, focused VoC strategy, provides an opportunity to gain a single view of the customer, and the ability to re-engineer operations using root-cause analysis. This can drive fundamental change13. With those wise words from VoC experts, we have a checklist of seven steps for completing the VoC cycle planning phase. 1. Audit your existing data14—Define what customer feedback data you have, what data you are collecting and where it comes from. It doesn’t make sense to start the collection phase if you don’t know what customer feedback data you already have. Ask yourself and your team: What customer touch points do you collect data from? What data is coming in and what departments “own” it? And where is current data being stored. 2. Plan for data integration—The most impactful VoC programs integrate VoC data and all other business data. VoC data can be used to spot trends in existing business data that might not have been apparent if data was siloed. In planning your VoC strategy, start by having conversations about best methods for integrating new and existing data. Also, consider integrating 11 Robson, Andrew. “Employee Engagement: An Undervalued Source of VoC ROI.” Customer Interactions Blog. © 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved NICE Systems, 13 Mar. 2013. Web. 09 Sept. 2014. 12 Davey, Neil. “Listen Up: How to Build a Voice of the Customer Strategy.” My Customer. N.p., 10 Apr. 2013. Web. 15 Aug. 2014. <http://www.mycustomer.com/feature/experience/listen-how-build-voice-customer-strategy/ 164752>. 13 Ibid. 14 Ibid.
  • 5. VoC data with existing customer relationship management (CRM) programs to empower your sales staff. 3. Get buy-in from key execs—Don’t forget this crucial step. Getting executive buy-in helps get all departments on board, and even more importantly it helps ensure that the final strategy aligns with business goals. VoC can only drive change when it aligns with and contributes to business level goals15. 4. Make it someone’s job—Utilizing VoC to its full potential can be a complicated undertaking. Do yourself a favor and appoint a responsible VoC manager. The VoC manager keeps everyone on track and keeps VoC initiatives moving forward. 5. Map the customer journey—Get a better understanding of your customers’ experiences. Start by looking at your customers’ mobile context and then map the entire customer journey16. Mobile context includes: a. Customer location when they use your mobile services; b. Customer user preferences; c. Situations users face while interacting with your organization; d. Customer history; e. Any personal decisions shared with you or social media networks17. Mobile experience can be enriched using a context profile to deliver relevant content. Delta Airlines’ app, for example, provides examples of customer context in action. At Delta, a frequent flyer can access his or her real-time placement on an upcoming flight wait-list18. The customer’s situational factors such as current location and local environmental conditions are also considered. When a flyer launches the Delta app, Delta delivers a countdown to departure time19. Customer context is a helpful first step in mapping the journey. Completing a customer journey map provides the full picture of how customers complete a transaction with your company20. Your customers’ journeys may be complex. They might involve multiple channels and devices. Some times customers’ experience touch areas that we, as marketers, may not be 15 Ibid. 16 Hammond, Jeffrey. “9 Challenges To Your Mobile App Strategy - InformationWeek.” InformationWeek. N.p., 30 Apr. 2013. Web. 15 Aug. 2014. <http://www.informationweek.com/mobile/9-challenges-to-your-mobile-app- © 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved strategy/d/d-id/1109754>. 17 Ibid. 18 Ibid. 19 Ibid. 20 Davey, Neil. “Listen Up: How to Build a Voice of the Customer Strategy.”My Customer. N.p., 10 Apr. 2013. Web. 15 Aug. 2014. <http://www.mycustomer.com/feature/experience/listen-how-build-voice-customer-strategy/ 164752>.
  • 6. aware of. Using customer immersion tactics can help uncover any hidden touch points. Listen to real customer calls from your call center or call into your own call center without revealing who you are. Have your team watch customers in one of your retail locations. Go out and purchase your product and watch for roadblocks. Take notes on your experience and ask yourself: a. Was my problem resolved? b. How long did I wait? c. What frustrations did the customers around me experience? d. What positive attributes did my fellow customers express © 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved as I listened? These customer immersion exercises can help reconnect your team with your primary audience—your customers. With a fresh perspective on your customers, you’re ready to complete the customer journey map and add any new touch points you discovered. The journey map matters because you will want to monitor, measure and report on customers’ experiences at every touch point along the way21. 6. Create an effective strategic objective—Once everyone is on board and you have completed your customer journey map, you can define your VoC objective. There is no point in investing resources and collecting all of this new data without a strong objective that is both actionable and directly tied to business goals22. Doing so helps the entire organization see the value of VoC. A clear objective helps all departments visualize how they can support the program23. 7. Eliminate “action loops”24—Don’t collect the data if there is not an activity planned to test your findings. Do something with your findings and make sure your strategy has action baked in. Get started tip: As you work through the VoC cycle, time and time again, you won’t use all of these planning phase tips each time. Your due diligence will have paid off and your program will be up and running. However, we caution you not to overlook the planning phase entirely. Each new VoC initiative will require careful planning to make sure you are collecting the correct data for your intended action. 21 Ibid. 22 Ibid. 23 Ibid. 24 Ibid.
  • 7. Phase 2: VoC data collection Get the insights you want from customer feedback by understanding what the data entails and making the right data collection decisions. Let’s break down what’s inside customer feedback. Upon collection, customer feedback becomes a detailed set of customer needs and wants in their own words25. We’ll use hypothetical customer feedback from a restaurant, a clothing boutique and a consumer product goods company to illustrate this concept. Restaurant example—“I enjoyed the meal, but service was slow and the wait staff lacked personality.” Clothing boutique example—“Loved the colors you put out this season, but when I was in the store I had trouble locating my size. Luckily, your great sales staff was available to help me out.” Consumer product goods example—“Product worked well, but it took me a while to figure out how to use it. Great packaging though!” In just one to two sentences, we learned about the quality of a meal, personality and helpfulness of wait staff/sales staff, store layout and product placement effectiveness, product functionality and product-use learning curve. We didn’t just learn about products and services, we got a glimpse of the customers’ expectations, needs and requirements. So what data do you need? It depends on your VoC goals. Use your data audit and customer journey map to determine what information you are missing? You also want to consider what data might be helpful in executing current or future initiatives. Once you decide what data you need, it is time to determine what collection methods will produce the desired information. Think about the collection method and the collection channel. And don’t forget about mobile. Your mobile presence can provide the data you are looking for. Mobile technology gives us an entirely new venue for collecting VoC feedback from customers via social media monitoring, enterprise feedback management, website interactions, surveys, speech analytics, text mining and Web analytics to provide a holistic view of your customer’s voice26. 25 Gaskin, Steven P., Abbie Griffin, John R. Hauser, Gerald M. Katz, and Robert L. Klein. “Voice of the Customer.” (2011): n. pag. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Web. 21 Aug. 2014. <http://web.mit.edu/hauser/www/ Papers/Gaskin_Griffin_Hauser_et_al%20VOC%20Encyclopedia%202011.pdf>. 26 “Voice of the Customer (VOC).” IT Glossary. Gartner, Inc., n.d. Web. 13 Aug. 2014. <http%3A%2F%2Fwww. gartner.com%2Fit-glossary%2Fvoice-of-the-customer-voc%2F>. © 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
  • 8. You can get creative in your data collection, too. Supplement traditional interviews by asking social media followers to participate in Skype® or Google+® interviews. Considering surveys to collect feedback? Use online surveys via your mobile website or app. Data from your Web analytics and social media interactions provide essential data at other touch points, too. In the interpret phase we will discuss tools to help you dissect your data. Signet Jewelers, owners of both Jared and Kay Jewelers, gives us a peek at how the right VoC data can make a difference for multiple marketing initiatives. A few years ago, Signet embarked on its own VoC journey—unsure what they would discover. Using customer segmentation analysis, surveys and in-store observations, the team, in partnership with IBM Interactive®, identified opportunities to replicate the in-store experience in an online environment27. Using this new customer data, Signet designed and developed an intuitive website experience for customers. New social media profiles and a mobile website were also launched28. Customers can now compare items side-by-side, talk to a sales representative and check their credit balance no matter where they are shopping from—inside the store, online or via mobile29. The company is head over heels in love with the VoC strategy because following launch, 2012 holiday sales increased 49 percent over the same period in 201130. Get started tip: Base data collection on the customer journey map you created in the planning phase to ensure that you are capturing data at as many touch points as possible. Can’t hit all of your touch points? Start by gathering data that helps support your VoC objective. Phase 3: Data interpretation You’ve been collecting data. Now what? First, data organization and then, data prioritization. Random categorization doesn’t get us very far in understanding what the data means. But luckily, Griffin and Hauser, VoC research pioneers, created a customer feedback analysis framework to help. In this framework all customer needs are categorized as primary, secondary and tertiary31. Primary needs are composed of the ten top-level needs articulated by customers32. For example, if you were on the marketing team for a local restaurant looking to incorporate the VoC into a marketing plan, your customers’ hypothetical primary needs could be: 27 Berg, Neal. “The Omni-Channel Retail Experience, or How Kay and Jared Jewelers Upped Sales 49%.” MarketingProfs. N.p., 4 Apr. 2013. Web. 27 Aug. 2014. <http://www.marketingprofs.com/ articles/2013/10473/the-omni-channel-retail-experience-or-how-kay-and-jared-jewelers-upped-sales-49>. 28 Ibid. 29 Ibid. 30 Ibid. 31 Griffin, Abbie, and John R. Hauser. “The Voice of the Customer.” Marketing Science 12.1 (1993): 1-27. JSTOR. © 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved Web. 25 Aug. 2014. 32 Ibid.
  • 9. © 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved • Restaurant selection • Getting to the restaurant • Food options and menu • Restaurant building • Restaurant interior • Restaurant experience These needs may carry enough weight to be used in setting a strategic organizational or marketing direction. Secondary needs are considered tactical because they expand the primary need, and provide an approach for satisfying the primary need. Using our sample restaurant again, secondary needs could resemble the following: • Restaurant selection: Easy-to-access menu information online and table availability • Getting to the restaurant: Good location and accessible, safe parking • Food options and menu: Food quality, entrée specials and menu options for diners with dietary restrictions • Restaurant building: Outdoor signage and indoor traffic flow • Inside the restaurant: Clean restrooms and great atmosphere • Restaurant experience: Helpful, friendly wait staff and a fun experience Looking only at the restaurant selection category, the secondary needs reveal why customers might choose the restaurant over another if it is easy to access menu information online and they can get a table. Our restaurant team can then use those requirements in their efforts to drive restaurant traffic. Moving on to the third category, the tertiary needs. These needs are more operational in nature and provide details for making physical changes to the product, service or surrounding messaging33. Back to our restaurant again, a tertiary need might be an updated, mobile-friendly website or customer experience training for wait staff. Want even deeper analysis and interpretation? Many VoC vendors provide tools to increase your mind reading power with deeper analysis and interpretation. Many of the online survey tools you are familiar with have some interpretation capabilities built right in. Graphical representation of your data results is common and some track your customer satisfaction score over time34. Text mining is also a great tool for increased richness in survey data and other Web content. These software tools identify themes and relationships between survey text and other 33 Ibid. 34 Beard, Ross. “9 Customer Feedback Software Tools: Comparison & Review.” Client Heartbeat Blog. Client Heartbeat, 14 July 2014. Web. 10 Sept. 2014. <http://blog.clientheartbeat.com/customer-feedback-software/>.
  • 10. content. Social media monitoring tools are helpful for interacting with customer thoughts in the social sphere. Additional tools embedded within a monitoring system vary by vendor, and some offer sentiment analysis or opinion mining. Accessing the feelings behind a tweet, comment or review, gives you more profound understanding of your customers’ thoughts and intent. Depending on the complexities of your in-office data analysis procedures you may also want to run this data against existing business data to identify new opportunities or confirm trends. No team can tackle all customer needs at once, nor would they want to. And not all wants and needs carry the same weight. After you complete categorization and any interpretation, all customer needs can be prioritized. After prioritization, the recently interpreted VoC data is ready for use in the reaction phase. Getting started: Great news! You don’t have to purchase expensive interpretation software programs. Uncover the meaning in VoC data by organizing customer feedback by primary, secondary and tertiary needs. Look into additional interpretation tools, and make sure to incorporate any data analysis capabilities your team has. Before partnering with vendors offering VoC data interpretation solutions, use caution. It is acknowledged that this market is still young and that marketers should be careful when choosing vendors. Phase 4: The reaction phase You’ve collected and interpreted your data, and wow—you’ve learned a ton about your customers. What’s next? It is time to put what you’ve learned to use. This phase is two-fold because your team will use your data to implement actions baked into the VoC process during the planning phase. You may also be reacting to surprises that emerged from the data during the interpretation phase. Be prepared to tackle both planned and unplanned action. When executing planned initiatives or reacting to a customer issue the data uncovered, both are opportunities for your team to improve overall customer experience. And that is the real beauty and power of the VoC cycle—a force that pushes your company to become increasingly customer-centric with every pass through the cycle. This phase is a chance to utilize your team’s creative juices. Your brand is one-of-a-kind, and you solve problems for your customer in a completely organic way. And if you haven’t been, the use of VoC is the perfect opportunity to start. Your customers have an organic perspective about your performance. And your team knows your organization like no one else. When using VoC to improve customer experience, let the data guide you to creative solutions for eliminating pain points. Help your customers have a fun, engaging and organic brand experience. © 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
  • 11. Sound a little intimidating? No worries. You are now reading your customers’ minds … to some extent. You’ve got this. But we wouldn’t leave you without some tools to help facilitate these creative solutions. Tommy Bahama is one brand using a Customer Experience Management (CEM) tool to react to any unexpected VoC data in the moment. With the goal of improving the overall in-store and online shopper experience, Tommy Bahama installed “listening” kiosks connected to its CEM tool throughout the store in the second quarter of 201435. These kiosks allow customers to provide feedback without seeking a sales associate. The feedback is then provided in real-time to the store teams who can jump in and resolve issues before the customer leaves the store. This real-time reaction approach is helping Tommy Bahama improve brand loyalty. Speaking of brand loyalty, many of us have earned a gold star or two by paying for delicious frothy beverages with our Starbucks app, and Starbucks is using VoC to facilitate an in-app loyalty program and in-store experiences. Starbucks uses their website, www.mystarbucksidea.com, to collect masses of VoC data. Customers submit ideas for improvements, and then the Starbucks team continuously reports on how those ideas make an impact. One recently implemented “My Starbucks Ideas” is being used to improve customers’ mobile experience. The new feature sends app users email reminders of their earned free drinks within the loyalty program36. This example demonstrates how creativity can influence data collection and reaction within the VoC process. 7-Eleven is another example of a company using multiple tools and creativity to collect and react to VoC data. 7-Eleven wanted to build greater emotional attachment among customers to boost customer engagement and sales. To reach this objective they launched real-time CRM technology tied to a customer loyalty program within their mobile app37. The company crowd-sourced VoC research, and discovered that many customers have favorite Slurpee™ flavors, but didn’t know what flavors were available in each store38. Once this was identified as a pain point for customers, the 7-Eleven team started collecting daily flavor data from franchise locations and rolling the data into the mobile app for customer use. This new functionality cost the 7-Eleven team very little to develop, but it solved a big pain point dealing with one of their most popular products. 7-Eleven demonstrates that all organizations can get actionable customer feedback even if customers spend little time or money in the company’s physical and digital space. 35 Floretta, Alicia. “Tommy Bahama Collects Real-Time Feedback With Medallia - Retail TouchPoints.” Tommy Bahama Collects Real-Time Feedback With Medallia - Retail TouchPoints. Retail Touchpoints, 11 July 2014. Web. 11 Sept. 2014. <http://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-success-stories/tommy-bahama-collects-real- © 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved time-feedback-with-medallia>. 36 Starbucks Coffee.” Ideas In Action Blog. Starbucks, 7 Aug. 2014. Web. 03 Sept. 2014. <http://blogs.starbucks. com/blogs/Customer/default.aspx>. 37 De Haff, Michelle. “How the Voice of the Customer Is Driving Strategy Inside 7-Eleven - Medallia.” Medallia. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Aug. 2014. <http://blog.medallia.com/customer-experience/voice-of-the-customer-driving-strategy- inside-7-eleven/>. 38 Ibid.
  • 12. Getting started tip: The action your team takes in this phase will vary based on what the data reveals about customer pain points and satisfaction. Take this opportunity to better your company and please your customers. Feel inspired by the examples above in that a dose of creativity can go a long way in improving the experience you offer up to customers. Phase 5: Monitoring Time to demonstrate the value of your VoC program with mind-reading measurement and analysis. In this phase we see the importance of tying your actions to overall business goals. As you monitor data being collected and customer response to your customer experience efforts, metrics are a must. How else will you measure whether or not your action is improving the customer journey? Many of the collection, interpretation and reaction tools we discussed include dashboards to help you monitor data and progress at all times. Before launching your VoC program, make sure to use existing respondent data to benchmark against new data and metrics. Benchmarking should help you visualize progress as your VoC program takes off. Wondering how to decide what metrics matter and how to prove the worth of your VoC program? It isn’t so complicated. Use metrics that match your overall strategic objective and tie the program to key business goals. Without overall objective measurement, you cannot really demonstrate your program’s impact. When aligning metrics with business goals, remember that money talks and that it is always important to continuously demonstrate ROI. Consider including commercial measures such as average customer spend, share of wallet, account profitability etc. Including these financial elements may help your VoC program prove its worth39. Additionally, embedding measurement at every customer touch point can help your team identify specific pain points and systemic problems. When trying to quantify the overall customer journey, go beyond customer satisfaction. Measure customer expectation. Why? Customer satisfaction does not prove customer loyalty. The myth that customer satisfaction equates to customer loyalty was debunked back in 1995 by a Harvard Business Review® study. The study looked at satisfied bank account holders compared to unsatisfied account holders. Researchers, Thomas and Sasser, found that in one year, 5.8 percent of unsatisfied customers closed their accounts and 6 percent of extremely satisfied © 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved 39 Ibid.
  • 13. customers closed their accounts40. This demonstrates that satisfied customers don’t guarantee loyal customers. Therefore, customer expectation might be a more helpful metric. Asking your customers if your service line or new feature implemented during the reaction phase meets their expectations is more telling than customer satisfaction metrics41. In the digital realm, Google® Digital Marketing Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik, recommends metrics in at least the acquisition, behavior and outcomes touch points of a customer’s digital journey42. In each phase Kaushik recommends the metrics outlined in the following figure. Figure 2. Metrics in three phases across the digital customer journey43 There are so many metrics available. The important thing is to find out what matters to your business and measure, measure, measure. Getting started: Demonstrating value and ROI of a VoC program is no small task, but let your overall objective, business goals and customer journey direct you and help choose the right metrics to monitor your VoC progress. Remember this is by no means a definitive listing of metrics, but instead a listing of some metrics that could potentially be helpful. Ready to implement your own VoC cycle? As you analyze results from your monitor phase, your team can now take everything you learned throughout the VoC cycle to start the cycle anew. Working through the cycle time and time again can help create more engaged customers, a staff connected with your organizational mission and continued organizational transformation in your quest to become a customer-centric company. You might not be a VoC expert yet, but you are now equipped with the knowledge to 40 Jones, Thomas O., and W. Earl Sasser, Jr. “Why Satisfied Customers Defect.”Harvard Business Review. N.p., Nov. 1995. Web. 28 Aug. 2014. <http://hbr.org/1995/11/why-satisfied-customers-defect/ar/1>. 41 Beard, Ross. “Customer Satisfaction Metrics: 6 Metrics You Need to Be Tracking.” Client Heartbeat Blog. N.p., 2 Sept. 2013. Web. 28 Aug. 2014. <http://blog.clientheartbeat.com/customer-satisfaction-metrics-6-metrics-you- © 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved need-to-be-tracking/>. 42 Kaushik, Avinash. “Best Metrics For Digital Marketing: Rock Your Own And Rent Strategies.” Occams Razor by Avinash Kaushik. Google, 25 Mar. 2014. Web. 28 Aug. 2014. <http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/best-web-metrics- digital-marketing-own-rent-strategies/>. 43 Ibid.
  • 14. start some key conversations that will help your company determine if implementing a VoC program is a good fit. Remember that VoC is not the silver bullet for organizational and mobile improvement. However, with increasing technology, the consumer voice is louder than ever, and the use of consumer feedback for continuous improvement can help guide an organization into the customer-centric future if implemented correctly. 4imprint serves more than 100,000 businesses with innovative promotional items throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland. Its product offerings include giveaways, business gifts, personalized gifts, embroidered apparel, promotional pens, travel mugs, tote bags, water bottles, Post-it Notes, custom calendars, and many other promotional items. For additional information, log on to www.4imprint.com. © 2014 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved