VOC: The Voice of the Customer

January 17, 2008

Retail TouchPoints: Keeping Your Ear Tuned to the Voice of the Customer


In a recent article on the Retail TouchPoints website, the author talks about the new power metric for measuring service:  VOC, “voice of the customer”. 

Click here for the full article:  http://www.retailtouchpoints.com/location5B1.htm  

Discussion Questions: What do you think are the best ways to hear the voice of the customer (VOC)? Which of the recommendations in the article do you find to be the most promising for retail management looking to understand the VOC? 

My post: 

There should be no argument that VOC has become an increasingly important metric in measuring customer opinion and retailers’ health.  VOC is not new.  What is new is the number of ways for that voice to be heard and for you, the retailer, to listen.  Unfortunately, at exactly the time that retail executives need to be most focused on VOC, they are being constantly harried by VOA (voice of the analyst) and VOS (voice of the shareholders), leaving little if any time for VOC focus.   

Retail CEOs and other senior executives must take the leadership role in returning their focus to the customer.  This is done through a combination of methods:   

New-tech:  email, blogs, message boards, other social media, marketing analytics that measure customer behaviors, etc. 

Old-tech:  MBWA, sitting in the call center, customer focus groups, employee focus groups, competition shopping (on & off-line), reading customer comments, etc. 

Ultimately, though, a real VOC strategy must reside at the top of the strategic plan with energy, time, and training invested in that strategy every week of every year – not just when business is tough.  None of these methods, old or new tech, will be both implemented and used for decision making unless the CEO makes VOC the top priority.   

Don’t forget why retail exists:  to provide goods and services for customers.  Not to enrich stockholders and management.  The enrichment is the byproduct of happy customers.

I certainly hope that the result of this terrible holiday season is a wake-up call to retailers to take a hint from the few successful players and listen to the customer and provide compelling products with great service! 

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! strategist www.OsorioGroup.com  ————————————————-