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Ecommerce Voice of Customer: A Comprehensive Guide

The best eCommerce customers have a high repeat purchase rate and leave positive comments. Say, a proportion of these high-repeat customers start to drop off. They’re buying less, then suddenly not buying at all.

What’s happening? You’re not face-to-face with these customers, so you need a way to understand what’s happening. Voice of the Customer (VoC) is your weapon for protecting your customer loyalty.

How?

By using their feedback to improve customer experience for all.

77% of customers prefer brands that listen to them. Use a Voice of Customer (VoC) program with the right customer tools to get a clear understanding of what they really want and expect from your business. Smoother customer experiences, better products, bigger cart sizes—it all starts with understanding your customers by using their feedback. Incorporating exceptional customer service is pivotal in utilizing VoC to enhance customer experience and loyalty, serving as a cornerstone for business success.

What is the Voice of the Customer (and Why You Should Care)

Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a comprehensive approach to understanding your customers' needs, wants, preferences, and pain points. It encompasses both direct customer feedback – what customers explicitly tell you through surveys, reviews, or conversations – and indirect feedback –  the behaviors, preferences, and sentiments expressed through actions like website interactions, purchase patterns, and social media engagement.

By systematically collecting and analyzing this rich data, you gain insights that drive meaningful improvements across the customer journey.

A robust Voice of the Customer program provides distinct advantages for eCommerce businesses, existing customers, addressing customer complaints, customer research, and net promoter score, including:

Improved Customer Retention Rate

Identifying the root causes of customer dissatisfaction enables you to proactively address issues, prevent customer loss, reduce customer churn, improve online customer reviews, and preserve revenue.

Improved Product Development

Voice of the Customer data pinpoints desired features, understanding customer needs, and friction points in existing offerings, improve customer satisfaction, fueling innovation and ensuring your products genuinely resonate with your target market.

Enhanced Customer Experiences

Understanding customer expectations at every touchpoint allows you to design seamless, enjoyable experiences that increase brand and customer loyalty

Data-Driven Decision Making

Voice of the Customer insights replace guesswork, empowering you to make informed choices about marketing campaigns, pricing strategies, and operational changes that deliver measurable ROI.

Reduced Churn

Identifying the root causes of customer dissatisfaction enables you to proactively address issues and customer needs, prevent customer loss, and preserve revenue.


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Busting a Common Voice of the Customer Myth

Is Voice of the Customer just another fancy term for customer surveys? Think again! While surveys are helpful, Voice of the Customer is a broader approach.

It's about continuously listening to your customers through various channels and integrating that feedback into everything you do. It's about building a customer-centric culture where their voices shape the future of your business.

Building a Voice of the Customer Program for eCommerce

A thriving Voice of the Customer program requires a strategic approach. Here are the crucial steps to transform customer feedback into tangible business improvements.

Step 1: Setting SMART Goals to increase customer loyalty

Without clear objectives, your Voice of the Customer program can become a data collection exercise without direction. SMART goals ensure your efforts are focused and measurable, allowing you to track progress and demonstrate the program's value.

Actionable Tactics:

Align with Business Goals

Don't create Voice of the Customer goals in isolation. Consider overall business objectives and identify areas where customer feedback can have the most significant impact (e.g., improving customer satisfaction, customer loyalty increasing order value, improving retention rate).

Focus on Specific Customer Segments

Consider segmenting your audience based on demographics, purchase history, or behavior. Setting SMART goals for each segment allows you to tailor your Voice of the Customer efforts and address specific customer needs.

Set Realistic Timeframes

Be ambitious but also realistic. Define achievable deadlines based on your resources and the scope of your goals.

Ideally, the Voice of the Customer should reflect the intended Brand Customer Experience

Ideally, the Voice of the Customer should reflect the intended Brand Customer Experience
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Example SMART Goal:

"Grow the number of repeat purchases of first-time mobile purchasers by 10% within the next quarter. This will be accomplished by proactively addressing critical navigation issues identified through user surveys and app analytics. Since mobile is our primary channel for new purchasers, improving this customer experience will support the likelihood of repeat purchases."

Step 2:  Choosing the Right Voice of the Customer Channels for Customer Feedback

Customers interact with your brand at every stage of their journey. Each touchpoint—from discovery to purchase and beyond—reveals valuable insights. Choosing the proper channels ensures you capture a holistic view of customers' experiences and gain insights that might be missed by relying solely on surveys.

Actionable Tactics:

Map Channels to Goals

Match specific Voice of the Customer channels to the information you need to achieve your goals. For example, use post-purchase surveys to understand customer satisfaction levels after a purchase, while social media listening helps identify emerging trends and brand sentiment.

Consider Customer Comfort

Choose channels customers are comfortable with. While in-depth surveys provide detailed customer feedback, lengthy questionnaires can lead to abandonment. Balance comprehensiveness with customer experience by offering a mix of short surveys and other channels.

Start with a Pilot Program

Try implementing only some channels at a time. Based on your goals and resources, begin with a pilot program using key channels. Analyze the data and refine your approach based on what works best for your audience.

Step 3: Analyzing Data and Deriving Insights from eCommerce Voice of Customer

Data alone is just information. Analyzing it reveals the insights you need to make informed, impactful decisions for your business. Thematic analysis unlocks the true power of customer feedback, enabling you to identify actionable improvements and make data-driven decisions.

Actionable Tactics:

Combine Qualitative & Quantitative Analysis

Don't rely solely on numbers. Analyze qualitative data (open-ended responses, reviews) to understand the "why" behind customer sentiment. Integrate this with quantitative data (CSAT scores, website analytics) to create a comprehensive picture.

Leverage Text Analysis Tools

Consider using text analytics tools to automate sentiment analysis and identify recurring themes in open-ended customer feedback. The data will help you uncover hidden patterns and prioritize customer concerns.

Focus on Actionable Insights

Stay aware of the data. Analyze results with a "so what?" mentality. Identify trends that translate into actionable recommendations for improving specific aspects of the customer journey (e.g., product features, website navigation, customer service interactions).


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Important:
To act on insights, your stakeholders will typically determine how much they can trust and rely on the data and analysis. If your analysis is AI-powered, make sure:

 📌 You can explore the original data and what the analysis is based on
 📌 The data was cleaned to remove pre-canned responses
 📌 The analysis delivers the detail your stakeholders need

Also, do a quick quality control by checking that the AI delivers a consistent result for the same query.

Step 4: Closing the Feedback Loop to Increase Customer Satisfaction

Collecting customer feedback is only the first step. A Voice of the Customer program's true value lies in translating insights into action. Closing the customer feedback loop is more than just taking action; it begins with acknowledging customer feedback and addressing their concerns. This initial step builds trust and demonstrates responsiveness.

As your Voice of the Customer program grows, think about sharing insights across your team. It's about giving customers a say in your decisions so you always make choices with them in mind. Here's an essential process to create a customer-centric feedback loop:

1. Acknowledgment

Respond promptly to direct feedback (reviews, surveys, support queries) to show customers you're listening. Even a simple acknowledgment builds trust.

2. Triage and Prioritization

Categorize feedback based on urgency and potential impact. Establish clear criteria for prioritizing actions that align with your SMART goals.

3. Action Plan

Determine the necessary steps to address the customer feedback issues. Assign ownership to teams or individuals, set deadlines, and establish a tracking mechanism.

4. Communication

Be transparent with customers, both individually and broadly. Let them know their feedback is valued, detail your actions, and set expectations for resolution.

Precision is key to customer feedback analysis.

Precision is key to customer feedback analysis

Using Voice of the Customer Data for Segmentation & Personalization

Voice of the Customer data goes beyond demographics. It allows you to understand why your metrics are shifting and segment your customers to improve experiences for those who aren't thriving.

By carefully analyzing feedback patterns, you gain a deeper understanding of your customer's needs, preferences, and behaviors, enabling you to tailor their experiences for maximum impact.

Here's how you can leverage Voice of the Customer data for effective segmentation:

Thematic Analysis

Analyze qualitative feedback data to identify common themes across core customer segments. It uncovers deeper insights into the motivations, pain points, and desired outcomes that distinguish each group, enabling you to tailor your approach accordingly.

Benchmark Analysis

Capture feedback metrics and themes at one point in time to establish a baseline. Then, compare these to subsequent feedback gathered after implementing a project to measure the impact of your changes and identify areas for continuous improvement within a specific segment.

Demographics

Identify trends based on age, location, gender, etc., for targeted messaging and offers.

Behaviors

Track customer actions (website interactions, past purchases) to create segments based on preferences and needs.

This type of segmentation analysis helps you take targeted actions that improve business outcomes. For example, analyzing Voice of the Customer data by segment can reveal insights like where a specific segment will most likely add items to their cart. This lets you personalize their experience by presenting additional recommended products at optimal times.

These targeted actions, based on insights derived from the Voice of the Customer, lead to increased engagement, higher conversion rates, improved customer loyalty, and, ultimately, a boost to your bottom line.

Use generative AI tools like Thematic Answers to help everyone in the business gain insights into their workflow. With Thematic Answers, you can ask natural-language questions about your customer feedback (e.g., "What are the main frustrations for mobile app users?") and receive instant, insightful answers backed by your VoC data and customer verbatim.

Immediate insights empower CX professionals and other teams to understand feedback and make informed decisions.

Have a simple framework to evaluate potential actions based on Voice of the Customer insights, considering the following:

  • Impact: Assess the potential impact on key business metrics (conversion rates, churn, average order value).
  • Effort: Evaluate the resources required (time, money, cross-team collaboration) to execute changes.
  • Feasibility: Consider technical limitations and the potential need for new systems or processes.

Prioritise actions with high potential impact and relatively low effort.  Develop a roadmap with clear milestones and accountability for long-term initiatives to demonstrate progress and track outcomes.


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Examples of Voice of the Customer Driven Personalization:

Targeted Promotions: Offer personalized discounts or incentives based on purchase history or expressed interests.

Custom Website Experiences: Adapt content and navigation based on a customer's segment and past interactions.

Personalized Support: Prioritize and tailor support responses based on customer segmentation and known frustrations.

Here's a breakdown of 7 essential customer tools to streamline your Voice of the Customer efforts, customer experience management, analyze customer behavior, along with key features and considerations.

1. Survey Monkey

Survey Platform - Survey Monkey

Type: Survey Platforms

Key Features: Flexible customer survey design, online surveys, customizable templates, various question types (multiple-choice, open-ended, rating scales), logic and branching capabilities, and robust reporting & analytics for business success.

Why They're Great for VoC: Surveys offer a controlled, structured way to collect customer feedback and customer interviews, allow you to target specific customer segments, gather insights directly related to your SMART goals and customer loyalty.

Price: Starts at $25. Enterprise-level support and plans available

Customer review:

“The SurveyMonkey integration has allowed us to sync NPS data back to the Account and Contact objects for use in reporting in both Salesforce and Tableau. The SurveyMonkey reports in Salesforce are really useful and allow for NPS visibility across all teams and departments. We've used this data in Tableau to create email alerts based on NPS in order to closely monitor customer health and automate the response process.”

2. Thematic

Text Analytics & AI-Powered VoC Platform - Thematic

Type: Feedback Analytics & AI-Powered Voice of the Customer Platform

Key Features: Transforms all the unstructured text responses from any channel, customer surveys, feedback forms, and customer input into insights that inform specific business improvements, improve customer relationships, turn qualitative feedback into quantitative data, and increase customer acquisition. Identify pain points and what's driving your metrics, pick up emerging issues, negative feedback and track CX initiatives' impact on customer experiences. Advanced sentiment analysis, Impact and driver analysis. Built for the precise needs of analysts and researchers, with a generative AI Answers feature that anyone can use.

Why They're Great for VoC: AI-powered analysis saves thousands of hours, helping decision-makers get deep, actionable insights much faster for your VOC strategy. The analysis is easy to validate and make more precise, for insights that drive better business decisions for your customer journey.

Price: Free guided trial available

Customer review:

“Thematic helped us bring the voice of the customer closer to the staff, who have the power to take action on the customer feedback. The impact view helped us prioritize the things that significantly affect the Net Promoter Score. As a result, it helped us improve our NPS and the overall customer experience.”

3. Hotjar

Website & App Feedback Tool - Hotjar

Type: Website & App Feedback Tools

Key Features: Heatmaps, session recordings, on-site polls, targeted feedback widgets, and video feedback capabilities.

Why They're Great for VoC: These behavioral research tools offer real-time insights into how customers interact with your website or app, collect customer feedback, and how customers perceive your usability. They help pinpoint areas of friction, identify usability issues, and capture immediate reactions and sentiments. Price: Basic free forever plan available, starting at $39 for Plus, Enterprise support available.

Customer review:

“The heatmaps are just fantastic! Imagine having the ability to see your website through your users' eyes, understanding their clicks, scrolls, and movements. This is what Hotjar's heatmaps offer. It's almost like being able to read minds.”

4. Sprout Social

Social Listening & Monitoring - Sprout Social

Type: Social Listening & Monitoring

Key Features: Track brand mentions across social platforms, analyze sentiment, identify trends and emerging pain points, monitor competitors, and measure social media engagement.

Why They're Great for VoC: Social media is where customers candidly express opinions about your brand. Monitoring these conversations reveals unfiltered feedback, online reviews, customer preferences, helps you proactively address issues, customer pain points, and uncovers opportunities for improvement in areas such as customer service efforts.

Price: Standard plan starts at $249 monthly, and enterprise support is available.

Customer review:

“I love the advocacy integration feature. We can utilize our own employees to help increase our reach on specific content. I already love the scheduled publishing tool in sprout let's us stay within the timewindow for campaigns and utilizing the reports tool to see what content reasonates with our audience. The tool itself is definitely user friendly.”


5. Qualtrics

Customer Experience Management - Qualtrics

Type: Customer Experience Management (CXM) Platform

Key Features: Comprehensive suite for collecting customer feedback via surveys, email, website intercepts, and more. Offers closed-loop ticketing for proactive follow-up, experience management dashboards, role-based access, and advanced reporting.

Why They're Great for VoC: Qualtrics streamlines data collection at various touchpoints, enabling companies to proactively gather feedback, track CX metrics over time, close the loop with customers to address issues and gain valuable insights.

Price: Pricing based on custom needs and features required. Contact for a quote.

Customer review:

“Qualtrics customer experience is great online survey platform to measure customer experience. Easy to create interactive surveys using the drag and drop functionality and can be easily be customized in many ways . Large variety of questions types and branching logic. The tool aslo gives feedback to surveys and aslo it's easy to setup NPS dashboards for each department in our organization that enables us to track results very easily.”

Important Note: Qualtrics includes text analytics based on a pre defined taxonomy and rules. Businesses often pipe their data from Qualtrics into specialized platforms like Thematic for a faster way to get tailored and precise insights from open-ended text data.

6. Trustpilot

Review & Rating Management - Trustpilot

Type: Review & Rating Management

Key Features: Gather and manage reviews and ratings across your website and third-party platforms, analyze sentiment, respond to reviews, syndicate positive reviews for social proof, and generate review-based insights reports.

Why They're Great for VoC: Reviews are rich in qualitative feedback, highlighting specific product strengths and weaknesses. Review management tools streamline the process and help extract actionable insights to improve products and overall customer experience based on valuable feedback.

Price: Standard plan starts at $250 per month per domain, enterprise plan available.

Customer review:

“As customer we do not always have a voice. Positively or negatively Trust Pilot provides a platform whereby we can share experience, provide guidance to others so that they can make their own informed decisions.”


7. Zendesk

Customer Support Ticketing - Zendesk

Type: Customer Support & Ticketing

Key Features: Omnichannel ticketing (email, chat, social, etc.), knowledge base and self-service options to answer customer questions, ticket routing and automation, customizable workflows, and reporting dashboards.

Why They're Great for VoC: Customer service interactions are a treasure trove of Voice of the Customer data. Zendesk organizes and tracks support requests, making it easier to identify recurring issues, pinpoint areas for product improvements, and measure customer satisfaction with support processes.

Price: Starts at $19/agent per month, with additional tiers with extended features available.


Customer review:

“I do really like the Support platform from a user perspective, and the trigger system is wonderfully dynamic and flexible. I like that form fields and are searchable now (terrific improvement). The marketplace is great for additional enhancements. Macro's are great for standardizing user responses.”


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Choosing the Right Voice of the Customer Tool

Select a tool that best aligns with your needs and resources. Consider the following factors:

Budget: Voice of the Customer tools range from free options with basic features to enterprise-level solutions with advanced analytics and integrations.

Features: Identify essential features like survey design capabilities, qualitative analysis tools (sentiment analysis, thematic analysis), reporting, and dashboards.

Integrations: Seamless integration with your existing systems (CRM, marketing automation, help desk software) is crucial for a unified view of customer data.

Scalability: Choose a tool that can grow with your business, particularly if you envision expanding your VoC program over time.

Voice of the Customer is Your Roadmap for Continuous Growth

Voice of the Customer isn't a one-time project; it's an ongoing journey of listening, learning, and adapting. By embracing Voice of the Customer, you embark on a path of continuous improvement, building a customer-centric business that consistently exceeds expectations. Remember, every piece of feedback is a valuable nugget of insight, fueling your future success.

Let Thematic be your guide on this journey. Our AI-powered analysis tools streamline the process, revealing hidden insights that drive meaningful change. Give your teams instant insights and answers, and book a demo today






Ready to scale customer insights from feedback?

Our experts will show you how Thematic works, how to discover pain points and track the ROI of decisions. To access your free trial, book a personal demo today.

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