Voice of the customer (VOC)

Skill level: Basic


The voice of the customer (VOC) is the feedback from your current and future customers indicating service offerings that satisfy, delight, and dissatisfy them. You can obtain the voice of the customer through many different ways, including surveys, focus groups, interviews, listening posts, and mystery shopping.


  • Helps you focus on those items that are most valuable to your current customers
  • Identifies gaps in the services you provide to the customer
  • Allows you to focus on those items that will be most valuable to future customers
  • Identifies potential improvement opportunities and the associated priorities from a customer viewpoint
  • Allows you to decommission services that are of little or no value to your customers or future customers

How to Use

  • Step 1.  Identify your customers and your future customers. The customers you want to have in five years may be different than the customers you have today.
  • Step 2.  Determine the tools and techniques you will use to gain feedback from your target customers. Surveys, focus groups, and interviews are popular tools used to gather the information.
  • Step 3.  Incorporate the results of your data gathering and analysis into your service offerings, making continual improvements as appropriate.
  • Step 4.  Develop a schedule to reassess your customers on an ongoing basis to ensure your service offerings meet or exceed their requirements.

Relevant Definitions

Customer survey: A formalized statistical sampling of customers. Also see customer satisfaction survey.

Focus group: A facilitated group session of current or potential target customers.

Customer interview: A facilitated session with one or a few clients or customers at a time. Interviews are typically conducted when an organization has very few clients and/or the clients are internal.


An insurance company seeking to redesign its policy application surveyed its agents and a randomly selected set of customers. Survey results showed the most important item to the customers and agents was the length of the application. The length of the application was a dissatisfier to both the agent and the end customer.

Analyzing the results revealed that the length of the application was only a proxy for the time it took to complete the application. The company redesigned the process so the application could be pre-populated with client information in advance of the face-to-face meeting between the agent and the client.

Next, the company held a focus group with a subset of customers to solicit feedback on the redesigned process.  Feedback from this group was incorporated and the new method was launched.

Results of this use of voice of the customer to change the application process included:

  • Applications were completed in 75 percent less time than when the agents had to manually enter all the data
  • Sales increased 7.5%


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