Your complete guide to voice of customer research

Do you want to get inside the minds of your customers? Understand their likes and dislikes? Needs and wants? Preferences and behavioral patterns? Does this all sound a bit creepy? It’s not. Let me tell you a little bit about Voice of Customer research.

What is Voice of Customer?

Voice of customer (VoC) is a phrase used to describe the process of collecting and analyzing customer feedback to pinpoint customer needs, preferences, expectations and experience with your brand. 

This insight gives your brand or business the ability to adapt your product or service to effectively meet the standards of your audience. A brand’s success is dependent on the disparity between a customer’s actual experience and desired experience. The smaller the gap, the more customer satisfaction you’ll see. Customer satisfaction leads to customer loyalty which leads to increased sales. And we all want increased sales, right?

How do brands use VoC analysis?

Brands use Voice of Customer analysis to increase customer retention and satisfaction. A Qualtrics report found that 94% of consumers were likely to buy from a brand with good customer experience. Understanding customer experience to identify and resolve common issues is the only way to improve CX practices. VoC research can be used to:

  • Test new products, campaigns, policies, etc.
  • Learn why a product or campaign is underperforming
  • Understand the strengths of your competition
  • Discover how consumers of different demographics assess your brand
  • Track customer satisfaction as your brand grows



Customer surveys are the leading option for VoC data collection. As the respondent has no communication with a human, it’s crucial that the predetermined questions are effective in soliciting useful information. Online surveys can be conducted through third party websites like Survey Monkey or Google Forms. Respondents are often email subscribers, recent customer service clients, website visitors or social media followers. 


Similar to survey data, online review platforms like TrustPilot and Google Reviews can provide detailed, qualitative feedback. Review data is typically not solicited and is instead collected from willing and motivated respondents. Reviews can be less targeted because customers are not answering predetermined questions. This form of data is great in discovering what issues or opinions need further investigation – but when looking for specific information, reviews might not address the issue your brand is looking to understand.

Focus groups and interviews

In-person interviews and communication can provide the most detailed and useful information. Interviewers can ask follow up questions and observe non-linguistic cues like tone of voice and body language. In-person interactions are viewed as more personal, meaning respondents will likely give better answers. This form of analysis can be difficult to implement on a large scale and is quite costly. 

Customer service and live chat

Customer service functions are another effective tool in collecting customer feedback. Brands can analyze live chat and telephone conversations to pinpoint areas of improvement and Voice of Customer data. These consumers can then be contacted for follow-up surveys to rate their customer service experience.

Social media

Social media is a goldmine for qualitative feedback. Conversations and opinions from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and forums can be analyzed for Voice of Customer research. Not only can brands observe and track conversation, they can be a part of it. Social media is a great way for brands to communicate with customers in real time and direct the flow of conversation by asking questions and engaging with other accounts. 

Questions to ask

They key to collecting quality feedback data is asking the right questions. Quantitative questions with yes/no answers, multiple choice, or a rating scale are easy to analyze and recognize trends. Qualitative questions are open-ended, giving respondents the room to say as much as they want in their own words. 

Qualitative questions provide the detail and reasoning that quantitative prompts neglect to address. But customers are more likely to respond to short and simple surveys, giving quantitative questions an edge. The perfect survey incorporates both open and close ended questions, providing a balance between detail and ease. 

Quantitative questions

  1. What do you look for when purchasing (select all that apply)?
    • Low price
    • Sustainable materials
    • Good reviews
    • Convenience
    • Innovative
    • Good customer service
    • Quality product
  2. How do you feel about our brand?
    • Positive
    • Negative
    • Neutral
  3. Please rate your customer experience
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
  4. Which brands have you recently made a purchase with?
    • Coke
    • Pepsi
    • Red Bull
    • Arizona
    • Snapple
  5. How likely are you to recommend our brand to a friend?
    • Unlikely
    • Somewhat likely
    • Likely
    • Very likely 

Qualitative questions

  1. What do you look for when purchasing [product or service]?
  2. What characteristics do you associate with our brand?
  3. How can we improve your customer experience?
  4. Do you purchase [product] from other companies and why?
  5. Would you recommend our brand to a friend and why?

Qualitative surveys can take more time and effort to analyze, but the right text analysis tool makes the job easy. Instead of reading through every response and manually coding survey results, natural language processing tools automate the process to provide simple and accurate insights. 

How can I tap into Voice of Customer analysis?

Relative Insight is your VoC secret weapon. Our technology extracts meaningful consumer insights from any textual data source – surveys, reviews, social media and more. The Relative method compares two or more written data sets to pinpoint the differences in topics, words, phrases, grammar and emotion. This strategy provides an additional layer of context, allowing you to see past frequency to discover what makes each audience unique. Use comparative text analytics to enhance:

Voice of Customer

Speak the language of your audience with Voice of Customer research. Relative Insight analyzes social media conversations, forum posts, customer reviews and open ended survey responses to pinpoint what matters to your audience. This insight can drive marketing communications ensuring your messaging resonates.

Case study: How do rival brands develop unique tone of voice: Coke vs. Pepsi

Competitor benchmarking 

Competitor benchmarking analysis examines your brand in comparison to direct competitors or a wider industry. Relative Insight discovers the strengths and weaknesses of your brand through the eyes of customers to help you rise above the competition.

Case Study: Analyzing social media output from five burger brands

Topic or brand analysis 

Brands use Relative Insight to understand how consumers are talking about a specific topic or brand. Our technology utilizes the power of comparison to analyze how topics are discussed by different demographics, locations, how language has changed over time and more. 

Case Study: Comparing NFL fan conversations ins the UK and US

Measuring campaign effectiveness 

Relative Insight allows you to measure the qualitative impact of your brand’s marketing efforts. Effective VoC analysis goes beyond quantitative metrics like followers and comments. We compare conversation before and after a campaign or newsworthy event to track the changes in public opinion.

Case Study: How Elon Musk singlehandedly impacted the Bitcoin market

Survey analysis

Save time and energy with automated and effective survey analysis. Relative Insight does the work by analyzing open-ended survey responses and comparing respondents by a range of metadata points. Discover trends, opinions and tone of voice unique to your target audiences.

Case study: Analyzing survey data about periods

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