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Leveraging "VOC" Voice of Customer for Business Growth

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Leveraging Voice of Customer for Business Growth: Featuring Nate Brown

In a recent episode of the Marketing Smarts Podcast, I interviewed Nate Brown, an outstanding customer experience (CX) expert and senior director of customer experience for Arise Virtual Solutions.

Nate shared valuable insights on how B2B marketers can leverage the voice of the customer (VOC) to drive business growth.

In this blog post, we'll explore some key points from the podcast and talk about the importance of VOC for your organization, how to get started, and the hurdles to overcome in implementing an effective VOC strategy. 

Ready to rock and roll?

Then let's get after it.


Understanding the Gaps in the Voice of Customer Engine: 

Nate emphasizes the significance of establishing a comprehensive voice of the customer engine. He stresses the dangers of assuming that we understand the thoughts and perceptions of customers without actually doing the necessary groundwork.

Nate Brown explains that the gaps in our understanding of our clients keep him up at night.

That should be a nightmare for every marketer reading this!

Do you truly understand your customer?

To truly leverage the voice of the customer, businesses must build a robust framework for collecting, analyzing, and acting upon customer feedback. 

"It's the gaps in our voice-of-customer engine and people moving forward thinking they understand the thoughts and perceptions of the customer when they understand diddly squat," Nate Brown said

Defining Voice of Customer (VOC) for B2B Marketers:

Nate defines VOC by relating it to the broader concept of customer experience. He describes it as the thoughts and perceptions people have towards a brand.

To understand these thoughts and perceptions, businesses must implement a VOC initiative, a program or engine that allows them to listen to customers and absorb their feedback in structured and unstructured ways.

A great β€œvoice of the customer” is the critical link between understanding customer sentiments and driving business growth. 

Again, do you need links in your VOC strategy?

If so, keep reading!

The Strategic Importance of Voice of Customer: 

Nate emphasizes the strategic significance of VOC for B2B marketers. He explains that a robust VOC capability is essential for effective change management.

Businesses can ensure they are on the right track by identifying the proper priorities for change and validating the impact of those changes through qualitative and quantitative data.

Without a well-established VOC system, CX professionals are flying blind, lacking the necessary insights to make informed decisions and drive positive customer experiences.

πŸ”Ž Related: Customer Delight and Who's Responsible

Celebrating and Understanding Positive and Negative Feedback

Nate highlights the importance of both positive and negative feedback. He cautions against solely focusing on negative feedback or adopting a critical approach that demotivates employees.

Instead, he encourages celebrating positive feedback and using it as inspiration to motivate employees toward better outcomes.

Even negative feedback should be presented in a way that inspires and motivates, focusing on the opportunity to improve and positively impact customers' lives. 

Overcoming Hurdles in Implementing VOC:

Nate Brown shares a personal experience highlighting a common hurdle in implementing VOC initiatives.

Disconnecting the VOC process from the people who collect feedback can hinder progress. Nate suggests involving the feedback collectors in the loop closure process to overcome this.

By leveraging and applying their insights in problem-solving and celebrating successes, businesses can foster a sense of ownership and motivation among employees.

Ultimately driving improved customer experiences. 

"One hurdle that I ran into that I didn't expect that was a critical learning moment for me. I was trying to be innovative in how we captured customer feedback in a safety science company that I was working for, for a long time. I was working as a customer service director. Many times, there was another layer to the interaction with the customer, "It impacted me in this way," or, "When you solved the problem, it helped me in this way," and we never captured that feedback." Nate told us


Do We Have a 360-Degree View?

As Nate mentioned, asking, "Do we have a 360-degree view?" is a crucial starting point. It's essential to assess whether your organization truly understands and integrates customer perspectives across all channels and departments.

Identifying the gaps in your knowledge is the first step toward bridging them.

B&H Photography: A Remarkable Case Study

Nate shared an impressive example of B&H Photography, a company that excels in leveraging the voice of the customer to enhance its business.

As a wedding photographer seeking expensive equipment, Nate engaged in a live chat with B&H Photography.

Unlike most live chat interactions, B&H Photography went above and beyond. They took the time to understand Nate's unique needs and acted as a guide in his decision-making process.

What made B&H Photography stand out was its commitment to the voice of the customer.

They had a person who genuinely cared about Nate Brown's success and provided valuable recommendations. This personalized assistance resulted in Nate finding a piece of equipment he loved.

The Power of VOC: Closing the Loop

What truly amazed Nate was his subsequent experience with B&H Photography's VoC program. When he encountered a minor issue while searching for a lens, he left feedback through a website pop-up. 

Surprisingly, he received a response from one of B&H Photography's UX designers within 48 hours. The designer thanked Nate for his feedback and explained how they had improved the search terms to benefit other customers.

This exceptional loop closure demonstrated the power of actively listening to and valuing customer feedback.

πŸ”Ž Related: The Most Baller HubSpot Service Hub Deep dive

Caring as the Key to VOC Success

Throughout the conversation, Nate emphasized the importance of caring about customers. Genuine care and empathy are the critical ingredients for building strong relationships and creating memorable experiences.

Nate described it as the "You've Got a Customer In Me" approach, where companies go above and beyond to address customer needs and adapt their systems to provide better service.

Dispelling a Myth: Using Voice of Customer to Validate Biases

Nate also dispelled a common myth about the voice of the customer. He warned against using small pieces of customer data to validate pre-existing biases.

This approach needs more integrity and authenticity, as it overlooks the more significant subset of customers and fails to deliver genuine insights. Instead, organizations should dive deeper and seek to understand their customers' perspectives fully.

Parting Words: Crystallizing the Brand Promise

As a parting piece of advice, Nate emphasized the importance of crystallizing the brand promise and bringing it to the forefront of the organization.

Marketers should work closely with their CX teams to unlock the intrinsic motivator of the brand promise and share its impact with employees.

By galvanizing loyalty and highlighting their difference, organizations can create a culture that genuinely cares about the customer and fosters customer loyalty.

So Are You Ready To Get Started? 

By embracing the voice of the customer and implementing an effective VOC strategy, businesses can unlock valuable insights, make informed decisions, and create positive, impactful experiences for their customers, ultimately achieving long-term success in today's competitive marketplace.

So go out there, kick some VOC butt, and let me know how it goes.


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