Voice of Customer (VoC) Research: Why it’s a gold mine!

Voice of Customer (VoC) Research: Why it’s a gold mine!

The key to just about everything in business is knowing and understanding your ideal customer or client. And, when you’re writing copy for your website, emails, socials and any other form of marketing this is particularly true. With that in mind, let me talk to you about Voice of Customer (VoC) survey’s and interviews and how they can give the insights you need to level up your small business copy.

What is Voice of Customer/Client (VoC) Research?

For the purpose of this post, I’m going to call it Voice of Customer or VoC research because it seems to be the standardised way of referring to this gold mine of insights. But, in general, you’ll hear me call it Voice of Client research because I work mostly with service-based business owners that refer to their prospects as clients, not customers.

Voice of Customer (VoC) is a term that describes your customer’s feedback about their experiences with and expectations for your products or services. It focuses on customer needs, expectations, understandings, and product improvement.

Qualtrics. XM
Voice of Customer Research: Image of surprised business owner conducting Voice of Customer research. She opens mouth as being speechless, holds some papers and notepad.

This isn’t a groundbreaking new market research technique, in fact, it’s been around for quite some time and is used widely by conversion copywriters as part of their tool kit.

VoC research can be conducted using surveys through a platform like Typeform and/or interviews where you can dig deeper into the responses by asking more unscripted questions.

What are the benefits of VoC research?

VoC research makes it easier for you to get inside the heads of your ideal client. With the right questions in your survey, and then later in your follow up interviews, you get:

  • valuable insights into how your clients were thinking and feeling BEFORE they came to you for help. You’ll learn their pain points and motivations.
  • valuable insights into how your clients were thinking and feeling AFTER you solved their problem. How has your service changed their life for the better? What did they love most about working with you?⁠
  • get to know what obstacles ALMOST stopped them from working with you and what got them OVER that line. ⁠
Voice of Customer Research helps business owners learn about their clients. Image is off an open book with a light bulb in the middle of it, graphs, mind maps and ideas illustrations are coming out the top of the light bulb,
Book and light bulb of business concept

When you have all this information in your back pocket, you’re able to write copy that SPEAKS to your future clients. And let’s face it if you don’t know who your ideal client is (what makes them tick, what their goals are, what language they speak, what keeps them up at night), how are you going to attract them?

Related: Check out this post by Digital Marketer, How to Attract Your Ideal Client.

How to conduct your own Voice of Customer research

Step 1 – Design your Voice of Customer survey.

This is where you’ll want to spend time thinking about the questions you’re asking clients to answer. But remember to develop the survey with the end goal in mind – be clear on the intent and objective. What is it that you’re wanting to know? As a copywriter I want to know the problem that led them to my client, what hurdles (if any) they overcome, and how the service has changed their life.

For example, to get insights into how they were thinking before they chose to work with you, ask a question like this one:

Think back to the time before we started working together, what was going on in your life?

To find out what hesitations they may have had before working with you, you could ask:

What almost stopped you from working with me?

The key here is to make sure you’re asking them open ended questions and given them plenty of space to record their responses.

Business Owner formulating her voice of customer research questions. She sits at a desk, pen and paper in hand. There's a laptop, pink mug and small plant on the desk

TIP: a survey is a great place to collect a testimonial and to ask clients if they’re willing to participate in a follow-up call. Just be sure to remind them that if they agree to either of these, their survey responses will no longer be anonymous.

Related: Survey Monkey has published a great post called Hearing the Voice of the customer and it looks at other ways VoC research can improve your business (there are even question templates that would useful).

Step 2 – Decide who you’re going to send your Voice of Customer survey to, and send it.

This is the easiest step. I suggest starting small with around 20 – 50 clients. This will give you a good selection of insights without the overwhelm of having to analyse a tonne of responses. Of course, if you want to go bigger and you have the time to drill through more responses – do it!

Try to make sure you’re sending the survey to a range of clients, particularly if you’ve got a mixed bag of service offerings. If you’re using the results of your survey to inform your website copywriting, this is where having a variety of client responses will help you map the insights to the relevant pages.

Voice of customer research for small business can help you learn more about your clients. Illustration depicting a business owner talking to a customer, 5 stars appear at the top.

When you send it, be clear about setting expectations for your clients. It might even help to pick up the old phone and have a conversation with them about participating BEFORE you send the survey. At the end of the day, you want maximum participation for the best results.

STEP 3 – Collect and analyse the results

This part is equally as fun as it is hard. Fun because you’ll now have some great information about your ideal clients right there at your fingertips. Stuff that you didn’t know! Things that you’ve never thought about when it came to your customers. But it’s hard because you’ll have to take the time to really read the responses, sort them and pull out the gold nuggets that you can use in your copy.

Depending on what tool you use for your survey, you should be able to export the data via a CSV file and load it into Excel. It may require some formatting to make it easier for you to digest.

When you’re analysing the results be on the look out for:

  • pain points or the specific problem/s that they were facing that led them to start searching for you.
  • whether there are common words/phrases that your clients are using to describe their pain points, motivations, desires?
  • why they chose YOU – are there keywords (i.e. reliable, trustworthy, friendly) that they use to describe you?
  • Are there any similarities between what almost made them NOT work with you (i.e. time or cost)?
Busy smiling african business woman in casual clothes working on laptop at home analysing voice of customer responses

Now that you have all of this information, how would you use it to inform your copy. I’m glad you asked because I want to show you a little example.

In response to the question ‘what was going on your life before you chose to work with XYZ HR consulting’, a client responds:

I was having an issue with a team member not doing their work and disrupting the productivity and rapport in the office. I felt frustrated that I didn’t know how to confidently tackle this and instead, swept it under the rug.

In the above example, I’ve highlighted keywords that I would use to write copy for this business’ website. Here’s a very raw example of adapting the VoC response to connect with prospective clients that visit your website.

Do you have an unproductive team member letting you down? Are you feeling frustrated because you’re not sure what to do next? Stop sweeping these issues under the rug. At XYZ HR Consulting we’re here to help you gain the confidence you need to tackle HR issues head-on, so you can get back to running your business.

Time to get your VoC on

Now you know what Voice of Customer research is you can see the benefit and impact it can have on your business. But it’s not just from a copywriting perspective. VoC surveys and interviews collecting testimonials and key insights into the experiences that your clients have had before and after they worked with you.

The good news is that I now include this service as part of my all-inclusive Copywriting and WordPress Design packages, so you can rest assured your copy and website will be a lean-mean, connection-building, conversion machine.

If you’re ready to up the ante when it comes to your website, get in touch.

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Hi! I'm Leeha Debnam

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