Enjoy our latest episode of Launch and Learn and check out the notes below on the takeaways from this week's conversation!
In my recent conversation with Parative's CEO, Keith Frankel, we discussed the common misconception and lack of understanding of what a Voice of the Customer (VOC) program really entails.
Keith explained that many companies express interest in building a VOC program, but very few have a deep understanding of what it means.
He defined VOC as:
A thorough understanding of all customers' needs, feedback, and sentiment, with a comprehensive analysis of the impact of that feedback on the company's bottom line.
However, according to Keith, what most people think of as a VOC program is just a leveled-up version of product feedback or customer sentiment, usually in the form of surveys.
The common conception of a genuine VOC program is shallow. Most people only consider feedback collection, but that is just the first step.
A VOC program needs to cover the entire customer feedback loop, including feedback collection, organization, and classification, measuring impact and implication, prioritizing critical feedback, closing the loop with customers, and more.
Obtaining a deep understanding of the customer population requires a broad set of engagement modalities, not just relying on one method, such as an email-based MPS survey.
The feedback management process includes capturing critical insights, blockers, and improvement areas. There are multiple types of feedback, including first-party data and third-party data, which can be challenging to unify.
The data unification process is crucial to operationalizing the VOC program.
When I asked about KPIs with regard to a VOC program, Keith proposed that revenue - more specifically, unblocked revenue - should be the North Star metric for VOC.
While Feedback is an important part of a VOC program, it's not the only part.
And Keith emphasized that feedback should always be tied back to revenue impact. He also suggests that people often misunderstand the VOC program and think that running an NPS survey and reporting the sentiment analysis on free text responses is sufficient.
Feedback collection needs to go somewhere to measure its business impact of it.
Keith and I agreed that feedback collection is everyone's responsibility who has an interaction or interface with the customer.
Keith proposed that revenue should be the North Star metric for measuring the success of the VOC program. The blocked revenue includes unblocked initial conversion revenue, renewals, and expansions.
Keith also gave the backstory on how Parative's VOC program (previously known as Parlor) was bron.
It was originally created as a set of internal tools at his previous company, Firecracker, to address the challenge of being bootstrapped and having to be diligent about where time and resources were spent.
The goal was to automate the steps of the feedback management process that can be standardized, freeing up customer-facing teams to invest their time in areas that require human intervention.
The process of collecting and organizing feedback can be standardized with technology, but understanding the genuine impact, urgency, and importance of a piece of feedback to a customer requires human input.
We rounded out our discussion by covering the importance of unifying customer feedback into one place and connecting with tools that store critical customer relationship and contract data.
The breakthrough is a single source of truth for all customer feedback needs and sentiment captured across every team and tool in the business. We also discussed the cultural problem of the relationship between customer-facing employees and product and engineering teams and the importance of giving them the same set of evidence for decision-making.
When it comes to who should be in charge of a VOC program, Keith is of the opinion that ultimately the responsibility rests on the shoulders of whoever is in charge of revenue within a company.
The reason being is that feedback should always be tied back to revenue impact.
By automating the feedback management process, companies can free up customer-facing teams to invest their time in areas that require human intervention.
A VOC program is not just about collecting feedback or sentiment analysis.
It is about obtaining a comprehensive understanding of all customers' needs, feedback, and sentiment, with a thorough analysis of the impact of that feedback on the company's bottom line.
A successful VOC program requires unification of all customer feedback into one place, connections with tools that store critical customer relationship and contract data, and a deep understanding of who is talking and how important they are to the business. It also requires a shift in company culture towards feedback and customer satisfaction, with the head of revenue being responsible for the VOC program.