Appbot Logo

Implement your Voice of the Customer strategy in 10 steps

Published 20th February, 2024 by Claire McGregor Implement your Voice of the Customer strategy in 10 steps diagram

In our previous post we covered what Voice of the Customer is, the benefits of VoC, types of VoC data and best practices for data collection. Now it's time to talk about how to actually implement your Voice of the Customer strategy. It's easy to jump straight to allocating budget and selecting channels and tools, but if you really want to get the most out of your VoC spend you'll need to ensure the effort is co-ordinated and generates a shift to a more customer-centric culture across your whole organization.

In this guide we will cover the tactical steps to create your Voice of the Customer strategy:

Want to incorporate app reviews into your VoC strategy?

Join over 35% of the top charting app developers using Appbot to make app reviews part of their VoC strategy.

Try Appbot, free for 14 days →

We have read a lot of posts on how to create a Voice of the Customer program during our years developing Appbot. Most focus on broad strategic goals and don't dig into practical tactics. In this section we'll map out practical steps for starting your Voice of the Customer strategy and ensure you're on the right track from the beginning.

We've described the essential steps to ensure you're on track, right from the beginning. You might need to adjust the order, depending on internal constraints like talent or budget.

Step 1. Socialise the idea

Implementing a VoC program is a whole-company game. To align your whole company around the wants, needs and desires of your customers you'll need buy-in from top to bottom.

One approach to "selling" a VoC program to your colleagues is to first understand what information about customers is missing, for each level and department of your business.

Running an internal survey that asks "what information about our customers would help you to do your job better, and how?" will help you to get a clear picture. Find out what the common threads are within each team, and across the company as a whole. We suggest documenting the high level findings, and sharing them company-wide.

Then, work through the potential benefits of your proposed Voice of the Customer program with executives, managers and team leaders in two contexts:

Ultimately, a Voice of the Customer program should make everyone's jobs easier, and more enjoyable. By understanding what customers want and incrementally delivering on that you'll have easier acquisition, more buoyant retention, more positive relationships between customers and employees… the ripple effects will have a positive impact across the board.

Step 2. Set objectives for your Voice of the Customer strategy

Defining and documenting what your company hopes to gain from its Voice of the Customer program is an essential step. Without a clear set of goals and objectives it will be impossible to measure whether your Voice of the Customer program is delivering any tangible value. If you're unable to demonstrate that VoC is valuable you'll be putting your program at risk.

In this step we simply aim to choose the broad goals. In Step 5 below the teams responsible for executing your Voice of the Customer program will define specific SMART objectives that will be used to determine whether your program is effective. The broad goals you set in this step will form the basis for the later, more specific ones.

Voice of the Customer program objectives are best measured using customer metrics, rather than revenue metrics (although there is an obvious link between the two). This is important because it ensures that each team that is involved in executing the VoC strategy will be able to define objectives that they can take direct responsibility for - not every team directly influences revenue.

When setting broad objectives be sure to reference the benefits you outlined to your team in Step 1 above. Whilst there is no "template" set of objectives for all Voice of the Customer programs, here is a list of popular goals that you may wish to consider incorporating:

The objectives you choose in this step are not set in stone. Quite the contrary - a well-run VoC program will include regularly evaluating the relevance of its objectives, and making adjustments as needed.

Step 3. Locate existing VoC data

Each business is different, and so the baseline data that's relevant for your company may vary from the suggestions we outline below. Use these suggestions as a starting point, and think laterally about what other information you may need to get a 360 degree view of your current customer experience.

This step can take some time, especially in larger organizations, which is why it is advisable to start early in the process of setting up your VoC program.

Interview or survey all levels of your workforce to find out what systems and tools they currently use to answer internal questions about customers and their experience.

You may need to provide some guidelines on what types of data you want to include in your Voice of the Customer strategy. Many people's experience with VoC is limited to NPS, surveys, or focus groups. Share the list of different VoC data types above to ensure that as many existing reservoirs of customer feedback are unearthed.

Step 4. Select a team to run your VoC strategy

Some companies have a specific team to implement and manage their Voice of the Customer strategy. Some choose to share the responsibilities across several departments. Others give Voice of the Customer responsibilities to an existing team operating in a related area, like Customer Experience or Customer Analytics.

There are many things to consider in deciding on the approach that's best for you including:

Consider employing a dedicated team if your company is grappling with poor reputation (on and/or offline), or if your company's focus is historically not centered around the customer. In these situations it may also be advisable to hire experienced talent, rather than re-purpose existing team members who have not set up or run a Voice of the Customer strategy before.

Step 5. Set Voice of the Customer OKRs

In this step we take the broad objectives from Step 2 and translate them into something actionable.

Try using SMART goals (Wikipedia: SMART Criteria):

Each letter of the SMART acronym describes a component of each of your objectives. It's a methodology designed to help you set objectives that are clear. For example, we might have the SMART objective "In Q3&4 of this year we aim to reduce churn by 1 percentage point from it's current 6-month trailing value of 2.5%". Compare that with a less clear version of the same objective "We aim to reduce churn". The first version can be assessed to determine whether it has been met, the second is near impossible to evaluate.

Before you move on to the next step we recommend reviewing the objectives you defined in Step 2, and adjusting if necessary. For example, if your team have uncovered any new knowledge gaps about your customers you may want to define specific objectives to close those gaps.

Step 6. Choose additional channels for Voice of the Customer data collection

By now you hopefully have a clear picture of the existing Voice of the Customer data your company already has and which systems that data lives in. This information is important to have before you begin this step, because your goal here is to identify types of data that are missing based on a few important parameters. These parameters should reference whether each feedback source is:

One simple way to identify potential gaps or imbalances in your VoC data collection strategy is to plot the different systems you already use on a series of Venn diagrams. Those diagrams with an imbalance will flag areas where your VoC data coverage is weak. Here's an example:

voice of the customer data collection examplesvoice of the customer platform examples

Document the tools you consider, and their relative strengths and weaknesses. Also include the rationale for your final choice, and consider noting which would be your second choice. This information may prove useful in the next step.

Step 7. Choose a Voice of the Customer platform

Next you'll need to select a place for all of your VoC data to be centralized and analyzed. The options are vast here, and range from relatively high-effort, low-cost solutions like Google Sheets, right through to Enterprise-scale Voice of the Customer software tools. Many teams use an existing business intelligence tool, like Tableau, for their VoC reporting.

Here is a checklist of things to consider when choosing VoC tools, aside from cost:

Step 8. Centralize existing VoC data & set up new channels

Now that you've chosen a Voice of the Customer platform to use you'll have some work to do to plug the data from your existing Voice of the Customer channels into your chosen platform. The considerations, people involved, and level of effort required here vary dramatically depending on the VoC platform you've selected, and the how portable the data from your existing VoC channels is.

In Step 6 we created a list of additional channels we wanted to add to our Voice of the Customer effort. This is also the time to begin setting up those new channels of data and begin your first round of VoC data collection experiments.

Step 9. Create your first VoC report & distribute

This will serve as a baseline. The purpose of this step is to understand your starting point clearly, so that you will be able to measure the impact of your Voice of the Customer strategy.

Ideally, you'll have selected a Voice of the Customer platform that makes it easy to automate your reporting and distribution. We recommend reporting on the key OKR for each team, as well as 2-3 metrics that summarize VoC performance across the organization, as defined in Step 2.

In terms of distribution you have several options:

voice of the customer report example

Step 10. Assess, iterate, repeat

Check that each of the SMART objectives can be measured with the tools you have (either the VoC platform, or any of the input tools). You may also need to adjust the specific values for objectives, pending the results from your baseline report.

Collect feedback from each affected department on:

It is likely that you'll need to make several rounds of adjustments before you find a reporting structure that works across the business. Remember that, like our customer base, your Voice of the Customer program will change slowly over time. Make sure you actively critique how all parts of the program are working at the end of each reporting cycle, and make changes where needed.

Thanks for reading!

We hope you enjoyed this practical guide to implementing your Voice of the Customer strategy.

If you have not already done so, you might like to check out our Voice of the Customer: Definitive 2024 Guide.

We would also love to hear your feedback on this post. Please don't hesitate to reach out. Thanks for reading!

Want to incorporate app reviews into your VoC strategy?

Join over 35% of the top charting app developers using Appbot to make app reviews part of their VoC strategy.

Try Appbot, free for 14 days →

Where to from here?

  • Haven't read our Voice of the Customer: Definitive 2024 Guide yet? It covers everything you need to plan yourVoice of the Customer Strategy.
  • Uncover the true sentiment: Dive into app review sentiment analysis to understand user feedback at a deeper level.
  • Maximize user engagement: Combine app review insights with comprehensive app analysis to elevate mobile experience.
  • Master the art of response: Learn the best practices for crafting an impactful app review reply to engage with your audience effectively.
  • Boost your app's success: Navigate app store reviews and optimize app store ratings with expert insights.

About The Author


Claire is the Co-founder & Co-CEO of Appbot. Claire has been a product manager and marketer of digital products, from mobile apps to e-commerce sites and SaaS products for the past 15 years. She's led marketing teams to build multi-million dollar revenues and is passionate about growth and conversion optimization. Claire loves to work directly with the world's top app companies delivering tools to help them improve their apps. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Enjoying the read? You may also like these

Implement your Voice of the Customer strategy in 10 steps Implement your Voice of the Customer strategy in 10 steps

Creating a Voice of the Customer strategy from scratch can feel daunting. We have broken the process down into a simple, 10-step approach to help you get started today.

The app review & rating checklist

In this article we explore best practices used by top charting apps to get more (and better) reviews and put review feedback to good use.

Choosing a Sentiment Analysis Tool in 2023

In this post we share insights from 9 years working in the sentiment analysis to help you ask the right questions and choose the best sentiment tool for you.

Mobile app growth strategy - The definitive guide

Master the art of mobile app growth hacking with this definitive guide. Explore 5 key areas: Market, Storytelling, Capturing the Market, Downloads & Conversions.

Ready to better understand your apps?

Quick setupFree for 14 daysNo credit card required