Criticizing Voice of the Customer (VOC) programs is like speaking out against motherhood and apple pie, writes marketing consultant Ron Shevlin. Yet, he says, there are (at least) two problems with the â€œvoice of the customerâ€ that many marketers donâ€™t take into consideration:
1. Itâ€™s not really the customerâ€™s voice.
The prompts included in survey questions may or may not reflect what respondents really think or what theyâ€™ve done. They often select a prompt because it most closely matches the answer they want to give. Given the opportunity, they might describe it differently.
If that wasnâ€™t bad enough, market researchers take the linguistic limitations they create, then go and misinterpret the responses.
2. Customers donâ€™t always have a voice to contribute.
Market researchers routinely ask consumers â€œwhat influenced you to buy this product?â€
Often, consumers donâ€™t really know what influences their decisions. Even when we think we know, we often lie to ourselvesâ€“as well as to researchersâ€“about those reasons because we donâ€™t want to appear (even to ourselves) to make decisions for the wrong reasons.
In conclusion, What we really need to focus on is understanding the gap between voice and behavior. That is: Why do consumers say one thing, yet do another?