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GuidesCustomer research10 voice of the customer tools to get better feedback

10 voice of the customer tools to get better feedback

Last updated

8 August 2023

Author

Dovetail Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Jean Kaluza

Voice of the customer tools are billed as the most precise, reliable way to capture valuable customer feedback, which you can use to improve your services. There are many great platforms available to capture customer feedback across multiple channels, so it can be hard to know which is the best for your business.

In this article, you’ll learn about the most important features of dedicated voice of customer tools and see our selection of the 10 most promising options available. There is also a bonus resource—including our top pick for true voice of customer mastery!

What is voice of the customer (VoC)?

Voice of the customer (or VoC) is a strategy for collecting and analyzing customer feedback and, more importantly, mining it for insights to enhance your customer experience (CX).

VoC is a streamlined method for learning about your customers:

  • Needs and desires

  • Motivations to use your product

  • Product experiences

  • Brand perceptions

  • Behavior and habits

  • Pain points

  • Goals

To discover all these aspects, you need to employ a multi-stage process of:

  1. Data gathering

  2. Analysis

  3. Planning or implementation

To accomplish this, most voice of customer tools fulfill several functions:

  • Feedback management: to funnel communications from various channels into a central database

  • Sentiment analysis: where language-based algorithms analyze and categorize feedback (e.g., positive, neutral, or negative)

  • Customer journey mapping: to graphically show what the customers experience at each stage of their interaction with your company

VoC efforts can become extremely granular by using tools that are pigeonholed into one function or another, for example:

  • Social media analytics

  • Real-time response triggers

  • Glossy feedback reports

  • Automatic conversation tagging

Depending on your team’s needs, research goals, budget, and resources, you may prefer a voice of the customer tool with more or fewer features.

Why use VoC software?

Voice of customer tools can help you learn what you’re doing right and what can be improved. The best VoC feedback comes from the audience wielding the biggest impact on your company's success: your current customer base.

Unless a company is carrying out specific prospective market research or elaborate ethnographic studies, voice of the customer tools are most often used as a platform for those people with whom a company has already established relationships. 

Gaining and acting on these insights can help you fulfill countless goals, ranging from basic product improvements to major revenue benchmarks. Businesses are reaping the following rewards by mastering voice of customer tools:

  • Gaining clear insight into customer sentiments

  • Creating products and services their ideal customer base loves

  • Boosting brand recognition while building a reputation for genuine customer rapport

  • Creating a thriving company culture that aligns with their customers' ideals

  • Making key business decisions in sync with real-time market demand

  • Extracting more value from their buyer personas

10 voice of the customer tools to maximize customer experience

The heart of any voice of customer research is that it must be universal. This requires seamless integration with multiple channels—as many as your customers use. Further, it must be easily customizable, because VoC data is inherently unique and will constantly evolve.

When trying out the following tools, pay close attention to how much they keep the customer data front and center, rather than the tool itself. In no particular order:

1. HubSpot

A true titan in the CRM field, HubSpot pioneered many customer journey techniques (not to mention much of the lingo) used today. It's no surprise that HubSpot's diverse range of customer-centric sales tools can accommodate customer feedback in fairly sophisticated ways.

Like any of the tools in this list, allowing external tools to host your VoC data works well if you're already outsourcing a significant portion of your current workflows to the app in question. Those using HubSpot's winning CRM and related tools will likely be happy to let it handle an influx of VoC data.

However, HubSpot isn't built for weighty general research. If you aren't already a dedicated HubSpot user, becoming one just for VoC might not be the most efficient choice for long-term data collection and analysis.

Even if you are, you may commit valuable customer data to HubSpot apps, then realize you need an outside resource anyway. Comparing VoC data to wider, more specialized market research could result in redundant efforts, unless you're already a HubSpot-integration wizard. 

When you find yourself spending more time in the system settings than looking at your customer data, you know it's time to move on.

2. Medallia

Medallia is more specifically made for customer feedback analysis in pursuit of the optimal customer experience. To that end, it has an impressive array of algorithm-based analytics that are well-suited for identifying trends.

It's easy to share your research with others, and Medallia has a useful prioritization function development teams will find useful to improve product features. Some of the other options in this list are weighted more toward customer support.

One of the biggest potential drawbacks of Medallia is that it's made strictly for VoC. That could be a strength, given its huge multichannel integrations. But if your market research includes persona development, market strategy, user testing, in-app data, or anything else outside VoC, you could be facing tricky combinations of additional apps when the time comes to implement your hard-won insights.

3. InMoment

Another CX-optimization suite, InMoment takes VoC research head-on. It was developed specifically with surveys in mind, yet it's still possible to compare your customer research with revenue, sales, in-app, and CRM data.

Another strength is InMoment's in-house AI and collaboration tools, which hold the potential to boost the speed and accuracy of quantitative analysis while bringing departments together on the same tasks. But because it's much more attuned to the needs of developers, product testers, and CX staff, other teams (customer support, sales, etc.) may have less reason to use it except when specifically called to do so.

On the other hand, InMoment's easy info-sharing features alone make it a useful collaboration tool that could give less CX-focused staff reason to use it.

4. Qualtrics

Qualtrics positions itself as a comprehensive experience management (XM) platform. This is a good option when you want to capture live customer data, due to its real-time conversation analytics. Qualtrics (which is actually a suite of tools) also emphasizes natural language processing, including algorithms to identify the most effective time to interact with particular customers.

If VoC is viewed as the total process of data gathering, analysis, and implementation, Qualtrics provides a decent balance of all three, but with a somewhat compartmentalized feel. It also doesn't flex its data-gathering might far beyond customer communications. Perfectly suitable for VoC—less so for other data-intensive needs.

5. Verint

Verint is another CX optimizer, with more of a focus on web services and mobile apps. This gives it an edge on the communication front, where the close relationship between mobile apps and rapid communications is more expected than with other products or channels.

To these ends, Verint includes a suite of real-time listening and guided response tools. Because it's focused on CX, it makes good contextual suggestions that product teams will likely find clear and useful. Verint is also useful for those in customer support or other customer-facing roles, where communication speed is important.

6. SentiSum

With a focus on auto-prioritization and root-cause analysis, SentiSum tries to limit distractions and keep users focused on their goals, not the app itself. SentiSum's approach to natural language processing is to give more consistency and depth and reduce excess. In this way, it rightly bills itself as a high-efficiency tool.

That said, some have reported a consistent need to manually adjust or even correct SentiSum’s machine-learning function. To the extent that's also true of any algorithm-powered tech, it's still efficient with massive data streams, and we'll leave it to you to decide if it's worth the lofty price tag. SentiSum also features extensive language support, which, with its high cost barrier to entry, suggests they're gunning for an enterprise-only niche.

7. AskNicely

Despite its strong emphasis on customer service, this VoC tool isn't just nice for consumers. Users also appreciate its 50+ app integrations and communications efficiency. However, because AskNicely is dedicated to funneling customer feedback and response to customer success teams, there's a bit less here for others. Of course, if customer-facing services are your primary focus, it's highly effective.

8. Feedier

With a low learning curve and intuitive interface, Feedier leaves a great first impression. It provides an excellent enterprise-grade experience out of the box, and it's equally polished on the customer and company side (complete with custom branding options).

Feedier also provides a streamlined process for identifying qualified leads in the customer data, which sales teams will love. You can also make the most of Feedier’s incentivized feedback mechanism, where customers can earn upgraded service and other perks.

One issue is that data can be too easily pigeonholed, meaning users may unknowingly create data silos. Feedier also provides highly restricted SMS support, which is a no-go for those using numerous texting channels. In general, Feedier has some drawbacks, such as odd limits on which survey options are accessible at different times.

They'll likely resolve these issues, however, because they've developed a strong reputation for acting on their own VoC data.

9. CustomerGauge

With a solid balance of real-time reporting and usability, CustomerGauge is well-received by its users. Its (initially) easy-to-use UI makes core VoC tasks a snap, but there are some speed bumps when trying to blaze through different features. It can make the app's nuts and bolts more of the focal point than the data itself. Fortunately, CustomerGauge provides excellent support services.

CustomerGauge shines when it comes to website/app optimization by making clear visual connections between feedback and product functions. It's a more developer-friendly option, without detracting from its main focus of customer success.

Granular NPS reporting makes CustomerGauge useful even at the C-suite level, but there are some barriers to full-fledged organization-wide collaboration. For example, there's a noticeable lack of obvious reminders and schedule notifications, making it hard to delegate tasks and manage the broader workflow.

Also, the VoC reporting isn't fully customizable. It can leave you feeling "locked in" to a certain viewing mode, when you want to move data throughout different parts of the platform with ease.

10. MonkeyLearn

Most first-time users are impressed by MonkeyLearn's clean and simple interface. It makes for an easy learning curve, even if the UI tends more toward simplicity than utility. That said, its data visualizations are remarkably easy to understand. Under the hood, MonkeyLearn boasts impressive data-crunching capabilities, and the ability to train custom language models as you see fit is downright innovative.

Like most of the tools previously mentioned, where it leaves users wanting is a nearly unwavering focus on customer feedback—when what companies need most is fewer tools that handle more, not the opposite.

One tool to rule them all

There is one other way to maximize your voice of the customer strategy—but it involves stepping outside the SaaS merry-go-round and settling on one application to manage all your feedback gathering, data crunching, and reporting needs.

With Dovetail, you'll have voice of customer data automatically interwoven into your workflow. Each department's vantage point converges into a highly adaptable platform, where its intuitive design runs through every mode and function. The result is a highly consistent experience and the shortest learning curves for each unique function.

From insight to ready-to-market product, Dovetail shortens the time between VoC questions and data-driven answers.

Final thoughts

With any research tool, you can't allow the app to become the centerpiece of your work. An effective voice of customer tool must provide all the following:

  • Clear, actionable insights from even the deepest data repositories

  • Clutter-free sharing of all data

  • Sophisticated (yet silo-free) categorization and tagging

  • Easy integration of live VoC data with all other research

  • Versatile reporting functions, with one-click customization

  • Adaptability to changing workflows via powerful job-sharing and collaboration tools

  • Automatic customer-journey mapping built around VoC feedback

  • Functions that serve each department's core needs—from real-time customer support hand-offs to automated lead tagging and beyond

  • Automation at every turn, including:

  • Fast and accurate transcription

  • Real-time conversation analysis

  • Categorization and topic correlation (e.g., product feedback, usability testing, social media buzz, and so on)

  • NPS analysis and tagging

It's no longer the nineties when digital product specialization was the only way. Now, some of the most useful business tools are those built for the maximum number of tasks, and with no appreciable loss of niche functionality. But finding that sweet spot requires as much foresight as you expect from your digital toolkit vendor.

Voice of the customer template

Having done the research, compared the options, and imagined how each one may (or may not) fit your needs … which way do you go?

To get you started faster, we've made one of our most popular customer feedback tools immediately available. With a free Dovetail trial, you'll have access to our voice of the customer template and countless other free survey tools, accessible anywhere there's an internet connection.

With immediate click-and-drag mastery and vast data-crunching prowess, Dovetail can reveal exactly what's shaping your customer's perceptions in a heartbeat.

FAQs

What is a voice of the customer strategy?

Quite simply, it's the backbone of the most customer-centric product strategy and CX-optimization efforts. Doing it right requires a concerted effort to:

  1. Gather feedback

  2. Analyze it

  3. Apply it

All three must be automated as much as possible, or you'll be more focused on the details than the takeaways. Voice of the customer tools are not strategies. While the tools can streamline and automate an impressive amount of feedback and analysis—and even provide highly contextual guidance—you must ultimately choose how to act on those insights.

That's why your voice of the customer strategy must start with the easiest and most distraction-free tools, then end with a plan for weaving your VoC insights into your daily operations. It begs the question: how well does your voice of customer tool adapt to your general workflow, rather than the reverse?

How is voice of the customer used?

Acting on your hard-won VoC data is 100% up to you, but you're not on your own. As you apply customer insights, it's best to create a feedback loop where new customer feedback automatically integrates with previous data. Doing so provides a hands-free way to detect shifts in customer behavior as you apply previous VoC insights.

This will reveal how your company's efforts reflect what's going on in your customers' minds and hearts. It may sound too good to be true; but all it takes is streamlining your research with real-time, automated analysis.

Get started today

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