The voice of the customer has always been audible, but in recent years, online reviews and social commentary have cranked up the volume. As a business, you can no longer bury your head in the sand and ignore it — and if you’re smart, you’ll use it to improve customer experience and connect with your customers in meaningful ways. How? By turning feedback to action.
Hot off the press, Forrester’s Now Tech Voice-of-the-Customer (VoC) 2021 report outlines its definition of a VoC tool, including key activities and capabilities. The report also identifies leading vendors in the space. As Senior Analyst Faith Adams and author of the report noted, VoC tools collect and analyze customer feedback and data to enable organizations to improve the customer experience (CX).“VoC programs and tools help CX pros manage the complex challenges of a CX program by supporting the six key CX competencies: research, prioritization, design, measurement, enablement, and culture,” she wrote.
But selecting a VoC tool is no easy feat — there are dozens to choose from. Adams’ analysis segments vendors by size and functionality to make selection easier.
Strong in All Essential VoC Categories
Forrester’s report separates VoC vendors into three categories: Customer Feedback Management (CFM) platforms, VoC Specialists and Unified Data Analytics vendors. CFM platforms are comprehensive solutions, whereas tools that fall into the two other segments have limited functionality. CFM tools help organizations collect feedback, integrate it with other enterprise data for holistic analysis and reporting, and then help close the loop by enabling organizations to take action. By comparison, VoC Specialists tend to focus on collecting feedback from specific channels, and Unified Data Analytics tools are essentially data aggregators.
Reputation made the elite list of CFM vendors in the report, underscoring its strength across all 15 categories of functionality that are characteristic of VoC tools. Additionally, Reputation is the only mid-sized vendor in Forrester’s report to list Automotive as a core industry focus and one of just four to list Healthcare as a primary industry focus.
“Our inclusion in Forrester’s report validates our strategy and product roadmap, and underscores our mission for helping our customers turn feedback to action,” said Ed Bondoc, Head of Product Marketing at Reputation. “The fact that we appeared on Forrester’s short list of elite VoC tools that offer the broadest range of features and capabilities differentiates us from other players in the market who have taken a more narrow approach.”
Tight Alignment with Forrester’s VoC Framework
Why are VoC tools — particularly the more robust CFM platforms — important? According to Adams, they enable organizations to listen to their customers, interpret feedback into actionable insights, take action to improve the customer experience, and monitor results over time. These four activities — Listen, Interpret, Act and Monitor — are the basis for initiating a virtuous cycle that leads to exceptional CX and, ultimately, the ability to drive revenue in today’s feedback economy.
Not surprisingly, Adams’ framework aligns perfectly with Reputation’s roadmap and market strategy, and mirrors our core capabilities — Listen, Learn, Act and Amplify. “Reputation exists to forge relationships between companies and communities, and turn feedback into fuel for business growth and success,” said Pranav Desai, Reputation’s VP of Product Management. “That’s why we designed our platform with the functionality of a robust CFM solution.”
Focus on a Path to CX Transformation
Adams’s analysis ends with some advice for selecting a VoC vendor from the many available options. She recommends starting by defining your VoC program goals and assessing what’s already in place. Next, find out which vendors have native functionality versus third-party contributions and whether adding those features will increase the price. She also recommends taking advantage of managed services if it makes sense to do so, for example, when additional expertise is needed and you don’t have the resources necessary to complete the work in-house.
Importantly, Adams noted that implementing a VoC program takes time, and communication that focuses on the path to CX transformation is critical. Finally, she cautioned against excluding people and culture from the equation. “CX pros must consider the human element and the culture fit of the vendor — along with the product’s merits — when making this big decision,” she wrote. You can read Forrester’s full report here.