The right Voice of the Customer software can help you better understand your customers. However, because Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a fairly new term, not all software developers know how to create effective solutions. For this reason, we recommend Voice of the Customer software applications that have been designed by customer experience professionals. Below, you’ll find eight characteristics of superb Voice of the Customer software. Use this list to help you decide on a customer engagement software provider.


1. Fosters online and offline customer engagement.
Since it has several meanings, the term customer engagement can muddy discussions of Voice of the Customer software.  Some use customer engagement to refer only to how visitors interact with your site. These individuals would be focusing on conversions, time on your website, and other indicators of how engaged a customer felt with your website. However, customer engagement can also refer to how customers interact with your brand in general. If you’re hoping to find a technological solution to help you improve the customer experience across multiple channels, be sure that your Voice of the Customer software will be helpful for offline interactions as well.

2. Easy to use.
Customer Engagement software shouldn’t require you to set aside excessive time for training for your employees. Instead, look for Voice of the Customer software with dashboards that anyone can feel confident using in only a couple of hours. Of course, as a company leader you will probably be the guinea pig for your customer engagement software, so as you test potential solutions, imagine how your managers and front-line employees might feel using each system.

3. Real-time results in online environment.
Modern customer engagement software shouldn’t force you to wait hours or days for your customer feedback data. Rather, Voice of the Customer software should be sophisticated enough to provide real-time results. Leading companies are using synchronous web-based customer engagement software to immediately follow up on unsavory customer feedback. Empower your employees to do the same by choosing VoC software that provides customer feedback data in real-time.

4. Automatically built-in systems for helping managers take action on customer feedback.
Thankfully, the days of inaccessible mountains of customer feedback data have passed. Your Voice of the Customer software shouldn’t just give you data on your customer engagement scores; it should also include built-in triggers to help your employees respond to customers. For instance, an effective customer engagement solution might automatically send out an alert when a customer’s survey responses indicate that she is considering switching brands.

5. Ability to set different access levels for different employees.
As a busy manager, you need help tracking and responding to customer feedback. However, it’s probably unwise to open your customer feedback data to every employee; doing so could overwhelm your staffers and put your company security at risk. Instead, Voice of the Customer software should include built-in accessibility restrictions. Company leaders should be able to decide which employees will have access to which customer feedback data.

6. Compatibility with CRM systems.
Maximize your Voice of the Customer program by ensuring that your customer engagement software can interface seamlessly with your other customer solutions, such as CRM programs.

7. Library of Best-Practices knowledge on how to improve customer experience.
Sure, you could hire a full-time customer experience specialist to review and summarize the latest thinking in Voice of the Customer studies. Or you could save a bundle by choosing a VoC software solution that includes an online library of proprietary information on how to improve the customer experience.

8. Ability to impact the employee experience.  Our 2011 Employee Engagement Trends Report found that using customer feedback to recognize employees who go above and beyond for customers is a powerful driver of Employee Engagement. Any investment made in collecting customer feedback should be with a vendor who is equally well versed in measuring and managing the employee experience and in using customer feedback to improve employee experiences.

[photo: Jamiesrabbits]