Snackable CX Podcast from Mindful


Is Knowing Your Customers as Easy as V-O-C?


Episode details

You know that listening to and understanding your customers is a make or break for your business. So when a Harvard Business Review survey found that 72% of CEOs say they understand…

Episode details

You know that listening to and understanding your customers is a make or break for your business.

So when a Harvard Business Review survey found that 72% of CEOs say they understand their customers, but only 35% of customers agreed, it highlights a HUGE perception gap in the customer experience. One that sets brands up for dangerous dips in sales and retention.

Getting VoC right could be the key to a performing contact center. And who doesn’t like a good key?


This episode is based on our article, “Voice of Customer: What It Is (And Where Many Go Wrong)

Sam also mentions other resources we have about improving your VoC programs.

Here are a few:

Still hungry?

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify to get fresh episodes each week.


You know that listening to and understanding your customers is a make-or-break for your business.

So when a Harvard Business Review survey found that 72% of CEOs say they understand their customers, but only 35% of customers agreed, it highlights a HUGE perception gap in the customer experience. One that sets brands up for dangerous dips in sales and retention.

I don’t want to oversimplify it. There’s a lot going on here to create such a massive gap. But at the core, this disconnect between brands and customers likely comes down to one thing: a misunderstanding of voice of the customer, or VoC.

So sit back, grab a snack, and let’s dig in to exactly what VoC is so you can effectively serve your customers and keep them around for the long haul.

Welcome to Snackable CX, where we break down our best resources into bite-sized guidance on how to stand out and be known for your customer experience. I’m Sam Salerno, here from Mindful, the best-in-class, total experience solution that aims to add kindness to your tech stack.

Definition of Voice of Customer

Voice of Customer has gotten lots of airtime recently. So let’s start with a quick definition to make sure we’re all on the same page.

At its core, VoC is all about holistically understanding your customers — both on an individual and collective basis. It accounts for their thoughts, feelings, words, and behavior at every stage of the customer journey. And when it’s collected and analyzed properly, VoC can give brands a crystal clear roadmap on how to improve their products, services, and their customer experience as a whole.

So, in simplest terms, VoC is knowing, analyzing, and acting on the thoughts, feelings, words, and behaviors of your customers.

Alright, definition out of the way. But some of you are probably thinking, “Wait, wait… I’m already doing this with my CSAT and NPS surveys. That’s all we’re talking about here, right?”

Well, you’re close. But that’s not the whole picture.

We’ll break down the differences between VoC and customer experience metrics in a bit, but first I want to highlight three specific characteristics of VoC that make it stand out.

First, VoC accounts for the entire customer experience.

And when I say entire, I mean the whole enchilada.

Think of VoC like an umbrella. CSAT, NPS, CES, and any other fancy acronym metrics might give you a glimpse into singular aspects of your customer’s experience, but VoC accounts for every aspect — providing brands with a holistic picture of their customers. This requires collecting and analyzing direct and indirect feedback at every stage of the customer journey — not just post-interaction or post-purchase.

Getting this kind of feedback means we have to ask questions like:

  • How do our customers feel when they first encounter our brand?
  • What are their thoughts or feelings when interacting with our marketing material?
  • What’s their impression of our sales and support team?
  • What is their buying experience like from start to finish?

Notice these kinds of questions are both quantitative and qualitative. They don’t just settle for a Likert scale rating — they dig deeper into the customer’s entire experience.

Second, Voice of Customer considers both individual and collective feedback.

Aggregated data is a dream when you want a 10,000-foot-flyby of your customers’ experience. But if you’re only relying on aggregated data, you risk depersonalizing your interactions with individual customers — which means they feel neither heard or understood. It’s the classic scenario of losing the trees for the forest.

But a well-established VoC program does the best of both worlds: helping brands keep a finger on the pulse through metric-based feedback (that’s where CSAT and NPS come in) while also engaging with customers on an individualized basis. The ONLY way to do this is through a channel-agnostic feedback solution that gives reps the power to quickly respond to individual customer feedback.

And lastly, VoC requires buy-in from the entire company.

You can’t silo VoC to just your support or marketing teams. For it to be effective, every individual, team, and department — from your C-suite all the way to your service department — needs to hear customer feedback if you want to effectively serve those customers and exceed their expectations.

C-suite executives need to know customer pain points so they can make customer-centric decisions. Product and development teams need to know what works and what doesn’t so they can create better offerings. Marketing teams need real-time feedback on asset and channel effectiveness if they want to maximize their ad spend. And support and service teams need to know where the trouble spots are in advance so they can work to smooth out the customer experience.

It all comes back to VoC. It’s truly a group effort.

Alright, that all sounds good, but you’re probably already swimming in customer experience metrics. So how exactly does VoC come in? If you’re measuring CSAT, NPS, and CES, then aren’t you already measuring VoC?

Again, that’s a yes and no.

I was trying to figure out how to illustrate it and our producer, Jared, hit it right on the head. He said it’s just like that age old question: is a square a rectangle? Or, since it’s almost lunch time here for me, another conundrum: is a hotdog a sandwich? I’ll let you debate that one in your own mind, but when it comes to Voice of Customer, on one hand, quantitative metrics ARE a piece of the VoC puzzle. But on the other hand, VoC is MORE than just quantitative metrics.

The only way we can get it right is if we’re crystal clear on the differences from your standard experience metrics.

So let’s start with the gold standard: Customer Satisfaction.

Difference between VoC and CSAT

CSAT’s kind of the end-all-be-all of the customer experience. I mean, if a customer isn’t happy, they probably won’t come back. But CSAT by itself can only give you a glimpse of what your customers are thinking about your brand. And that’s where CSAT and VoC differ.

For one, CSAT is usually based on quantitative surveys with a five-point scale that come after a customer has interacted with a brand or made a purchase. We’re all familiar with the standard questions — like, “On a scale of one to five, how satisfied are you with your interaction or purchase today?” or “On a scale of one to five, how satisfied were you with the resolution you received from the service agent?”

These are critical pieces of the VoC puzzle, so we’re not advocating to ditch these. But these kinds of questions don’t fill out the entire customer experience.

For a solid VoC program, you need to supplement quantitative CSAT data with nitty gritty qualitative data. That could mean you experiment with different survey questions and distribution channels to see where customers provide the most feedback data, use a feedback tool that can auto flag negative CSAT responses for a one-on-one followup with an agent, or conduct interviews or focus groups with customers and prospects.

Quick pro tip: You want a tool that lets you put a customer’s quantitative and qualitative feedback side by side so you can identify outliers in your customer’s experience without making assumptions. Like, if a customer gives you a two out of five on a general CSAT question, you can then line it up with their open-ended answers to see if their frustration came from a 10+ minute hold queue. Now you know exactly what you need to address in a follow-up interview and in your contact center as a whole. Oh, and extra pro tip? Use a tool that can automatically flag keywords so you don’t have to do the digging all by yourself.

Difference between VoC and NPS

Next up, let’s talk about VoC and your Net Promoter Score.

Obviously, it’s a HUGE win for your brand if your customers talk about your products and services to those around them. But again, since NPS is often measured with a single question on a 0-10 scale, it can’t give brands a clear picture on why a customer is more likely to spread positive vibes.

Again, VoC serves as a customer and market research method rather than just a single viewpoint into a customer’s experience. So to dig deeper into the why, we need to supercharge our NPS surveys.

Let me just list a few ways you can make that 0-10 survey a bit more insightful.

First, ditch the ultra-generic, company-wide NPS question and, instead, ask about something specific, like, “How likely are you to recommend THIS specific product or service?”

Next, consider adding one or two more questions to your standard NPS survey, like,

  • “What was missing or disappointing in your experience with our brand?”
  • “What do you like or dislike most about our company?”

or even something as simple as,

“How could we make you a happier customer?”

Don’t go overboard on the questions, here, but adding one or two can quickly boost the quality of your NPS data.

And last tip, use AI to flag negative NPS scores for a follow-up interview from one of your reps. Simple follow-ups not only show you’re listening, but it gives you the chance to hear the literal voice of the customer, and match some of that quantitative feedback to qualitative.

Next steps

Now, if you’re stuck on putting together CSAT and NPS surveys that actually get you results, we’ve got some pretty sweet guides you can check out on our website. I’ll make sure those get listed in the show notes for you.

It’s not rocket science, but one thing’s for sure: getting a crystal clear picture on who your customers are and what makes them tick doesn’t happen overnight. It requires organizational alignment, a flexible voice of customer solution, and a definitive action plan for closing the loop with your customers and putting their feedback to work.

But don’t let the process keep you from getting started.

Just remember the name of the game is qualitative. Start by identifying ways you’re currently collecting VoC data (like your CSAT, NPS, or CES surveys), then consider little tweaks you can make to capture a wider breadth of feedback. Rewrite questions, distribute surveys in customer-preferred channels, then talk with department stakeholders on how you can better incorporate that data into your current processes.

And hey, if you need any help, we’re always here to get you on the right path to VoC awesomeness. Just hit us up.

Nutritional Facts

This episode has been adapted from our article “Voice of Customer: What It Is (And Where Many Go Wrong),” which you can find in the Mindful CX library at

We publish new, Snackable CX episodes just about every week, so be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. See ya next time

Written and hosted by Sam Salerno.

Produced and engineered by Jared Evers.

Edited, mixed, and mastered by Adam Griffith.

Artwork designed by Rob Beckham.

Snackable CX

Welcome to Snackable CX, where we break down our best resources into bite-size guidance on how to stand out and be known for your customer experience. We deliver! Subscribe to get an emailed Snack right when it drops.