Companies Projected to Rachet Up Spending for Voice of the Customer Programs

For the third straight year, research from the Temkin Group has found that an overwhelming number of companies report that VoC programs deliver positive business results. Only 7 percent of large companies that were surveyed reported poor results from their VoC programs.

The State of Voice of the Customer Programs, 2013 report examined almost more than 180 large companies that have formal voice of the customer (VoC) programs and compares results to similar studies from 2011 and 2012.

The positive results are fueling an increase in focus on VoC. Across all areas examined in the study, more companies plan to increase than decrease their investments. The most spending momentum is with software for managing VoC programs, what Temkin Group calls Customer Insight & Action Platforms, and text analytics. In both of these areas, more than 40 percent of firms plan to increase spending compared while less that 6 percent are planning a decrease.

Companies are also expanding the staffing on their VoC teams. Thirty-six percent of companies have more than five full-time employees dedicated to their VoC efforts, up from 31 percent last year. Sixty percent have three or more employees, which is an increase from 52 percent in 2012.

Temkin Group's research also shows that VoC programs evolve through five levels of maturity, moving from "novices" through to "transformers." Only 20 percent of firms have reached one of the two highest levels of maturity in this year's study, but this represents an increase from 16 percent last year.

As companies gain more VoC maturity, their efforts will face a new landscape. The study found significant changes coming in VoC programs, as mobile and analytics become more important. The number of companies soliciting feedback via mobile phones has more than doubled from nine percent last year to 20 percent this year and is poised to continue rising. When asked to estimate the importance of different sources of customer insights three years down the road, more than 70 percent of respondents said that social media, customer interaction history, and predictive analytics will become more important. Multiple-choice surveys, the historical mainstay of VoC programs, received the least positive outlook.

"Taking action based on customer insights has enormous ROI," said Bruce Temkin, managing partner, Temkin Group, in a statement. "Most companies are only scratching the surface on the potential value of these efforts. Future VoC efforts will look completely different than they do today."