VoC is an acronym for Voice of the Customer. It means slightly different things within different organisations, but in essence it is the process of gathering feedback from customers on their experience of a particular product or service and then acting on that feedback. That second part is very important since it is here that the benefits of actively listening to your customers should be derived.
Customer satisfaction surveys, and customer research in general, have been around for a very long time indeed. Modern VoC programmes differ from this by seeking to collect much larger volumes of feedback (in some cases from every transaction a company is involved in), and using this feedback (often in close to real time) to deliver a benefit to the business.
There are a number of ways that this can happen.
Organisations that are genuinely trying to put the customer at the heart of what they do use a VoC programme to capture real feedback and use it to modify their actions and priorities. When customers share their experiences, in their own words, it is a powerful source of detail that can highlight issues that had previously gone unnoticed.
The feedback itself can be captured at any moment in time, and using any channel. Whether you choose email, phone, SMS or web surveys is probably down to what you want to do with the feedback you're gathering. They have different costs associated with them, and they deliver slightly different results.
Most organisations that begin the process of collecting their customers' views don't regret it. When done properly it generates great value for the business and customer alike.