Hearing Changes in the Customer Voice


Hearing Changes in the Customer Voice

Contact centers are looking for ways to take advantage of the customer experience (CX) insights that can come from voice of the customer (VoC) analytics and quality management (QM) applications.

But there have been questions raised about these applications. And there are several changes taking place that impact their use and utility.

Which Method is Best?

There has been a debate between VoC systems, call recordings/online interaction capture, and social listening as to which method provides the most accurate understanding of the CX.

The questions have been asked, namely, do these methods complement each other? Or do they compete/overlap? And if so, in what areas?

The answer is multifold. As more companies turn to digital services, many customers interact only with contact center agents and expect seamless experiences. These can only be achieved by having a strategic process in place for monitoring quality that is actively aimed at the CX, not the agent experience.

Connecting siloed data from a variety of methods is key to this strategy. These tools can complement each other in different areas, for example, where the customer interaction can’t be captured (i.e., bank tellers with account holders or technicians making home repairs).

…do these methods complement each other? Or do they compete/overlap? And if so, in what areas?

For interaction-based teams, the capture and analysis process is effective as long as there is a thorough strategy in place for data analysis. This strategy involves careful planning, thoughtful consideration, and most importantly, constant evolution to truly succeed.

Solicited to Unsolicited

Prior to the advent of speech transcription – post-call, email, and SMS-based surveys – were commonplace.

The industry has witnessed a shift from solicited feedback to unsolicited feedback: which skyrocketed during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Brands were forced to quickly pivot, with many adopting new approaches to leverage customer feedback and find out what customers are REALLY saying, not just what they are willing to tell them.

In order to meet increasing expectations, the primary methods to understand what customers think about your brand has evolved beyond asking questions. In 2021, our research found nine in 10 contact managers expect higher demand for contact center analytics insights from every department, while three in four report increased requests for contact center analytics from executives.

Our 2022 State of the Contact Center Report highlighted that consumer expectations are still on the rise for both functional and emotional benefits. Roughly half of managers said that customer expectations had gone up, compared to the previous year, across all facets of the CX.

As companies heavily relied on positive customer interactions to stay afloat, they focused their investments on technologies that provide a real-time and complete view of the CX.

Today, the ability to capture data across the customer journey is important not just in contact center operations but the wider enterprise’s too.

New Channels and Devices

New channels, namely asynchronous messaging and video are no different than any other channel in terms of VoC. But from a quality perspective they pose the challenge of meeting customers in the style that they are presenting: introducing new styles of communication, slang, and overall tone.

How do QM leaders make sure that we are looking at the right things? What does the customer actually care about in the interaction? These are new questions we’re asking ourselves to predict the near-term future of CX.

We’re now all connected, and connect to each other, with smartphones, over multiple channels. Smartphone interactions shift how we communicate with customers – not just in terms of the tools we are using – but in the tone and cadence of how the messages are delivered: which impacts VoC, QM, and ultimately our analysis of the CX.

SMS and WhatsApp are two great examples of this. Am I talking to a teenager who will use lots of emojis, acronyms, and slang? Or am I chatting with someone who truly prefers proper grammar and punctuation? How do we build a QM form that takes all of this into account? With smartphones, there’s a different approach for delivering a personalized, seamless experience.

Keeping Up With Compliance

There is also the ongoing challenge of keeping up with data and metadata collection and privacy regulations, both in the U.S. but also in Canada (see Figure), and other countries as witnessed by the legal action taken by the European Union against Facebook for its practices.

We may notice the U.S. becoming more particular about what we can and can’t do with data, such as pregnancy information in the face of some states’ abortion laws. And with recent data breaches and national news stories about data collection practices, the public is becoming increasingly aware of how their data is being used by different companies.

As long as CX companies keep pace with the changing landscape and maintain compliance with government regulations, there should be minimal impact on VoC and QM metadata collection. Also, as the demand for cloud-based software increases, working with providers as to how data is stored and shared is of paramount importance.

Canadian Issues and Practices

Data sovereignty, especially in Canada, has always been a big question in the ways that organizations can capture their customers’ data. Canadians, like those of other countries, are wary when their data is shipped and handled in the U.S. with its more relaxed data laws.

Canada’s laws have tended to follow the stricter European model than U.S. practices. While the intent of the laws has always been there to protect data, Canadian organizations might be limited to which services are available as the providers attempt to respect the wishes of the Canadian laws.

At the same time, Canadian contact centers face scheduling challenges in comparison with the U.S.: especially when it comes to scheduling.

As rule sets, labor laws, and scheduling requirements are stricter, contact centers need to have a good scheduling rules engine to fall back on and incorporate robust schedules with built-in flexibility. The companies that follow these principles will have a competitive advantage when retaining top talent.


With innovations like cloud computing and lightning-fast transcription, the contact center collects a gold mine of data that can help brands improve interactions and even anticipate customer challenges.

However, contact centers must also learn how to harness that power to fit their operational needs and requirements.

For every vendor that truly understands the power of VoC transcription, there are 10 just discovering how it can help them. Therefore, it’s important to not rush the vetting process and work closely with experts who have been through the process before.

Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra is Product Evangelist, Calabrio.