Voice of The Customer Survey | What, Why and How
By Sam Frampton
When you want to identify customers' needs metrics and KPIs such as revenue, NPS and website traffic may give you a rough indicator of whether the customer is happy. But they still don't tell you about what customers really want.
Numbers provide a top-level overview, but they don't tell you the why behind the score. What could you have done better? Did you meet their expectations? Why did they return their purchase? These are some of the hardest questions faced by many UX and Product teams, and there's no real way to answer these questions unless you give your customer's a voice.
A Voice of Customer survey is designed to help you answer these difficult questions.
What is a Voice of Customer Survey?
Trying to second guess the customer and preempt their needs and wants can sometimes lead to bad decision making and lost time when you find the product feature you’d been working on for the last few months doesn’t satisfy your customers.
Voice of Customer surveys provides feedback that empowers you to get complete knowledge on customer satisfaction, customer happiness and perception. Without asking for feedback, you’ll be flying blind without any direction.
By sending Voice of Customer surveys to your customers, it allows your customers to share quantitative and qualitative feedback across many different touchpoints of the customer journey.
Why are Voice of Customer Surveys Important?
Voice of Customer feedback is direct, actionable feedback from customers and potential customers that you can use to improve your business.
By giving customers a voice, you open yourself up to an array of insights that would have remained unknown to you and your team. Those insights can be turned into actionable feedback, helping you achieve your key objectives.
Improve Customer Retention
Anyone who is working on a customer-facing initiative, whether it’s a Product Manager or Marketer can never bet on keeping existing customers as a sure thing. In highly competitive markets, customers churn as soon as your product performance dips. Customers churn for many reasons, and almost all of them are avoidable by acting on feedback.
Listening to the voice of the customer is one of the best ways to determine whether customers feel they are getting the service they deserve, where the mark is being missed, and how loyal they are likely to be.
Scaling Customer Experience
Carrying out customer interviews is a valuable research method, but as you grow and scale, it will be difficult to find insights in a systematic way across different customer touchpoints that is representative of your customer base. By sending online surveys, you can gather feedback from a large sample size about a product.
It allows you to see where you’re doing well and where you should focus more effort. It will enable you to create customer profiles and identify tendencies. Most of all, it gives you an edge by providing a better sense of what customers really want.
With the right tools, you can streamline the analysis of user feedback at scale, empowering you to analyse thousands of unstructured text feedback, analysing themes mentioned, deducing core drivers of satisfaction and loyalty.
Reducing Negative Reviews
Every company has a large online presence that expands beyond their control. Think back to a time when you decided against a purchase because the reviews were off-putting. Social proof holds tremendous weight when customers assess whether to try and buy a product.
By proactively capturing customer feedback with Voice of Customer Surveys, it provides a way for customers to share negative feedback without telling the world. By acting on feedback and listening to customers, you’re more likely to get positive feedback on review sites aiding the acquisition of new customers.
Building Voice of Customer Survey (VoC) Program
To get the ball moving and to give your customer a louder voice by increasing your feedback volumes it’s important to reach out at different touch points.
Online Popup Feedback Surveys
The first step when implementing your VoC program is to make it as easy as possible for customers to give you feedback. Pop up surveys or small widgets embedded on your web pages will make it easy for customers to get in touch with you. It shouldn’t be hard for customers to leave feedback on your site or product.
Map Out Key Touchpoints
Use customer journey mapping to identify every touchpoint so that you’re clear on what you’re measuring and where. You’ll start to uncover the key drivers of your customer experience and determine how they affect critical business metrics like revenue, customer lifetime value (CLV) or churn.
Regular Customer Surveys
Conducting regular surveys enables you to benchmark the performance of your Voice of the Customer program. It will allow you to establish performance metrics such as NPS, CSAT or our very own Net Sentiment. Once you have a unit of measurement and a regular survey, you’ll be able to measure progress over time, identify changes, and respond to negative themes in your feedback.
Ask For Feedback Immediately
Survey response rates increase when you ask for feedback right after the goods or services have been delivered. Why? Because feedback collected within 24 hours of delivery is more accurate than data collected two weeks or a month later.
People have terrible memories, so waiting too long on sending out your survey invitation could compromise the integrity of your data.
If they don't reply the first time, don't interpret as a signal to give up. You can set up reminder emails in your survey software to send follow-ups so you can boost survey completion rates in your next market research campaign.
Use NPS To Understand Customer Loyalty
Net Promoter scores are an increasingly popular way for marketers to measure customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
Our NPS guide lays out all of the steps you need to ask to capture this powerful data. Research has even shown that companies who measure NPS as part of their voice of the customer research are three times more likely to grow by 10% or more in 12 months!
Voice of Customer Survey Design
To design a Voice of Customer (VoC) survey, you need to think like a researcher.
- What is your research question?
- How are you going to do it?
- What questions do you want to ask?
To help you come up with Voice of the Customer survey questions, check out our tips below.
Choose A Type of CX Survey
There are 3 different approaches to designing a CX survey:
- Post purchase evaluation : feedback from an individual customer at the time a product or service is delivered, or shortly afterwards.
- Periodic satisfaction surveys : e.g. an annual customer survey. Feedback from targeted groups of customers to provide periodic snapshots of customer experiences.
- Continuous satisfaction tracking : regular surveys (daily, monthly or quarterly) that provide continuous satisfaction feedback on post-purchase evaluations over the entire customer lifecycle.
Keep Surveys Short
The shorter your survey can be – without sacrificing the essential feedback you need to obtain – the better. Research shows that the longer a customer survey is, the less time people will spend answering each question, meaning quality decreases.
A good tip we've found to be useful is to add a progress bar so respondents can track progress and won't quit mid way through as they have full transparency of time commitments involved in completing the survey.
Personalise The Survey
Sending a personalised email invitation with a unique subject line will help generate engagement with your customers. Here is an example: ‘Hey Jessica! We hope you love your new jeans. Mind if we ask you a few questions about your shopping experience?’ Taking this more personal approach will invite the shopper to reply far more than a “Dear, Customer—please fill out a short survey regarding your purchase on June 11th.”
Include Open Text Feedback
Make sure customers can write open text responses in your survey: these provide insights that you may not have been looking for with closed questions and with text analytics software it’s now easier than ever to carry out survey analysis pull out insights from thousands of open text responses.
Ask the Right Questions
Focus on questions that help you measure performance and offer a path toward improvement. For example, instead of asking, “How was your experience with our support team?” try, “How satisfied were you with our team’s response time?” This introduces one variable that you can later work on improving.
If you don’t take the proper precautions in crafting your survey questions, you risk misunderstanding how your customers feel. One of the most significant shortcomings of survey design is response bias causing survey respondents to give inaccurate results.