We've said it before and we'll say it again, our Voice of Customer research firm believes VoC offers some of the best ROI in the industry. If you are looking for a cost effective way to dip your toe into the market research waters, customer surveys are where you should start.
Why? The largest cost involved with market research is the cost to acquire sample. This could be a cost to recruit, a paid out sum to purchase a list, or a pay-per-completed survey model if your organization uses a panel.
However, with Voice of Customer research, there is no cost for sample because the sample is yours. In 2017, most companies and organizations have email addresses for their customers. If you don't, have no fear, you'll just have to go with a more expensive VoC route using phone surveys or mail surveys.
Voice of Customer research using emails is your least expensive route.
If your customers had the podium, what would they say about your organization?
Tip Number 1: Your Response Rate is Indicative of the Customer Relationship
The response rate for your Voice of Customer research is the big unknown when you start a project. Some will range as low as 1% or 2% while others can range as high as 50% or more. One thing is certain, you will not achieve a perfect response rate unless your sample size is extremely small.
This is often a myth with VoC or any customer research. A 100% response rate is not realistic. To get there, it takes an exorbitant amount of time and money. This often requires multiple email follow-ups and lots of phone calls. Even after this, you'll likely still have customers who don't reply for one reason or another.
Low response rates typically mean low engagement and a weaker relationship with your company. Apple would likely have higher response rates to their Voice of Customer survey than the company you bought a pack of gum from last week.
Tip Number 2: Use a Third-Party Market Research Firm
We call this the messy roommate bias. Customers will likely not be honest and upfront with your organization when asked, but they will be with a third-party.
This has to do with confidentiality and response bias. If a customer has to deal with a sales representative each day or week, they may be afraid to share negative criticism.
Using a third-party who can keep the feedback anonymous helps with response rates. More importantly it helps with obtaining credible, honest, and reliable data from your Voice of Customer research project.
Tip Number 3: Send an Introductory Email
This is often forgotten but adds a lot of value to your Voice of Customer research survey. The introductory letter is ideally sent about a week or 2 before the survey invite.
If you are conducting your VoC by phone, sending an email out to the contacts you have can still help.
Finally, if you conduct the VoC by mail, send a cover letter with the paper survey.
The introductory letter should hit on 4 things:
(1) Explaining why the market research is being conducted
(2) Explaining why their response is important
(3) Explaining what change(s) will take place from the feedback
(4) Potentially introducing the third-party Voice of Customer research firm
Tip Number 4: Think Value-Added Questions
We covered this in a prior customer survey blog post which addressed 3 value-added questions for your Voice of Customer research here. These involve 3 very actionable questions to add to your script which are perhaps outside of the scope of the main objectives.
The 3 value-added questions are:
(1) Asking the customers to join a panel
(2) Asking customers for a testimonial
(3) Asking customers if they would like a follow-up
Asking customers to join a panel helps with future market research you may want to conduct.
Surveys are an excellent way to collect testimonials to add to your marketing materials and website.
Even better, you can program this question to only show to those customers who rated your organization highly.
Finally, asking if customers would like a follow-up offers a lot of value. This could result in problem resolution, answering a question, or even lead generation.
Contact our Voice of Customer Research Firm
Drive Research is a VoC firm located in Syracuse, NY. We work in a variety of industries with clients across the country. Questions about your market research?