7 Steps to Get Started with a Voice of Customer (VoC) Survey

Any good market research project takes a well-planned out process. Customer surveys are no different. A lot of work must go into planning and preparation of a project in order to ensure a successful outcome. Customer surveys provide organizations an opportunity to listen to feedback from customers in the masses. No anecdotal positive or negative comment here or there through comment boxes. A Voice of Customer (VoC) survey is a true representation of the pulse of your customer base.

Several steps are involved in a customer survey in order to move from start to finish. These 7 steps are outlined below in more detail to help you get started with a VoC survey. These include: (1) define objectives, (2) develop survey, (3) program survey, (4) test survey, (5) launch survey, (6) report, and (7) debrief.

Follow these 7 steps to perfect your Voice of Customer (VoC) process.


Step 1: Define Objectives

If you are interested in a customer survey, you have your reasons. Some of these objectives are the questions you know you want answered. Who is our target customer? Which customers spend the most with us? Why did our customers buy from us over competitors? What are customers most satisfied with? What do we need to improve?

These core objectives set the tone for the entire project. Knowing what you want to learn helps structure the right survey questions to get you answers.


Step 2: Develop Survey

Now that you have your primary and secondary objectives laid out, continue to your survey draft. Some of the objectives translate easily over to a survey script. Others may be more difficult.

For example, if you want to know the optimal price point for a product, you cannot simply ask: "How much do you expect to pay for this product?" Respondents believe the survey is someone of a negotiation tool so they tend to low-ball the value.

Price point questions should be tackled with a question series like the Van Westendorp model. This includes a series of 4 questions which inquired on price. This is when it helps to work with a customer survey company who can offer expertise and know-how to help you translate objectives into formal survey questions.


Step 3: Program Survey

After your survey is drafted and finalized, the next step is to enter it into your survey software. Most customer surveys nowadays are conducted online through a link on a website or an email invitation. Advanced survey tools give you capabilities to make your survey engaging and efficient. Questions are asked based on responses to prior questions to move your customers along. None of your customers woke up and said: "I want to take a survey today". So you have to make the survey concise and as engaging as possible.


Step 4: Test Survey

Once you have finalized your programming in your online survey tool, the next step is to test. Then test again. Then test some more. We recommend sending the link to a few of your colleagues and ask them to "break" the survey. See if they can find any mistakes: typos, logic issues, spacing issues, formatting, etc. Anything is fair game as you test.

It is recommended you also send the survey to a small batch of customers to start. Like a test drive. This helps ensure there are no errors, the questions are comprehended correctly, and it will also lead some insight into the response rate.


Step 5: Launch Survey

Once tested and approved, the next step is to fully launch fieldwork. This involves sending all of the invitations to your customer sample via email. It is important to monitor responses as they come in so you can gauge the number of reminders you need and how close you are to your goal. There is no magic number of survey responses to aim for because it depends on sample size or your pool of customers.

A "good" response rate is subjective. If you emailed 1,000 customers, receiving 100 responses might be considered a strong return. However if you email 100,000 then 100 would seem poor. Ideally, if sample sizes allow, you should shoot for 400 responses. With 400 responses you achieve a +/- 5% margin of error with a random sample.


Step 6: Report

Now you are ready for the grand finale. After your fieldwork is completed, you can begin your analysis and report. If you are putting together a comprehensive report plan on including an infographic, executive summary, and action items for your team.

It is important to make the findings and key takeaways digestible. Not everyone will want to read through your 100-page report. They'll want to understand the big insights, not all of the details. It is important to focus a lot of your time on interpretation and analysis, not as much time as building out all of the charts and graphs.


Step 7: Debrief

Lastly, you'll want to get back together as a team to present the findings. This is typically the same team that joined you for the kickoff meeting now that the project is complete. In this meeting you should walk through executive summary of themes and action items. Save the last portion of the meeting to discuss next steps.

There, your Voice of Customer (VoC) survey project is now complete!


Contact Drive Research

Drive Research is a customer survey company located in New York. Questions about how our team can help you create, field, and analyze your next customer survey? Contact us at 315-303-2040 or send us an email at info@driveresearch.com.

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