We've said it before on our Voice of Customer (VoC) company blog, and we'll say it again. No single type of study offers better ROI and a higher return than a customer survey. The process itself is very straightforward. It involves several steps from kickoff through reporting.
Here are the 8 steps of a Voice of Customer (VoC) survey.
- Survey Design
- Programming and Testing
- Soft-Launch of Fieldwork
- Full Launch of Fieldwork
Depending on the scope of a VoC survey, most projects can be completed in as little as 3 to 5 weeks. The largest variable is fieldwork. You'll want to leave data collection open as long as needed to acquire the necessary response rate. The number of responses depends on the size of your customer sample but the minimum goal is 100 responses. Collecting 400 is ideal (a +/- 5% margin of error), while 1,000 is the gold standard (a +/- 2% margin of error).
We'll cover 8 mistakes and common slip-ups with VoC surveys.
Unfortunately, not all VoC surveys are done correctly. In this post we cover 8 common VoC mistakes made by organizations. They are meant to discuss typical problems with current VoC programs being run by organizations.
Mistake 1: Thinking you don't need to ask customers for feedback
The biggest VoC mistake of all is not conducting any market research. You may feel you know everything about your customers: who they are, why they purchase, why they don't purchase but that's only what you hear. A very small sample size. What about everyone you don't hear from?
Also, do the customers you talk to tell you the whole truth? What a customer tells you might be different than what they tell someone else. No matter how much you know (or think you know) a VoC survey will always provide new insights, learning, and improvement areas.
No company is perfect. Even Apple.
Mistake 2: Not benchmarking results over time
When it comes to VoC, you should not be thinking of it as a one and done project. You should think of it in terms of a program and long-term commitment. Some of the best value comes from benchmarking your performance year-over-year to see how key metrics have changed.
Doing a VoC once every few years is not enough. It needs to be built into continual performance management at your company so improvements can evolve.
Mistake 3: Conducting VoC in-house
We highly recommend hiring a VoC company to assist with your survey. This is for a few reasons.
First, using an independent third-party ensures you will receive honest and unbiased feedback.
Second, a VoC company can provide your team with expertise around survey design, questions, analysis, and reporting.
Third, the VoC firm can add perspective through their experience working with similar companies or perhaps incorporate benchmarking. This would all be lost by completing it in-house or with DIY tools. Here are 4 problems with DIY market research.
Mistake 4: Not asking the "tough" questions
The goal of a VoC shouldn't be to solely pat yourself on the proverbial back. Your survey should be unbiased, neutral, and provide areas for customers to be upfront and critical about your product or service. A simple example is asking "why?" after a likelihood to recommend question. This allows a respondent to enter both positive or negative feedback. It's different than asking an open-ended question like "what do you like best about our company?"
Mistake 5: Making the survey experience too overbearing
Some organizations that run VoC programs lack the perspective of the respondent or the customer. We sometimes hear "no one will respond to our survey." This is not true. All customers are willing to offer feedback but it's a trade-off. What will they get from spending a few minutes offering feedback?
A guarantee their voice will be heard and changes will be made? A chance to win a gift card? Some free company swag? Whatever the case may be, what they get has to be worth it.
It's also crucial to keep the survey short, fun, and engaging. No one wants to take a 50 question, 20-minute survey. However, a boatload of customers are willing to take a 15 question, 3-minute survey. We know this. It's our style.
VoC surveys should be easy, mobile responsive, and enjoyable.
Mistake 6: Not thanking customers for their feedback
Often forgotten but extremely valuable. After fieldwork is completed, it is considered best practice to send a thank you after fieldwork is completed to both those who responded and those who did not.
In the thank you, the organization should explain why the survey was done, what was done with the feedback, and what was learned. Essentially here are the changes we are making for you. Sending it to non-responders will help the next time you do a survey. They will see action is being taken with feedback.
Mistake 7: Not acting on the findings
Similar to the previous point, asking for and collecting feedback is not enough. Your VoC program needs to make changes to operations, marketing, and strategy to improve the customer experience (CX). If you complete a VoC study and it sits on a shelf it will not help your organization and more importantly, it won't help your customers.
Mistake 8: Using the VoC results for bonuses
Far too many companies conduct VoC for the sole reason of tying customer feedback scores to commission and bonuses. This is a dangerous slope. Employees will often try to game the system and bias customers into providing higher scores. So the feedback becomes unfair and inaccurate. The mission of employees can be misaligned with the true driver of VoC: listening to honest feedback and making improvements to better your organization.
Drive Research is a Voice of Customer (VoC) company in New York State. Our team works with all types of clients in a variety of industries across the country. Our national VoC team works with your organization to design the survey, manage fieldwork, and complete a report.
Questions? Need a proposal? Contact us at [email protected] or call us at 315-303-2040.