Case Study: Customer Survey for a Manufacturer | VoC Market Research

Our clients love Voice of Customer (VoC) market research for several reasons.

When it comes to market research you are never short of options for type(s) of studies or even methodologies. Brand studies, mystery shopping, phone surveys, mail surveys, and customer churn surveys are all commonly used types of market research.

However, perhaps no other study provides more return on investment (ROI) for your expense than a customer survey or Voice of Customer (VoC) study.

Customer or client surveys are cost-effective, have a quick turnaround time, and collect quality feedback. The results are immediately actionable and impactful for a manufacturing company.

Value and ROI exist well beyond just the feedback and data you receive.

Manufacturing customer survey firms like Drive Research can add questions into the survey which collect testimonials from your customers for marketing purposes, build an in-house panel to leverage for future conversations, and create a closed-loop process to respond to customer problems.

Thinking about a customer survey for your manufacturing company?

Read about the details of one of our latest projects.


Case Study: Voice of Customer (VoC) Survey for a Manufacturer



A machine controls and solutions manufacturing company partnered with Drive Research to conduct a Voice of Customer (VoC) survey or very simply, a customer survey.

The primary goal of the market research was to provide the client with the necessary data to better understand customer needs, wants, behaviors, satisfaction, and drivers to loyalty. The data and findings from the market research guided the client in developing strategies to put in place over the next 3 to 5 years to create a more customer-centric culture of excellence.

This customer survey research served as a roadmap to measure the customer experience (CX) and improve the manufacturing company's operations, marketing, and strategies as well as other secondary objectives.



To address the objectives at-hand, Drive Research recommended a methodology that utilized an online survey delivered through email invitations to a list of customers provided by the client. The survey was finalized, tested, administered, managed, analyzed, and reported on by Drive Research. The manufacturing company was identified as the sponsor of the market research.

The survey lasted an average of 7 to 8 minutes and included 24 questions.

Prior to fieldwork beginning, a pre-awareness email was sent by a c-level executive at the organization to boost awareness of the customer survey, explain the role of Drive Research, and explain the importance of responses.

In addition to the initial email invitation, 2 reminders were sent over a 2-week time period. Key strategic customers who did not respond to the survey were identified and received follow-up phone calls from live interviewers.

Fieldwork lasted 2 weeks and produced a high response rate. A total of nearly 600 customers replied to the survey outreach. The strong response rate allowed our manufacturing market research firm to slice and dice the data by a number of crosstabulations.

From start to finish, the entire project from kickoff through completion of the report lasted 5 weeks to meet the manufacturing company's deadline.



Value-Added Feature of Customer Emails

A value-added benefit of the email survey outreach gave customers the opportunity to request a follow-up from the manufacturer for any reason.

These customer records were passed to the client within 24 business hours with details on why the customer wanted to be contacted. These resulted in additional sales, problem resolution, and clarification on questions. The survey was leveraged as another point-of-contact to customers.

Think VoC conducting for manufacturers provides just a few key takeaways?

Think again.

Our executive summaries include a number of themes, recommendations, action items, and next steps for our manufacturing clients. That's a lot of key findings.


Key Findings

Several question and answer themes were developed for the client in the executive summary.

In addition to the themes, recommendations were also suggested for the company to improve all levels of the customer experience (CX) based on prior knowledge and experience in the field from the market research team.

An infographic highlighting key results and a customer persona which outlined a typical customer for the client were also put together as final deliverables for the manufacturing client.

Here are a few highlights from the executive summary. Although the findings are generalized and blinded, it will give you an idea for what types of questions were answered in the customer survey:

Theme 1: Customer Perception of the Manufacturing Company

Drive Research collected top-of-mind word associations on the client's brand. These were words and phrases associated with the manufacturer when customers see or hear the name. The data found the majority of perceptions were developed through website visits and experiences with the sales reps. Several cross-tabulations were run to examine the difference in sources among key customer segments including strategic customers, geographies, roles, and business revenue.

Theme 2: Likelihood to Recommend the Company

The ever-popular Net Promoter Score (NPS) was used in this VoC project to understand how likely customers are to recommend the manufacturer. Need more information about how NPS works? Visit this blog post. The NPS rating was compared to other benchmarks in the manufacturing field and clients across the country collected through the survey platform.

Theme 3: What Customers Want from a Manufacturing Company

Factor(s) that influence the decision-making of firms was explored in the VoC survey. This included a list of many factors in which respondents could choose from. This type of analysis allows Drive Research to tier categories into specific tier levels for the client (Tier A, Tier B, Tier C of importance). It helps the manufacturing company prioritize factors to improve and market to customers.

Theme 4: How Would Customers Describe the Company's Employees

Employees of the client were scored based on factors such as friendliness, professionalism, ease of working with the employee, and other criteria. These scores were compared to NPS ratings to understand how large of a factor employee experiences were in driving the customer experience. This turned out to be a major influence. Employee scores for promoters were higher than scores for passives, which were higher than scores for detractors. A nearly perfect correlation means employee experiences were a key driver to the likelihood to recommend for the manufacturer.

Theme 5: How Customers Prefer to Communicate

The customer survey also uncovered ways the manufacturer could make doing business easier with customers. These factors including this like faster-quoting processes, faster ordering processes, and other key improvement criteria. It answered how customers prefer to communicate with the company as well (email, phone, portal, text, etc.).

Theme 6: Awareness of Products and Services

The survey addressed awareness levels of different products and services offered by the manufacturer. This data was broken down by geography and industry to help the company understand areas to cross-sell services based on low awareness figures.

VoC can tell a manufacturer whether to turn left or turn right on several key organizational questions. It provides our clients with the knowledge, power, and confidence to make fact-based decisions.


Proposed Customer Experience (CX) Program

As we say in market research, good data provides you with a lot of answers but it also raises additional questions.

Market research becomes addicting in that you continually want to dive deeper to uncover root causes by collecting more data.

Our manufacturing customer surveys cast a wide net. They always uncover strengths and weaknesses for manufacturers which allow us to take the next steps with a full customer experience (CX) program.

Here are some of the next step options which were proposed.


Option A: Transactional Surveys (Post-Order Surveys)

These transactional surveys are an excellent way to keep the pulse of day-to-day customer satisfaction. Email surveys can be sent to customers each week to follow-up on prior week deliveries to understand areas of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. The survey can also proactively trigger necessary follow-up with a customer if they have outstanding issues or a problem with the order. Key KPIs such as customer effort score (CES) and net promoter score (NPS) can be measured on an ongoing basis and delivered to the manufacturing company on a regular basis (weekly, monthly, quarterly reporting).


Option B: In-Depth Interviews (IDIs) with Core Customers

These 20-to-30 minute conversations with Drive Research moderators provide the client with the ability to dive deep into topics. These third-party conversations follow a pre-drafted moderator's guide which is broken down into several key topic areas. These IDIs can be targeted to specific types of customers (geographies, strategic customers, customers that have chosen competitors, or customers identified as growth opportunities for the client). These can be completed on-site for the client in-person or through 1-on-1s via telephone. The conversations are digitally recorded and recapped for the company through case narratives. A report with recommendations is prepared to highlight the key themes from the market research.


Option C: User Experience (UX) Market Research

The sole focus of this market research is to ensure your website meets the user’s expectations. This involves a full audit and evaluation of the website identifying areas of improvement, strategic changes, and tactical changes. Drive Research would utilize it's agency partner to assist with this work. The suggestions from the UX analyst will increase traffic to the site, increase the time-on-page, limit confusion and bounces, and improve the overall navigation of the site. 1-on-1 interviews through Drive Research can also be designed with customers to have the participant screen share with a moderator while the website user browses the site and completes scenarios. An evaluation and interview summary report is created with actionable changes and long-term site recommendations.


Contact Our Manufacturing Market Research Company

Interested in taking the next steps with a customer survey for your manufacturing company?

We can discuss your unique needs and build a custom proposal and quote to match your objectives.

The full proposal you receive from our firm includes a detailed layout of the approach, timeline, and deliverables. Our team can customize a VoC bid to fit any budget.

Interested in working with our team of manufacturing insight experts?

Contact us below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

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