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

July 26, 2017

Our clients love Voice of Customer (VoC) market research for several reasons. Customer surveys are cost-effective, have a quick turnaround time, and collect quality feedback. The results are immediately actionable and impactful on a manufacturing company. Value and ROI exists well beyond just the feedback you receive. VoC firms can add questions into the survey which collect testimonials from customers for marketing purposes, build an in-house panel, and create a closed-loop process to respond to customer problems.

 

 

Thinking about a Voice of Customer (VoC) survey for your manufacturing company?

Read about the details of our latest project.

 

 

Objectives

In Quarter 2 of 2017, a machine controls and solutions manufacturing company partnered with Drive Research to conduct a Voice of Customer (VoC) 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 VoC 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.

 

 

Approach

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 VoC, explain the role of Drive Research, and explain the importance of a response.

 

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 began on June 5 and lasted until June 19. A total of nearly 600 customers replied to the survey reach-outs. 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 Email Reach-Outs

A value-added benefit of the VoC reach-outs 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.

 

 

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 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 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 likelihood to recommend for the manufacturer.

 

 

Theme 5: How Customers Prefer to Communicate

The VoC 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 VoC surveys cast a wide net. They always uncover strengths and weaknesses for manufacturers which allow us to take 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 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 highlighting 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 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 next steps with a Voice of Customer (VoC) 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.

 

Contact us at 315-303-2040 or email us at info@driveresearch.com.

 

We also offer ISO 9001 survey services for manufacturers.