All businesses rely on customer loyalty for brand recognition and revenue growth. How often they come back to purchase products and services, how dedicated they are to your brand, and whether they are happy with the customer service or not matters to the success of your company. Voice of the Customer, or VoC, identifies how well your business and employees know your customers and determines if you are successfully addressing their needs and expectations.
A Voice of the Customer program reveals how your brand measures up to customer expectations and your competition. VOC feedback can propel new business initiatives through a more nuanced understanding of your customers’ needs, perceptions, and decision-making processes.
In this post, we explore some common VoC questions and methodologies, and review how they can help you improve the customer experience through actionable feedback.
Why VoC feedback matters to the success of your company
Knowing how customers perceive your company is necessary to run a successful business. To understand their point of view you first need to ask yourself:
- Do you understand their purchasing patterns and behaviors?
- Can you help your customers with your products and services?
- Do you know how to fulfill your customer’s needs?
VoC surveys are the first step towards answering those questions. The resulting feedback provides an outside-in look into your brand’s strengths and weaknesses, enabling your team to continue doing what’s working well and address what you could be doing better.
VoC bridges the gap between customer expectations and experience by asking your customers the right questions at the right time. Collecting feedback and analyzing it in real time is a quick way to see the gaps between your customers’ expectations and the overall satisfaction delivered.
Additionally, easily digestible customer feedback allows you to:
- Retain and gain customers.
- Spot signs that customers aren’t happy and why to get ahead of any potential brand crises.
- Gauge where new products, ideas or concepts will be most valuable.
- Customize products, features, and service to your customers.
- Provide them what they need to meet their expectations.
The more successful you are at creating an experience that meets the expectations of your customers, the more successful you are at running a business that stays relevant in today’s marketplace.
How do you gain this valuable feedback? By asking what, why and how questions.
Common VoC question examples
Asking questions is a great way to get specific feedback from your customers. It’s important to keep these questions simple and easily understandable for your audience.
Start by segmenting your audience into the customers whose experiences align to their expectations from those whose don’t.
From there, you’ll have the opportunity to ask follow up questions that narrow down why experiences are being met or not, allowing you to analyze VoC feedback from the customers that matter most to your business objectives. Common questions used to identify VoC include:
Recommendations and brand loyalty questions
Recommendation survey questions, such as those used in a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey, allow you to assess how loyal customers are to your business and brand. NPS surveys use a 0-10 scale and an open-ended follow-up question.
NPS survey question 1: How likely are you to recommend this business, company, product, service, or website to others?
NPS survey question 2: Why did you answer the way you did? This is an open-ended question that further probes customer motivation.
Follow-up loyalty questions shine more light on customer motivation:
- What might prevent you from continuing to do business with us over time? Use multiple choice with free-form “other” option. Choices might include: Customer service quality, Product selection and availability, Product quality, Pricing
- How likely are you to switch to another brand, company, product, or service? Use a sliding or numeric scale from very likely to very unlikely.
Results and value received Voice of the Customer questions
Questions designed to measure the value your customers obtain from using your products or services can help your team collect deeper insight into what’s working and what’s not.
- Did you find what you were looking for?
- Did anything prevent you from completing your purchase?
- Is there a product or service you were looking for that we did not have?
- Did our customer service help you resolve an issue? Follow up with an open-ended “Why or why not?”
- Were you satisfied with our company, product or service? Great sliding scale or Yes/No option
- What are the most important [qualities/characteristics] you look for in a company, product, or service? A multiple-choice answer is a good option for this question. Remember to provide an open-ended other field or a none of the above option.
Origins VoC question examples
Origin questions are designed to provide a deeper insight into the discovery phase your customers experienced when first interacting with your brand.
- How did you hear about our company, product, or service?
- Where did you learn about our company, product, or service?
Brand perception questions
Brand perception is how your business, products, and services are perceived in the mind of customers, prospects, employees, and other stakeholders. Simply put, a brand is an idea or collection of ideas tied to your company or product.
Here are some sample brand perception questions to get you started:
- When you think about our company, product, or service, what comes to mind?
- Where have you seen or heard of our brand, company, product, or service over the last 2 months?
Want more ideas for questions to ask? Check out these 52 customer satisfaction questions to ask your customers, organized by customer journey stage.
As you go through these question examples, you may have realized that you’ve been asked these questions yourself at department or grocery stores. The clerk might ask: “Did you find what you were looking for today?” If you say yes, they’ll know you are satisfied. If you say no, they’ll know they didn’t meet your expectations.
And that’s the thing — customers often provide valuable feedback without realizing they’re being surveyed. As a business, what you need to do is ensure that feedback is captured systematically, which leads us into the next section: tried-and-true voice of the customer methodologies.
Voice of the Customer methodologies for increased feedback
There are many ways to gather feedback from your customers, including active and passive methods. Each interaction with your customer offers you a chance to gain feedback and insight into their habits and behaviors, their satisfaction, and their loyalty to your brand.
Active feedback methods
With active methods, your company solicits feedback directly from the customer by questioning them directly after purchase, or on a predetermined schedule, such as once a month or twice a year. Active methods include customer surveys, focus groups, and customer interviews.
Voice of the Customer surveys
Online surveys are a more common approach to gaining customer feedback. Sending customer surveys after an interaction is one of the fastest ways to gather feedback. Once a customer purchases a product, uses a service, interacts with employees, or navigates your website, you can ask them questions about their experience.
These types of surveys come in many forms, from multiple-choice, to yes/no or thumbs up thumbs down, and even open-ended questionnaires.
Asking the right questions matters when surveying customers. For example, NPS surveys measure customer loyalty while CSAT surveys measure customer satisfaction.
Using a survey platform like Delighted’s will help ensure you’re following survey best practices for quality feedback.
Focus groups bring together a small group of customers who share perceptions and observations about your company and brand. When customers openly discuss your brand, they’ll share opinions and beliefs you might not otherwise learn through other feedback methods. This is a great way to prioritize customer needs or test new concepts, ideas, and products.
What you need to be careful about in focus groups is allowing one participant to drive the core conversation, which could lead you to over-index on what may not actually be a big issue.
Interviewing customers is one of the best ways to collect customer feedback. Interacting this way is perceived by customers as a more personal approach. Interviews take place via email, on the phone, or in-person and are a great way to build trust and form a relationship with your customers. Use interviewing techniques to gain insight into customers’ point of view about specific aspects of your company.
Passive feedback methods
Passive methods of gathering feedback are when the customer initiates an interaction with your company rather than the company surveying the customer. This requires employees of the company to closely monitor or listen to the interaction and dig for insights from the customer. Passive methods include live chat, support call data, social media reviews and messages, other online reviews, and website behaviors.
With interactive websites today, customers like being able to reach out for help or ask questions through live chat. Live chat gives you insights into customers’ purchasing behavior and website usage in real-time. Sometimes, chats are used to help with a purchase, to find a product, or to even complain about price, lack of product or a website that isn’t functioning properly. Questions and complaints help you understand why the customer is frustrated, giving you the opportunity to resolve their issues immediately.
Customer support call data
Using recorded data from customer support phone calls helps you determine how your customers perceive your brand, if their expectations are being met and what issues or objections they might have. Although time-consuming to organize, customer support call data provides invaluable feedback from customers.
Social media/social listening as a VoC tool
Millions of people use social media to interact with businesses every day. In fact, some companies have built their entire strategy off of the benefits social media can provide. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are all places online where customers can leave feedback and even post reviews. Additionally, your customers can easily influence the purchase decisions of others by expressing feedback with comments, posts, and reviews.
According to Qualtrics, 67% of customers are influenced by social media reviews. Moreover, social media allows you to observe and participate in customer conversations. While more difficult to track without a dedicated social listening team, social media is perfect for collecting unfiltered feedback, finding trends, and even addressing issues or concerns in an open forum.
Online reviews are another great way to gain passive feedback from customers. Review sites like Yelp and Google offer options for collecting valuable data about your customers.
Outside of live chats and online surveys, analyzing customer website behavior is a great way to obtain passive feedback. With analysis tools you can determine where your customers live, which pages customers visit the most, how far past the homepage they travel, which products or services are the most popular, and also which pages or products aren’t seeing many hits.
While there are many ways to gain valuable feedback from your customers, surveys are the easiest option. Using a platform like Delighted allows you to choose the best survey for your needs, automate your surveys and data collection, and analyze results faster than most other manual and passive methods.