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GuidesSurveysVoice of the customer survey: 18 questions to ask

Voice of the customer survey: 18 questions to ask

Last updated

3 July 2023


Dovetail Editorial Team

Today's consumers have more tools than ever to learn about new companies and choose the brands they prefer to do business with. 

If you fail to meet your customers' needs, they can quickly turn to your competitors.

In the US alone, companies lose $62 billion each year due to poor customer service, and 91% of customers who are unhappy with a brand will leave without complaining. 

If you don't try to learn how your customers feel about your services, they may never make a repeat purchase. 

The only way to know whether you're meeting customer expectations is to ask. Voice of the customer (VoC) research is the secret to learning how to please your customers. 

Let’s learn what a VoC survey is, how to create one, and how to analyze the results.

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What is a voice of the customer survey?

A voice of the customer survey captures what customers are saying about a business, product, or service. In other words, it gives your customers a voice. 

A typical VoC survey is a short series of questions that your customers answer to help you understand their needs, expectations, and satisfaction levels. 

Companies usually conduct these surveys after customers interact with their product or service. They provide insights into changes the business should make to satisfy customer needs

The results of a VoC survey can guide business decisions around customer service, product improvements, and problem resolution. VoC surveys are becoming more popular as customers seek more direct interactions with the companies they buy from. 

Who owns voice of the customer?

Whether your marketing team conducts VoC surveys or you hire a third-party surveyor for the job, marketing owns the voice of the customer. 

You can conduct VoC surveys at various customer journey stages to gather ongoing feedback. 

Marketing teams can use satisfaction scores to promote products and services, while product development can use other data to improve their side of the business.

Why conduct voice of the customer surveys?

VoC surveys are powerful tools that provide insight into how your customers feel about various aspects of your business. You can use this knowledge to influence many business decisions. 

The Internet of Things (IoT) era means consumers can easily conduct significant research about the products and services they need to enhance their lifestyles. 

As a result, products and prices largely speak for themselves, making the customer experience more important than ever. 

Nearly 50% of organizations in a Gartner survey claimed they could track the financial benefits of customer experience projects. Over 80% expect to mainly compete with other businesses on customer experience. 

Succeeding in this competitive market requires businesses to learn how customers feel about their brand, product, or service. 

VoC surveys are quick and easy to send to customers after interactions with your brand. That means the customer experience is still fresh in their minds, providing accurate data. 

Tips for creating voice of the customer surveys

Understanding the what and why of customer surveys is just one piece of the puzzle. 

You also need to know how to create VoC surveys for effective results. These tips can help you develop VoC surveys that generate usable data. 

Create VoC surveys with the customer in mind

To generate effective answers, the questions you ask and how you conduct your surveys should revolve around your customer's point of view. For example:

  • A respondent is likely to abandon the survey if it's too long. 

  • Irrelevant or repetitive questions are frustrating.  

Distribute VoC surveys on all your digital channels

An easy online experience drives convenient customer experiences. Fully optimizing all your channels ensures customers can conveniently access surveys that align with their experiences. 

Plus, making it easy for your customers to submit their feedback allows you to gather more results. 

Leverage metrics that line up with your goals

Without a clear path in mind, creating a survey could provide you with a lot of disjointed information that’s difficult to use. 

Before creating a survey, outline your goals: What do you hope to learn, and how will you use the results? 

Once you've established your goals, you can develop survey questions that will allow you to gather the data to meet those objectives.

Avoid leading questions

The information you receive in your surveys should emulate your customers’ voices. 

If you present questions with leading language, you may get results that you want to see, but they're less likely to be accurate. 

When your customers tell you what they like and dislike in their own words, you'll have more useful information for improvements. 

Gather qualitative VoC data

Survey data outperforms other data sources like KPIs because you can investigate the why behind the numbers. 

Questions that yield qualitative data investigate the root cause behind customer behavior

For example, instead of simply recording low net promoter scores (NPS), you can ask respondents to clarify why they gave a particular score in an open-ended follow-up question

Use both active and passive VoC surveys

There are two different ways of developing surveys: 

  • The organization activates active VoC surveys as a result of specific behavior.

  • Passive VoC surveys are readily available on the page and accessible when customers are ready to use them. 

While active VoCs are great for capturing immediate feedback, they might not always feel timely to a customer with a busy schedule. 

On the other hand, passive surveys may not command the same user attention, but they're an excellent resource for gathering feedback about different parts of the customer journey

Examples of effective voice of customer surveys

Different types of surveys give your customers a voice throughout every touchpoint of the customer journey. You can ask questions for each part of the journey and gather focused data sets.

VoC surveys can include open-ended, multiple-choice, and rating questions. 

Multiple choice and rating questions are most useful when companies ask follow-up questions to understand the reason behind the respondent’s score. 

These examples can help you get started generating your own VoC surveys:

Value or results-based VoC questions

Customer effort score (CES) is a common results-based VoC survey that measures the effort a customer had to put in to get their problem solved. 

You measure CES with a 1–5 or 1–7 scale: 1 means strongly disagree, and 5 or 7 means strongly agree. Here's an example

  • [Name of the organization/customer rep] made it easy for me to handle [issue].”

Other questions could include:

  • Did you find everything you were looking for today? (yes/no)

  • What are the most important qualities you look for in a product? (multiple-choice and other: Please specify)

  • Did anything prevent you from completing your purchase? (yes/no) 

    • Explain what if you chose no (open-ended)

  • How could we improve the product you recently purchased? (open-ended)  

  • On a scale of 1–10, how would you rate the value of your purchase?

Brand loyalty or brand perception questions

Net promoter score (NPS) surveys are transactional brand loyalty VoC surveys. Here’s an example: 

  • How likely are you to recommend our company to others on a scale of 1 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely)?

Here are other example brand questions;

  • Where did you hear about our brand? (multiple choice)

  • How likely are you to switch to another brand, from 1 (very unlikely) to 5 (very likely)?

  • What made you decide to purchase from us? (open-ended)

  • What features do our products have that stand out from our competitors? (multiple choice)

  • What matters most to you when selecting a company for a service? (multiple-choice or open-ended)

Customer satisfaction VoC questions

Customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys are common transactional or relation-based VoC surveys. Here’s what they look like:  

  • On a scale of 1 (very unsatisfied) to 10 (very satisfied), how satisfied are you with your recent purchase?

Other customer satisfaction questions include:

  • How was your experience with us today? (open-ended)

  • Was the representative able to answer all of your questions? (yes/no)

  • On a 1–5 scale, how satisfied are you with the solution our representative provided? 

  • On a 1–5 scale, how satisfied are you with how quickly we resolved your problem?

  • What could we have done to improve our service? (open-ended)

How to analyze VoC surveys

The information you obtain from your VoC surveys is only valuable if you put it to good use. 

Analyzing the responses to your survey questions determines how the majority of your customers feel about your business. However, trawling through massive amounts of customer data can be challenging. This is where AI-powered analysis tools come in handy. 

When you use an analysis tool like Dovetail, you can analyze data from your VoC surveys to uncover customer insights. Powerful analysis tools like transcription, tagging, views, thematic clustering, and sentiment analysis allow you to analyze quickly to use data faster. 

Integrations and bulk uploads allow you to pull in data in various forms. Highlighting and tagging key themes empowers you to uncover new patterns and themes, which you can translate into shareable reports for developing solutions. 

While it would take a significant amount of time to manually analyze and refine data from VoC surveys, AI tools streamline the process for almost immediate results. Quickly pairing these results with an action plan shows customers you value their feedback.

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