Are You Asking The Right Questions? How To Avoid Common VoC Mistakes

Surveying your customers allows you to understand if your customers are happy or not. You can monitor what your customers are responding well to and what needs to be improved. However, just throwing together a simple Voice of the Customer survey is not going to yield the answers that you require to stay ahead of the competition. It is crucial to ask the right questions to the right people, at the right time.

Firstly, are you asking your customers why? Don’t just ask customers for their opinion on a scale, make sure that you ask why they feel this way.  Asking a simple metric question, such as NPS, (“On a scale of zero to ten, how likely are you to recommend our business to a friend or colleague?”) will provide a good idea of your customers’ overall satisfaction by providing a score which can be used to give a quick snapshot of how your organisation is performing. However, this will only provide a certain amount of data. If you want to dig deeper and gain a real understanding, it is important to ask why. By asking “why”, it invites a response from the customer and creates a sense of belonging. They feel that their opinions mean something and that they are taken seriously. It is very easy to quickly fill in a survey, by ticking or circling answers to get to the end as quickly as possible. However, adding in sections for the customer to offer their opinion will allow the customer to express what’s important to them. After all, the customers who are answering your surveys are most likely your regular customers, so it is of great importance to keep them onside.  ­­­­­

Secondly, only ask questions that you don’t know the answer too. When creating a winning voice of the customer survey, a common mistake is made where customers are constantly asked to fill out information about themselves. It is highly unlikely that your business will not have a database filled with customers details. You already have the information about the customer, who they work for and where they live, so asking these questions may disgruntle them. Not only does this waste time, it does not demonstrate to the customer that you have their best interest at heart, if you cannot even remember their name. Every new survey should look to gain more information that the last. Remembering the customer’s name, as simple as it may seem, can help keep the customer engaged in your business.

Questions need to be relevant and timely. It may seem obvious, but it is important to ask your customers questions that relate to them, rather than something else. The customer is unlikely to want to fill in a survey about a product/service they did not purchase. In addition, the survey questions must be timely. Start by taking some time to map out every single touchpoint of the customer journey to identify the best time to survey your customers. Customer journey maps are a really powerful tool to visually bring your customer’s experience to life and also puts your customers at the centre of your organisation’s thinking. With this information you can identify your key customer interactions and go from there – timing is everything and can really help or hinder your survey response rates.

Survey questions also need to avoid bias. It is important to make sure that the survey questions are open and not leading. Leading questions push customers into answering a certain way. This of course is not going to provide worthwhile data. Organisational bias can set in if questions are only asked for the organisation to hear what they want to hear, when sometimes the questions have not focused on the things that customers want to tell you. The aim of the survey is to find out more, not lead your customers to answering how you want them to answer. To help reduce bias, keep your questions short and clear. Customers are unlikely to answer a question which is too long or is difficult to understand. This will also help keep engagement levels high – one of the most common reasons for respondent drop-out is survey fatigue. Make sure every single question has a purpose and is worded clearly and concisely. Keep your survey interesting by adding variety to question types and using visuals where relevant. Your questionnaire design can make or break your survey’s success – respondents who are engaged are far less likely to drop out half way through the survey.

Asking the the right questions to the right people will help you yield the important data that will help your business stay ahead of the competition. Taking the time in the initial stages can really help you reap the benefits further down the line to ensure your programme delivers insight and value on every step of your CX programme.

“Listening to customers can identify opportunities, avoid mistakes and positively impact word of mouth...”

Mark Squires, Chief Executive - Watermelon

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