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Why Use a Survey?
A voice of the customer survey is the best way to find out how well you deliver your product or service to the end-user. It analyzes the needs and experiences of your customers to determine things such as:
- What’s important to the customer
- Customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction
- Product or service quality
- Promises expected by the customer
- Ways to improve on product quality or services
To help understand how a VOC survey works, first download an example of a voice of the customer survey from our Media Gallery.
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Using a VOC Survey
In my article Techniques Used in the Voice of the Customer Process, I discussed the various tools you can use in a VOC analysis such as surveys, observing the customer, focus groups, development teams and secret shoppers. Surveys, however, whether they are used as a mass-snail mail tool, an e-mail offering or given to the customer where the product or services are offered, reveal a lot about customer satisfaction.
In today’s competitive world, the customer buying experience is very important as consumers are choosing experience and quality over price. If your product or service doesn’t shine in the eyes of the end user, your project teams can collect data obtained from the VOC surveys and find ways to improve or find out if you have problems or issues in the customer service area.
As you can see from the example of a voice of the customer survey you downloaded above, it’s for a coffee shop, is short and to the point and fits on one page. Short surveys are best as longer more detailed surveys that require the survey taker to insert a lot of comments or suggestions can sway the consumer from completing the survey or rush through it, only answering questions that are multiple choice or offer a checkbox for each question.
Ensure VOC surveys follow these rules on asking for pertinent content that focuses on what you want to identify.
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Tips and Suggestions
Before you delve into a VOC survey, first define what it is you want to learn. If it’s solely about the product or service, don’t include questions that aren’t relevant such as where it was bought, age of the survey taker or demographic questions, unless these questions are part of your identifier. Keep it simple by only asking things like:
- Was the product (or service) as expected?
- Did the product (or service) deliver as promised?
- Were the features of the product (or service) as expected?
Focusing on the identifier or what you hope to learn from the survey will ensure a quick and easy survey that will invite, not deter the consumer from completing it.
If you want to explore customer service issues, our sample VOC survey is a great way to find out how well you score in that area.
It’s also important to understand that “voice" is very important when offering up a VOC survey. A newly released video game for teenagers should have a different tone of voice (and questions) than that of a new antivirus software program and so on.
Development teams, especially in Six Sigma utilize VOC surveys from pre-production to production to monitoring the product or service. Weak or poor areas, whether they are defects or dislikes should be analyzed to gain the best understanding of what’s going wrong and how to improve upon errors, defects or customer dissatisfaction.
Consider a VOC survey as part of your quality improvement process efforts—they will offer up results those too close to the product or service may miss.
With CRM and pleasing the end user being the end all in today’s consumer marketplace, a voice of the customer survey is a tried and true way to discover customer’s wants and experiences, improve upon quality issues, and increase what you really want—more profits and a quality product.
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Resources and References
Microsoft Forms & Templates - http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/CT010104320.aspx
Goodman/Hayes, “A Robust VOC Process to Drive Better Six Sigma Results" retrieved at http://www.isixsigma.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=848:&Itemid=
Screenshot of VOC survey created by J Scheid via Survey Monkey
Image Credit: MorgueFile/xololounge