The DNA of a Survey | Whitepaper

The DNA of a Survey

Globally, organisations are recognising the importance of collecting and understanding customer feedback and are consequently investing in Voice of the Customer (VOC) programmes to measure and track their performance.

Key to demonstrating ROI is the ability to provide accurate and meaningful information that will drive business change that in turn leads to increased retention rates and revenue growth. For business to be accountable for results gathered, data needs to be trustworthy and reliable. The challenge is to design a VOC solution that business trusts and is able to act on the results.

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The world is changing. As industries and products become increasingly homogenous, the ability to differentiate in the mind of the customer is becoming more about how organisations make them feel, rather than the pure utility value of the product or service purchased.

The ability to make customers feel positively towards an organisation is a complex and varied challenge, however, the inarguable starting point is the ability to truly listen to one’s customers in order to relate to them in a way that resonates. In pursuit of this emotive connection with customers, leading organisations seek ways to effectively obtain feedback on interactions, transactions and overall brand perceptions.

The most common way of obtaining such feedback is Voice of the Customer (VOC) surveys that collect data for either Net Promoter Score (NPS®) or Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) metrics. Both metrics have validity and create the ability for organisations to quantify experiences at various touchpoints in order to implement improvements and monitor the success of various engagements. The challenge, however, lies in the ability to correctly ask the questions needed to gather these scores.

Dependent on circumstance, customers may blur the lines between perceptions of a specific transaction, and the brand overall; and are often influenced by the way in which the questions are asked. In order to understand this challenge better and seek a statistically sound method of eliminating such bias, Smoke Customer Intelligence embarked on a study to test the impact of question type and ordering on the VOC scores received. In this paper we will lay out how we approached this challenge as well as detail on our findings.

VOC survey design is a combination of art and science, that should balance the need to engage customers and collect sufficient data in a way that generates useable and reliable data. We found that ordering questions from agent to overall experience rendered the most consistent results aligned to customers’ actual experience. It is evident that customers weigh the latest interaction with a brand as the guiding force when providing feedback, and as such survey design should clearly differentiate questions in order to gather workable results, but also take cognisance that feedback is often related directly to the latest experience the customer has with a brand. Listening to customers is important but ensuring that the way in which feedback is solicited is an actual representation of customer perception is perhaps even more so. Asking the right question at the right time means that organisations can closely approximate the customer’s own experience and work out where we need to commend or improve. 

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