The following blog post was written by Erica Winters, Manager of Research Analytics at RMS. 

We hear it all the time—your boss has just told you the company needs to find new ways to connect with customers. And you’ve been put in charge of doing just that (cue hyperventilation).

That’s not you? How about this…you’re a leader within your organization, and you want to become or maintain your status as a leader in your industry. But you know the key is with your customers. The good news is, you’ve all come to the right place. We can help you through the process of VoC (voice of the customer) research. Let’s get right to it, and talk about how you can put your customers to work for you.

Why You Need VoC Research

A VoC research project can help address many of the organization’s pressing issues at once. Need some insight on the types of marketing that resonates most with your customers? Great— VoC research can help with that. Do you need to know how to best market your product to your customers? Perfect— VoC research can help with that, too. Are you dying to know how your customers feel about your company compared with competitors? You guessed it, VoC research can cover that. VoC research can cover a wide variety of topics. RMS customizes each VoC project to best meet the needs of our clients, and make the most of your research dollars. Some additional common topics explored for our VoC projects include:

  • Customer segmentation and profiling
  • Understanding the customer decision making or purchase process
  • Marketing concept testing
  • What customers love about your company or product
  • How your company or product could be improved/better serve customers
  • Identifying what would increase customer retention

How You Should Conduct VoC Research

There are many ways to conduct VoC research, and the “best” method is dependent upon the goals of the research, and a myriad of other factors. The RMS team will consult with your team to determine the most appropriate methodology for your specific goals. Let’s take a look at some common methods to lay a groundwork of understanding.

  1. Online Surveys—If you’re looking for fast results, online results may be the key. RMS will develop a custom survey script to be implemented online using our in-house survey software program. We’ll also program and host the survey, and handle distribution of survey invitations to a list of your customers (or a sourced list of prospective customers if needed). You’ll get an opportunity to weigh in on the script development, and approve the script prior to data collection, but we’ll take it from there! Online surveys are widely implemented across industries, and typically include up to 25 questions. The key is to keep it brief to keep the audience engaged.
  2. Quick Pulse Telephone Survey—Another great option for quick feedback. Similar to online surveys, we will create the brief telephone script (think roughly 10 questions), program and host the survey, and conduct the telephone surveys with a list of your customers or a curated list if required. Our in-house call center, QualiSight, with professionally trained telephone interviewers, will collect data, and the RMS team will manage the project from start to finish.
  3. Intercept Surveys—A popular methodology in the retail, hospitality, and tourism industries, and a great option for any industry. These very brief (think 5-10 questions) surveys are conducted in-person at a specified location to a captured audience. For example, they may be conducted in front of a retail store, at a cash register, in an airport check-in queue, in public places, or in a restaurant lobby. The goal is to capture timely feedback about an organization from patrons. Just as with online surveys and telephone surveys, the RMS team will create the brief intercept survey script, program and host the survey on digital travel-friendly tablets, and conduct the surveys at locations determined with the client. We’ll coordinate travel logistics and send trained intercept interviewers to efficiently and accurately capture data. For more information regarding intercept surveys, click here.
  4. Focus Groups – This is a great option for concept testing, marketing testing, or even general organizational perceptions. RMS has extensive experience conducting focus groups across industries, and for a wide variety of purposes. Some of our favorite projects include marketing research for an international quick-service restaurant, taste-testing beer and food, and concept testing for a major healthcare insurance provider. The RMS team will coordinate with the client in developing a moderator’s guide which will be used to tailor the discussion, and we will assist with recruitment of participants using a provided list of customers, or a sourced list if needed. We can provide a trained moderator to lead the groups, and have a full-service focus group facility, complete with a 2-way mirror to allow client visitors to attend the sessions if desired. Looking to conduct focus groups outside of the Syracuse, NY area? No problem—we can source reputable focus group facilities across the country to host the RMS team and the recruited participants, as well as client visitors. For more information on focus groups, click here.

Why You Should Work With an Experienced VoC Research Firm

Let’s go ahead and address the elephant in the room…price. I know it sounds enticing to find a way to do the research in-house, but I’m going to save you from yourself. It’s a common thought…it must be cheaper that way, right? It can’t be THAT hard. If I save the company money, I’ll score points with the boss! Famous last words. Here’s why working with an experienced VoC research firm will save you in the long run.

An experienced market researcher can complete a VoC research project quickly, efficiently, and affordably. That means your employees are not spending time trying to figure out how to do it. You can also ensure the right questions are asked to obtain the feedback you need to inform critical business decisions. Not just any questions will do. It pays to work with someone who knows how to make a short survey produce invaluable insight on future marketing strategy, while also profiling your customer base, identifying what customers love about the company, and where you can improve to make them even happier. And by having a third-party complete the research, you’re providing customers with the comfort they need to provide honest feedback (instead of asking them to provide feedback directly to your organization). This is critical, as honest feedback is needed to produce reliable results that you’ll be using to inform strategy going forward.

We can help you bridge the gap between customer expectations, and the experience they actually receive. Now that’s a great reason! If you’d like to learn more about our voice of the customer research services, please contact Sandy Baker, our Vice President of Corporate Development at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.