Understanding your customers: Best practices for voice of the customer research


Jul 25, 2017 • Laura Boyd • Blog

Marketing Trends

At Morningstar Communications, we regularly remind our clients of this simple truth about communicating with their customers, “It’s not what you want to say. It’s what they need to hear.” But identifying what exactly it is that they need to hear can prove challenging.

One of the best ways to determine what your customers need to hear is through conducting voice of the customer research. This research provides an in-depth, first-hand look into the wants, needs, opportunities and challenges facing customers. Additionally, it allows companies to uncover insights about their customer relationships and identify how to better serve them.

We’ve had the opportunity to help multiple clients gain a better understanding of their customers through voice of the customer research. And throughout the years, we’ve developed a few best practices to help get the most value out of the process. If you’d like to build stronger relationships with your customers and uncover areas of growth through voice of the customer research, consider the following three best practices.

  1. Select the right group. To get the most out of your voice of the customer research, we’ve found it’s highly important to select the appropriate customer group to survey or interview. Consider breaking your customers into groups based on their job roles, industries or segments to help identify the best participants. It’s also important to invite both customer “fans” and naysayers to participate to gain a well-rounded view of your customer base.
  2. Make it a team effort. Bring your client-facing team in to help identify the right customer group. These folks have front-line access to your clients and have a deep understanding of who would make a good fit and be willing to participate. To help increase customer participation, it’s a best practice to have your client-facing team make the initial “asks” to their customers. Don’t forget to thank each team member for their help in gathering customers!
  3. Take action. Once the research is complete, it’s important to make actionable plans to use it in product development, marketing, customer service, training, etc. Also, be sure to show your sincere appreciation to the customers who took time to participate by sending them hand written thank you notes.

The key to successfully understanding your customers begins with a solid voice of the customer research program. To learn more, reach out to Tricia McKim at