Design for a Winning VoC Programme

More often than not, you care more about receiving feedback than your customers care about giving it, so it behoves you to make the experience as easy and enjoyable as possible for them. Think about it, when a company wants to sell something, it will spend a lot of time and money on the messaging and branding of that product. While we don’t expect you to spend the same amount of money on designing your Voice of the Customer programme, we expect you to come to it with the same mindset.

While it may seem superficial, making a good impression will have a significant impact on customer perception of your brand and it counts at every stage of the customer journey. In this blog, we discuss important opportunities where design can impact the way you engage your customers for feedback, for better or worse. 

Survey Design

Poor survey design can lead to low response rates and poor quality responses which means you won’t be able to do a robust analysis of CX performance in your business. Survey length, word choice, intuitiveness, and flow will all affect how your customers perceive your business and their willingness to complete your survey. While survey design can seem somewhat removed from the day to day operations of your business, it’s an important touchpoint that your customers will associate with your brand. 

Regardless of the channel, having too long of a survey is a surefire way to annoy customers into not responding. If a customer begins to answer a survey, the drop off rate increases with every additional question up to 15 questions. To avoid lengthy surveys, never ask customers questions you know the answer to like their contact or personal details. Adopting skip logic is also a really good way to ensure that customers are only seeing questions pertaining to them, shortening the survey for some. 

Ask questions that are pertinent to your business and avoid being repetitive. Asking two questions in one for example, like “was our staff nice and helpful?” will muddy your results and be difficult for customers to answer as it’s not uncommon for an employee to be nice but unhelpful, or vice versa. If your customers are frustrated with the quality of your survey they may rush to get to the end of it without taking the time to read the questions they are answering and might not bother responding to surveys in the future. 

Of course, survey design is massively impacted by the channel through which you are surveying your customers. Below, we expand upon the various design challenges for some of the channels you may be adopting.


Emails are often the primary method a brand interacts with customers. It’s how customers are notified of new products or services, product recommendations, sales and promotions as well as shipment tracking, e-receipts, feedback requests, and company newsletters. It’s also an important way to communicate your brand identity. But bad email design can really annoy customers and lead them to unsubscribe and potentially never return to your business. 

As with any customer email, your feedback request emails should be simple, clear and honest. Anything too busy or mentioning too many disconnected ideas will be a massive turn off in the customer’s eyes and definitely won’t look great on mobile. And of course, over-emailing or surveying would be a serious red flag for many customers. 46% of subscribers will flag emails as spam if they receive too many emails, while 32% will do so for receiving irrelevant content and 10% for impersonal emails. This reflects why email segmentation can be so important so that relevant content is going to the appropriate customers at the right time is imperative. Try not to overwhelm your customers to give them the best email experience. 


Most brands don’t use SMS as their primary method of communication with customers, but many customers actually prefer SMS as a communication channel. 95% of text messages are opened and read regardless of the sender, so it is a strategic way to really reach your customer base and grab their attention. Texting is one of the most personal and intimate communication channels, so this must be considered when contacting customers. It is important that you integrate whatever information you have about the customer and their interaction with your business when you contact them with an SMS survey. This will not only remind the customer of their experience with your business but will also be in a personalised texting style they are accustomed to.

There are two approaches you can take to SMS survey design. The traditional SMS survey model is the “Back and Forth” Model, whereby a real-time texting exchange with the customer after they receive an automated SMS invite to give feedback. With this model, it is essential that you keep your survey short and simple with a no more than 4-5 easy to answer questions to maximise your response rates and participation. Put your most prioritised questions at the start in case a customer gives up on responding. 

The second SMS survey design approach is to send a URL to access an online survey via text, just as you would via email. This approach allows for more questions to be asked in the browser but the extra step in the process (moving into a browser) might prevent some customers from following through and only works for smartphones. This method allows for consistency in feedback analysis if you are also sending feedback requests by email.


More so than any other survey channels, an IVR survey needs to be really simple as many factors can come into play that may impede your customer’s ability to respond and drop off rates are high. Hearing ability, language skills, background noise and different phone types are just some of the factors that need to be considered when designing a survey for IVR. If a customer cannot understand the directions, questions or flow of an IVR survey they will almost certainly hang up. 

Answering over the phone is a very different experience from an email or SMS survey as there is no visual and customers are limited to their voice and keypad. In an IVR survey, a 0-10 scale is going to be confusing. From a design perspective, using a shorter scale (0-5, 0-7, or 0-9) makes more sense to obtain accurate data. 

To gain extra insights you can include an open-ended question at the end of the survey to record any additional thoughts the customer may have, which can then be transcribed through a voice to text tool. But you can really annoy the customer here if you cut them off. While there should be a time limit to responses, give customers the option to continue speaking. Cutting them off mid-sentence with a dial-tone indicating their time is up will leave a sour taste in anyone’s mouth and doesn’t provide you with all of the insights you could have gained from that potentially thoughtful feedback.