SurveyMonkey is built to handle every use case and need. Explore our product to learn how SurveyMonkey can work for you.

Get data-driven insights from a global leader in online surveys.

Integrate with 100+ apps and plug-ins to get more done.

Build and customize online forms to collect info and payments.

Create better surveys and spot insights quickly with built-in AI.

Purpose-built solutions for all of your market research needs.


Measure customer satisfaction and loyalty for your business.

Learn what makes customers happy and turn them into advocates.

Get actionable insights to improve the user experience.

Collect contact information from prospects, invitees, and more.

Easily collect and track RSVPs for your next event.

Find out what attendees want so that you can improve your next event.

Uncover insights to boost engagement and drive better results.

Get feedback from your attendees so you can run better meetings.

Use peer feedback to help improve employee performance.

Create better courses and improve teaching methods.

Learn how students rate the course material and its presentation.

Find out what your customers think about your new product ideas.


Best practices for using surveys and survey data

Our blog about surveys, tips for business, and more.

Tutorials and how to guides for using SurveyMonkey.

How top brands drive growth with SurveyMonkey.

Contact SalesLog in
Contact SalesLog in
Smiling woman looking and gesturing at a laptop

When did you last avoid a brand because of something you heard? Or did you stop purchasing from a company that disappointed you?

How often did you reach out to tell those businesses why you won’t buy from them?

As someone tasked with improving the customer experience (CX), you can’t expect consumers to seek you out. Instead, you must start the conversation by championing, implementing, and maintaining your organization's Voice of the Customer (VoC) program.

Voice of the Customer definition: Voice of the Customer is the systematic collection, analysis, and monitoring of customer interactions with your product, service, or brand. 

A VoC program is important to your overall customer experience (CX). It’s essentially a commitment to taking action on customer feedback. Your initial goal is to close gaps between customer expectations and your organization’s performance. When you maintain an effective VoC program, you’re empowering your employees to exceed customer expectations, too.

Many organizations ask customers for feedback through surveys, feedback forms, and focus groups. But a Voice of the Customer program isn’t just feedback collection. When you build a VoC program for your business, you’re making customer engagement, loyalty, and satisfaction a core part of your business strategy. A good VoC program includes:

  • Concrete business goals
  • Leadership support
  • Employee participation and collaboration
  • A comprehensive understanding of the customer journey
  • Proactive customer listening across channels and touchpoints
  • Regular customer and market research
  • Data analysis and reporting
  • Internal communication

Most important, a good VoC program is actionable. Companies make it a priority to close the customer feedback loop by identifying pain points, fixing issues, and communicating these changes to both employees and customers.

Keep reading to learn how to build your own Voice of the Customer program, from planning to implementation and maintenance. You’ll get tips, key VoC metrics, and resources like these Voice of the Customer survey templates to help you get started.

Setting up a VoC program, or even refreshing one you already have, takes time and resources. Before you launch into a full plan, gather the following information and get in front of leadership to make sure everyone is on board:

  • Key customer pain points or concerning metrics (like a 5% YoY increase in customer churn).
  • What a VoC program is–or how you think your existing VoC program could be.
  • A few case studies from other companies show how important it is to prioritize listening to customers and taking action. Like when the Greyhound bus company boosted a key customer loyalty metric by 15 points and made crucial changes to its customer experience, impacting their profitability.

Once you’ve got leadership on board, collaborate with different teams across the company. Each stakeholder will have a unique perspective on the customer experience—and different ways you can improve it.

  • Customer success or service works directly with customers, understanding key pain points and issues with your product or service.
  • Marketing and communications will have competitive and market insights. They also might communicate with consumers directly over social media.
  • Sales will have a good idea of price sensitivity, competing products and solutions, and what messaging works (or doesn’t work) with prospective customers.
  • Product teams can help you understand how people interact with your product or service, including data like churn, error, or abandon rates. They can also help you get a full understanding of how the products work and any issues or bugs that might be impacting customer satisfaction.
  • Human resources or people operations can speak to the employee experience. Are employees engaged? Do they feel empowered to positively impact the customer experience?

Each of these teams might have different goals or ideas of success. To start, you could choose one company-wide goal (e.g., "improve our customer satisfaction rating by 10%") and encourage each team to set their own goal. 

Just remember that this is a customer-centric effort. A product team might want to improve an onboarding experience to increase sign-ups. But in the context of a Voice of the Customer program, it would be better for your product and customer service teams to connect. Customer service could point out key pain points with an onboarding experience, and the product team could address these with the goal of reducing the number of customer service tickets.

Sit down with key stakeholders to think about how a customer or potential customer interacts with your brand before, during, and after they purchase from you. This is called customer journey mapping, and it can help you highlight opportunities to collect feedback, learn more about a particular touchpoint, or fill in any gaps in the customer experience. Common customer touchpoints take place before, during, and after a purchase. Some examples include:

  • Before purchase: advertising, word of mouth, social media
  • During purchase: website, store, point of sale
  • After purchase: billing, transactional emails, online help center

When creating your customer journey map, you should also note when, where, and how often you ask for customer feedback. This will help you refine your surveys and better plan and track them.

Learn how to create a customer journey map to align stakeholders and achieve your business goals.

When you listen to customers, you’re collecting structured and unstructured (quantitative and qualitative) Voice of the Customer feedback.

Structured data is quantifiable or measurable. For example, you send a survey that asks customers to rate the likelihood that they’ll purchase from you again. Because you’re asking them to choose from a set of options, the results have a numeric value: 76% of customers say they’d buy your product again.

Unstructured data is qualifiable or immeasurable. For example, in your purchase experience survey, you ask someone to explain why they’re “very likely” to buy from you again. You provide a text box so they can tell you more. The text responses you get will help you understand the “why” behind the numbers.

To get the full picture of your customer experience, it’s a good idea to collect both data types. Here are different ways you can regularly listen to customers as part of an effective Voice of the Customer program:

  • Make sure you’re collecting feedback with customer satisfaction surveys at key customer touchpoints like after a purchase or customer service interaction
  • Encourage teams across the company to sit with teams like sales and customer service once a quarter
  • Perform regular customer or user research to gain competitive insights and see where you can improve your product or service
  • Conduct focus groups and customer interviews for in-depth insights 
  • Practice social listening to see how people perceive your brand

There are a few industry-standard VoC metrics that companies use to understand the customer experience. Here are three of the most popular VoC metrics.

Green NPS survey box

How likely is someone to recommend your company to a friend or colleague? The Net Promoter Score® (NPS)  survey gives you a quantifiable, easily trackable answer to this question. Here’s an overview of the NPS survey.

  • Simple NPS calculation: Respondents give a rating from 0 to 10, and the resulting score is a number from -100 to +100.
  • Trackable and convenient: The Net Promoter Score question is straightforward and versatile, whether you’re asking if someone would recommend your brand or your app or software. The NPS question isn’t tied to a specific event, so it’s a good indicator of how your organization is performing at any time.
  • Helpful industry benchmarks: Because many organizations use NPS, you can compare your actions against others in your industry. For example, our analysis of hundreds of NPS surveys shows 38 is the average score for the healthcare industry.
Green CSAT survey box

While NPS shows you customer loyalty over time, Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) helps you understand how a customer feels after a specific interaction with your brand. Here’s what to know about a CSAT survey.

  • Works well with NPS: Both CSAT and NPS are important VoC metrics and give you different, complementary insights into the customer experience.
  • Specific and actionable: Use CSAT surveys to make targeted improvements to your customer experience. You can get customer service feedback or measure attendee satisfaction by getting their event feedback.
  • Easy to calculate and analyze: Answer options in a CSAT survey are based on a numerical scale, like 1-5. You can look at the raw data, like 478 customers said they were “very satisfied” with their recent customer service interaction. Or you can see the data as a percentage.
Green CES survey box

How difficult or easy can customers achieve certain tasks when interacting with your company? The Customer Effort Score (CES) helps you pinpoint major customer friction points, like when they’re using your software or trying to solve a specific problem. Here’s why you should use CES surveys to round out your VoC program.

  • Boost customer loyalty: According to our research, 91% of consumers are likelier to recommend a company if they have a low-effort experience.
  • Find quick ways to improve: Even an unclear message can cause customers to abandon a purchase. What if changing a few words during the checkout process could impact your bottom line?
  • Build better training programs: You can use CES surveys to understand where your customer service team is underperforming, like if your representatives are taking too long to resolve customer issues. When you know what’s difficult for your customers, you can tailor your customer service training to solve common problems faster.

Once you start collecting customer feedback across touchpoints, you must examine each dataset and compare your findings.

  • Ask your cross-functional partners to share insights they’ve gathered from customer and market research, social media channels, and more. You’ll want to make all of this information accessible in one place, like an internal wiki or website.
  • Some data, like your Net Promoter Score, is easily understandable at a high level. But if you’re collecting open-ended feedback in your customer surveys, use a text analysis tool to uncover hidden trends.
  • You’ll want to slice and dice your survey data with advanced analysis tools like custom data filters, which can enrich your survey results with deeper customer insights.

Once you figure out your customer listening strategy, you’ll want to pay attention to–and deal with—any immediate issues, like a declining NPS or poor customer satisfaction score.

In the long term, you need to create a framework for maintaining a solid VoC program for your organization. Here are some ideas.

  • Influence product roadmaps: Product teams can commit to fixing one or two pressing customer issues once a quarter.
  • Improve customer service training and response: Service teams can prioritize better employee onboarding and empathy training. Or they can templatize helpful responses to the most frequently asked customer questions, reducing response time.
  • Get the whole company involved: Dedicate one or two weeks each half to focus on solving customer problems or responding to key customer feedback.
  • Keep customers at the heart of your business: Regularly invite customers to tell their stories to employees.
  • Share shortcomings and successes: Consider sending a monthly report to the company highlighting important feedback, data trends, and customer stories that will motivate employees.

When your customers are happy, they’re more likely to stay loyal to your brand and recommend you to others. But there are other benefits of Voice of the Customer program that might not be as obvious.

When you create a Voice of the Customer program, you’re empowering employees to make a direct impact on the customer experience. You can even encourage teams to set customer-centric goals and reward them for their achievements.

A lot of feedback collection is reactive, meaning you’re only able to understand how customers feel after their interaction with your brand. A VoC program accounts for proactive feedback collection as well. Focus groups, customer interviews, social media listening, user research–these are all ways you can find opportunities to develop new product ideas, solve consumer pain points, and more.

You can use positive customer feedback and interactions to tell powerful stories about your brand across channels, from marketing collateral to your website and social media platforms.

Market research, user insights, customer service feedback, social media interactions, survey results: The data work together to provide a full picture of your customer experience. But if the data live in silos, it’s difficult to pick up on trends and highlight important opportunities for teams across your organization to act.

Make each stakeholder or team responsible for reporting on their findings or sharing it all in one place. You can simplify feedback collection and management with survey integrations for Salesforce, HubSpot, Mailchimp, Zendesk, Zoom, and more.

Sending surveys but not getting enough responses for statistically significant results? As a part of your Voice of the Customer program, consider a survey audit, running each survey through a survey best practices checklist.

Customers might be ignoring your surveys if they’re too long or confusing. It’s a good idea to use expert-written survey templates and customer satisfaction survey questions for reliable responses.

Still not sure why your surveys aren’t performing well? Check out these tips for increasing CSAT response rates and CSAT survey question best practices.

If the idea of keeping customers happy isn’t enough to get teams to prioritize solving customer issues, you need to tie customer satisfaction to revenue. For example, you can showcase the ROI of improving customer satisfaction by tying the lifetime value of a retained customer to the number of people who say they’d buy from you again.

Build your case by sharing compelling research with reluctant teams. Our research shows that 75% of customers lose trust in a business after a poor in-product experience, among other important findings.

Design a VoC program that captures the pulse of your customer sentiment. Use the following best practices to engage your customers in a dialogue, align your company’s stakeholders, and create impactful change.

  1. Pay attention to implicit data. Implicit data, like app usage or churn rate, is the opposite of explicit customer feedback. A customer can tell you they’re satisfied with your app, but if they do not use it again, it’s time to ask more questions.
  2. Before you start your data analysis, clean up your survey data for the most accurate, actionable results.
  3. Chances are that the happier your employees are, the better your customer experience will be. Work with human resources or people operations to track employee engagement and satisfaction, like with an eNPS survey. You can even monitor and track crucial employee engagement metrics, like employee NPS, against your customer NPS.
  4. Put your results in context. Of course you’re monitoring your customer satisfaction over time. But you’ll also want to benchmark your results against competitors to get a true sense of your performance.
  5. Make sure your Voice of the Customer program is up-to-date. Study up on the biggest customer experience trends, including how CX professionals are navigating AI and working to meet changing consumer expectations.

Send a survey in minutes using one of these expert-written Voice of the Customer survey templates. If you’re looking for a little more help, learn how SurveyMonkey can power your VoC program.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

Customer satisfaction survey templates

Explore our customer satisfaction survey templates to rapidly collect data, identify pain points, and improve your customer experience.

Beyond CX: How SurveyMonkey + Salesforce turn feedback into revenue

SurveyMonkey + Salesforce turn feedback into revenue

Get the feedback you can act on with online evaluation forms

Unlock the power of feedback with SurveyMonkey's online evaluation forms. Start with our form builder today!

The complete guide to user experience metrics

Learn how to measure attitudinal and behavioral user experience (UX), and how UX supports better CX.