4 Ways to Start Listening to Your Customer 

By Lisa Thomas, CX Voice of Customer Manager, DLL

Oct 24, 2022


Editor’s note: At DLL we’re more than a financial solutions provider–we’re your partner. Your customer is our customer and your success is our success. It’s why we’re focused on helping you grow, not just through our product offering, but also by giving you valuable insights that can help you sustain and build your business for the future. The following article is part of a series from DLL about how you can take steps to improve the customer experience your business delivers. Customer experience is part of an ongoing journey at DLL, and it’s something we’re working to improve every day. Hopefully some of the lessons we’ve learned along the way can be valuable to your business.

Let’s get started creating an intentional customer experience and focus on perhaps the most integral element of CX: Listening to the voice of your customer.

Why should you listen to your customer?   
A well-designed customer experience isn’t something that is developed through internal meetings and discussions. It comes from listening, learning, and acting on information that comes straight from your customers.

Lisa Thomas
Lisa Thomas

Listening to your customers allows you to collect information to assess the experience you’re delivering – what’s working and what’s not working. It enables you to understand their goals and what they are looking for from your business. Even more importantly, you can use the voice of your customers as a continually evolving guide for many of the changes your business makes. 

But wait…I’m busy. How can my company start?   
Most businesses don’t have the size or scale to go out and hire a team of researchers and specialists to build out your CX function. It’s important to realize that it’s okay to start small. Have some conversations. Take some realistic steps. And start to see where the voice of your customer takes your business. 

With that, here are four ways to start listening to the voice of your customer: 

Idea #1: Ask your people who are on the front-lines  
You may immediately say “But my employees aren’t my customers!” This is true. But in many cases, employees – especially those on the front-lines – have an expanded perspective on the customer experience you deliver. Employees who deal with many customers in a single day will have greater insight into your collective customer experience across their hundreds of interactions. A single customer may interact with your business through your website, but your front-line employees know all that transpires behind the scenes to deliver that experience. And employees may be working to compensate for inefficient processes in areas that could easily be improved.  

When things such as technology or wait times or inefficient processes are frustrating to employees, it will most certainly negatively impact your customer experience. Soliciting regular feedback and input from your employees could help identify challenges before they reach the customer.    

Asking employees for feedback about the customer experience comes with an added benefit: Increased buy-in and engagement from team members. When employees feel valued and respected by the company they work for, they tend to feel happier, which can also contribute to an overall customer experience. (Hint: we’ll talk more about this in our next article.)   

What to do next:

  • Ask employees to share feedback from customers and their own perspective of the customer experience. 
  • Ask employees to share their ideas about how to improve the customer experience going forward.  

Idea #2: Conduct micro-surveys  
Micro-surveys are short, targeted survey questions to customers that are usually executed on your website, over email, or within an app. They enable fast customer feedback and happen within the moment to help capture customer sentiment immediately. Unlike a product or company review, the benefit of getting feedback in real-time is that you gain insight into the customer mood or feeling at the time of engagement. Even better: Many micro-survey companies offer subscriptions that are less than $50 a month. That’s a lot of insight for very little money! 

One example of a micro-survey   
Micro-surveys can be as simple as a single question, such as “How was your experience today?” with a range of emoji faces the customer can choose from to answer. 


 The benefits of micro-surveys are:

  • Get real-time reactions  
  • Quick and non-intrusive to the customer   
  • Customers feel valued and that their opinion is important  
  • Customers are likely to respond, especially with anonymous response options   
  • You can gather immediate results – make sure you build a process to immediately act upon negative feedback! 

What to do next:

  • Integrate a micro-survey right on your website, payment portal, email, or within an app. There are a variety of tools in the market, many are also budget friendly.  


Idea #3: Develop transactional surveys  

Transactional surveys give you the opportunity to collect more specific information from your customers about their experiences regarding specific functions or transactions. For example, a transactional survey might ask customers to rate how easy it was to order and receive the delivery of product. Answers might range from very easy to very difficult. With transactional surveys, it’s helpful to give customers ‘not applicable’ as an option and to keep the survey short (less than 10 questions) to improve response rates. 

Transactional surveys are great for providing feedback around a certain function or business area to gain insights for improvement. Keep in mind that transactional surveys are limited by design – they do not provide a complete picture of your customer’s experience, but rather, focus in on a specific question that needs answering. 

What to do next:

  • Think about a business area where you have questions, and create a short, 5-question survey that can help you answer those questions. Send it out to a customer list and see what you can learn.  

Idea #4: Conduct interviews and host focus groups   
Establishing customer interviews and focus groups are a great way to dig even deeper into the customer experience you deliver. Importantly, these don’t need to be overly formal and take a year to organize – find ways to schedule a 30-minute phone call with a customer or get a few customers around the table for lunch to have a conversation. Opening the door for open-ended customer feedback enables the customer to feel that their entire experience is valued and gives the broadest perspective into how they interact with your organization.

Hint: You can use these interviews and focus groups to shape a customer journey.

What to do next: 

  • Find time for 2-3 targeted discussions with your customers – and ask them some focused questions about the experience your business delivers, and how it could be better.   

Researcher beware: You may get negative feedback. Here’s what to do about it.   
Regardless of how you solicit feedback from your customers, even the most successful companies receive negative feedback. It’s essential to be ready with a plan to address it. At DLL, we use the acronym ASAP for handling negative feedback from customers: 

  • Acknowledge 
  • Sympathize and empathize 
  • Accept responsibility 
  • Prepare to help 

We know that customers can be more loyal to businesses after experiencing a service failure if it’s handled the right way. Customers value knowing that you are listening, learning, and acting to ensure your focus remains on delivering the best experience possible.  

I’m getting feedback from my customers, but what comes next? 
I love this question! Next, we’ll look more deeply into how to engage and train employees to deliver a great customer experience.

1Source: Experience is everything: Here’s how to get it right. PwC, 2018