Live Oak Voice of the Customer Survey

In-Depth Analysis of Customer Sentiment 

The Voice of the Customer survey, powered by Barlow Research Associates, delivers customer sentiment insights, industry benchmarks and candid advice to help small business owners define challenges and opportunities. The reports are based on survey results from Live Oak Bank loan and deposit customers and incorporate actionable feedback from peers. 



Full Report

The 2023 Voice of the Customer survey gathered feedback directly from Live Oak customers through a third-party research firm (Barlow Research).

All data in this report is self-reported information directly from customers. Download the survey results for an in-depth look at Live Oak customer sentiment.


Small Business Snapshot

This brief overview takes a high-level look at the themes in sentiment, challenges and opportunities from the 2023 Voice of the Customer survey.

All data in this report is self-reported information directly from customers. Download the snapshot for a summary of small business sentiment trends.


Customer Sentiment Trends


Customers Are Recovering from 2022's Challenges

The cost of doing business continues to be a challenge that weighs heavily on many. However, those costs have come down, and pricing expectations are beginning to normalize.

Hiring has also proved to be a challenge for some, but these challenges appear to be localized in certain industries. Overall, fewer Live Oak customers are understaffed and fewer indicated that hiring/retaining employees is a challenge.


Customers Are Planning for Headwinds in 2024

While Live Oak customers continue to have a more positive outlook than typical small businesses, slightly fewer customers are focused on expansion. Rather, most customers now feel the time is right to begin saving or investing excess cash.

Rising interest rates are a growing concern which has likely curbed expectations to borrow. Additionally, among those planning to take on additional debt, an increasing proportion of customers are seeking working capital rather than the means to fund growth.


Ownership Transition Plans Continue Apace 

A quarter of customers believe now is a good time to begin preparing their business for sale. Similarly, 26% anticipate transitioning the ownership of their company over the next five years.

However, most Live Oak customers continue to lack a succession plan (even though four in ten customers are open to entertaining offers to purchase their company). Compared to 2022, customers are less likely to sell to a third party and more likely to sell to employees or to independent sponsors. 

About Barlow Research

Barlow Research was founded in 1980 to provide research services to the banking industry in the U.S. and globally. Barlow Research has a long-standing relationship with Live Oak Bank, primarily through powering the BusinessPulse. In addition, Barlow Research has provided industry analysis for vertical selection, competitive intelligence on the digital account opening and lending processes. Live Oak Bank is also a member of Barlow Research’s flagship Small Business Banking program.

Joel Mueller
Managing Partner & Research Director | 763.253.1806
Barlow Research Associates, Inc.
917 Lilac Drive North, Minneapolis, MN 55422

Source: Live Oak 2023 Voice of the Customer Study (Powered by Barlow Research)