Voice of the Customer (VOC)
Customers have a lot to say about how a business runs, what the products look like, and ultimately if the business will have success or not. Both external customers (people who buy the products, goods, or services) or internal customers (shareholders or people with a vested interest in the company) are the people who need to be impressed and satisfied for a business to truly succeed.
The Voice of the Customer (VOC) is a way to obtain and listen to active feedback. It is an important tool with the Lean, Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma or Operational Excellence toolbox. Taking the VOC seriously is an important process of understanding the requirements, needs, and desires of the customer. There are many ways the VOC can be captured and obtained. These are vital strategies which invest in the success of a business and its products, goods, or services.
Some methods of obtaining the VOC include:
- Direct discussion
- Open interviews
- Written or online surveys
- Focus groups
- Customer specifications before product design
- Observation of customer interaction on site
- Field reports
- Complain logs and feedback forms
Once this data is collected and the VOC has been obtained, it is important to really listen to it. Without taking into account what customers really think, feel, and say about a business and how it runs, the VOC becomes useless. This can become destructive in the long run for the success of a company.
The data collected by the VOC can be used to identify quality attributes of a business. This not only lets the company know what is not working, but also what is working well. The latter can then be enhanced and extended to help the business grow. The VOC can help to inform what the next step of a product design or material implementation should be.
All in all, obtaining the VOC can help with:
- Achieving customer delight
- Choosing a better method to listen to the customers
- Jump starting new and unexpected project ideas
- Increasing customer interactions and making them feel more valued
- Really getting to know who the customers are and what they want
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