Voice of the Customer: Do's & Don'ts

  1. Stop problems before they happen—Companies can better target VOC implementation efforts if they can “take off the table” a range of customer complaints by determining the relative degree of dissatisfaction each can cause

  2. There is no “VOC Lite”—VOC implementations must be orchestrated at the enterprise level; business-unit or function-led implementations are likely to capture insufficient data, and may even harm enterprise outcomes

  3. This isn’t just for the big customers—Do not focus your efforts exclusively on your largest customers; other factors to consider are customer progressiveness, market position, and depth of relationship

  4. You may know more than you think—Capture customer information from internal sources first—from the warehouse to the CEO—before approaching customers for additional information

  5. There is no “one person” who can tell you everything you need—Ensure that efforts to gather information about the customer target multiple constituencies, reflecting their widely divergent agendas

  6. Keep the methodology as simple as possible—Restrict VOC methodologies to the use of simple and standardized tools to avoid becoming encumbered by excessively complex analyses

  7. Help customers clarify and make their own trade-offs—Using structured feedback sessions in which customers provide input directly into a software tool helps them clarify and commit more readily to a short list of critical issues

  8. Solutions to some problems may not be possible unless deployed at the enterprise level—Many customer problems can only be solved through the coordinating action of a group “above” the level of individual businesses or functions

  9. It’s about more than money—The impact of a central problem-solving group should be measured through both financial and non-financial metrics

  10. Problem solving may not be enough—VOC exercises are most valuable when they address not only customer complaints, but also innovation opportunities in supplier–customer interactions that can improve a customer’s own business performance

  11. Aggregate data to see the trends—Aggregate analysis of the VOC data over time enables companies to develop powerful insights into how the drivers of customer concern are likely to evolve

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