Voice of the Customer

Customer focus drives such questions as:

  • Why are we in business?
  • Where do we need to be in the future?
  • What is the source of our ‘Competitive Advantage’?

Customers align cross functional organizations:

  • What drives purchasing behavior?
  • What is a defect, what is Value?

Who is the Customer?

All end-users or recipients of the service, product, or process. The customer can be either internal or external. Examples of customer:

  • Consumers of our products and services;
  • Internal Functions: Sales, Marketing, Operations;
  • Equipment, Machine or Computer System;
  • Process step;
  • Employees;
  • Management;
  • Anyone whose success or satisfaction depends on the performance of our process.

Customer needs

  • The “Voice of the Customer” (VOC) is the qualitative or quantitative expression of the things that drive customer satisfaction;
  • In a commercial setting, VOC is all those things that drive intent to purchase or repurchase VOC is the true customer voice – in the words of the customer.

Examples of VOC

  • “l will buy the lowest cost product”
  • “l am not satisfied with the speed of the service”
  • “l don’t want to wait for too long to see the doctor”
  • “l just want good service”

Sources of collecting VOC

Reactive Sources:

  • Complaints;
  • Problem or service hotlines;
  • Customer service/support calls;
  • Decreased, increased, or repeat business
  • Contract cancellations;
  • A web page or social media activities;
  • Internal complaints, etc.

Proactive Sources:

  • Interviews;
  • Focus groups;
  • Surveys;
  • Sales visits/calls;
  • Market research/monitoring;
  • Benchmarking;
  • Scorecards / Dashboards.

Understanding Customer needs

  • Remember it is difficult to access and understand meaningful information;
  • Customers tend to be vague;
  • Customers do not always know their own requirements;
  • Not all customer needs are equally important and can be met economically;
  • Testing, probing, and further research is often required and ongoing.
  • VOC needs to be quantified, converted into metrics that can be measured;
  • Critical To Quality (CTQ) Metrics are the measurable elements of a product or service the defines customer satisfaction;
  • CTQ Metrics allow us to:
    • Avoid misinterpretation of the VOC;
    • Identify key metrics;
    • Understand the gap between the current and desired state;
    • Validate the impact of improvement actions.

The CTQ tree

  • “Critical To Quality” Tree/Flow down:
    • A CTQ Tree is a tool that translates needs considered vital by the customer into product and service characteristics and links these characteristics to organizational processes.
  • Generally, VOC is:
    • Not measurable;
    • Complex;
    • Not specific.
  • CTQ’s are:
    • Measurable;
    • Simple;
    • Specific.
  • Converting the VOC into measurable CTQ’s is a key step in the improvement journey.
CTQ tree

Read more: KANO Analysis

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