Hit the Target
Voice of the customer (VOC) is a tool designed to gather customer insights. This method helps organizations reach the actual needs and requirements of target market segments. At times what appears is not real; it may be a result of impulse rather than a true need. Therefore, in order to hit the actual need, it is necessary to dig deep into consumers’ minds and get to know exactly what they want.
Organizations that believe in gathering true customer needs are the ones that eventually rise up as the best-in-class. This is one of the best ways to be the benchmark in your respective product or service category. Among all the organizations that run for satisfying customer needs (obviously to make money out of it), successful are those that respond in exactly the same manner expected by the target customers.
Listening to the voice of the customer, an organization may come across critical aspects of its own product or service. Customers know more precisely about a product as compared to the manufacturer, because customers are the ultimate users. Therefore, the voice of the customer tool helps highlight product features, possible areas of improvement, suggestions on service improvement, product’s adverse effects, etc.
Methods of VOC Data Collection
VOC is basically a data driven plan and this data is gathered in a number of ways. Some are indirect (reactive) methods, while other are direct (proactive) in nature. All the passive information collected through the VOC method falls under indirect data collection, such as service calls, warranty claims, customer complaints and/or compliments, sales reports, etc.
On the other hand, direct data collection is planned and actively engages customers in the data collection process. Examples of direct data collection are interviews and focus groups with customers, market research, customer surveys, etc. These methods are the most effective in gathering factual information regarding customer opinions and preferences.
While indirect data is easy to gather, it is usually outdated and thus ineffective. Besides, each service representative may have a different interpretation for customer reaction under each of the situation stated above; therefore management cannot come down to one uniform interpretation. On the contrary, direct methods are easy to interpret, more participative, and deeply interactive.
However, the above argument must not be confused with the great benefits that the indirect method offers. Indirect methods are usually negative in nature (customer complaints, warranty claims, product returns, etc.); nevertheless, they give the organization an opportunity to improve before it’s too late. The complaining customers are better because at least they are complaining, and not directly switching to the competitor.
Get to Know the Tactics
The VOC method is not as easy to use as it may sound. The data collecting team must have sound knowledge of the product or service they are collecting data for. They also need to have deep understanding of the target market in terms of segmentation bases and customer profiles. This information is important as it forms the basis of sampling strategy.
Voice of the customer data can be collected at any place where customers come in contact with the organization’s employees. More precisely, it is the touch-point from where data is collected. There can be several touch-points that are important, not only because they enable the company representative to collect data, but also to influence the customer behavior.
Organizations must be highly cautious when interacting with customers for data collection. This process is indeed resource consuming. An organization has to put in a lot of money, time, and energy to gather data. Therefore, it must be ensured that the right customers are approached the right way, meaning the sampling strategy, questionnaire, survey tactics, market research approach, etc. must be promising enough to make it worth the effort.