Voice of the Customer | Keynote Speaker on Voice of the Customer





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Published on Feb 10, 2012

Voice of the Customer - http://www.imtc3.com/ Call 941-704-9888 - Keynote Speaker on Voice of the Customer

The voice of the customer (VOC) concepts used today can be traced to Yoji Akao's work with Toyota in the 1960's. His 1978 book on his Quality Function Deployment (QFD) methodology introduced a valuable, rigorous but highly complex system. The purpose of QFD was to capture and translate customer desires into functional product characteristics and features that engineers could use for product design and improvement. Akao's system uses a series of matrices which are referred to as "the house of quality". The QFD system is far beyond what most of us mere mortals (non-engineers) will need, have patience for or will take the time to use. Other than the need for simplicity, these VOC methods have several technical weaknesses or omissions which can waste effort and severely limit effectiveness of results. These include:

Poor applicability outside manufacturing. Service and knowledge work does not create long runs of identical products, so product design in that context requires a different way.

Assumption that "the customer" is known. That can be a serious error. QFD-based VOC methods, such as those used by Six Sigma and ISO-9000 practitioners do not provide a clear method for determining the small number of finite roles a customer can play with a product or service. The result is that there is a high probability the most important customers do not get their voices properly solicited or heard.

There is no explicit provision for uncovering customer desired outcomes, distinct from functions, features and undesired outcomes. These are all different "voices", with desired outcomes being absolutely the most important.

Many practices have become lumped under the VOC umbrella, ranging from ways to proactively uncover what customers want during new product development (NPD), to reactively uncover what customers have experienced. Satisfaction surveys are one of the most common reactive approaches used. Well-designed surveys can be effective ways to find out whether customers got what they wanted. But there are three (3) critical weaknesses which can make surveys a poor choice for uncovering the voice of the customer:

The wrong questions are asked. There is weak alignment between what customers most value and what the survey asks. Hotel guests overwhelmingly say "good night's sleep" is their top priority. Thousands of hotels in North America administer guest surveys. Almost none ask about sleep satisfaction. Survey questions generally reflect what the provider, not the customer, thinks is important.

Simplicity trumps validity. The simplicity with which anyone can whip a survey together means that is exactly what happens. Surveys constructed without sound VOC knowledge result in uncovering dissatisfaction, without revealing what would make satisfaction occur. Knowing that timeliness is not satisfactory does not tell us whether we need to be faster (and by how much), have more precise timing, have shorter duration, etc. A key C3 principle to remember is that the absence of dissatisfaction is not evidence of satisfaction.

Conflicting purposes. The reasons for conducting a survey may be to (a) find out what customers want, (b) discover what they've experienced, (c) compare our performance with competitors, (d) make ourselves look good, (e) identify specific ways to improve product or process design, (f) quantify the impact of corrective actions, (g) establish a basis for employee recognition, (h) stay in compliance with industry, professional or quality management standards or (i) create the perception we care. All of these purposes may be legitimate but not all are aligned with customer values or priorities

The challenge is to find a happy middle ground between the complexity (but power) of QFD-based VOC and the simplicity (but reactive and easily misguided use) of surveys. The C3-based approach outlined below is one such remedy.

It is virtually impossible for members of an organization to agree on what Service means. Service is most frequently used as a verb to describe reactive activity (e.g. help, support, assist, fix). But it can also be used as a noun (e.g. legal services) or as an adjective (e.g. service center). What cannot be defined is difficult to manage, measure and improve.

http://www.imtc3.com/ Call 941-704-9888

Voice of the Customer - Keynote Speaker on Voice of the Customer


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