VOC: An Important Source of Customer Information & Improvement Projects

Posted by on Nov 17, 2019 in Continuous Improvement, Customer Satisfaction, VOC | 0 comments


VOC or voice of the customer is a set of tools, method, and techniques that allow an improvement team to methodically collect and analyze customer needs and how customers value those needs.  Some basic needs are unspoken and expected.   If those needs are not met, the result will be extreme customer dissatisfaction.  An example might be buying a new car and finding it won’t start.


Performance needs help differentiate one supplier from another relative to price, functionality, or the ability of the supplier to provide the product or service in less time than a competitor.  An example would be buying a car and finding it has a larger trunk or better handling performance than another brand.


Excitement needs are usually unknown by the customer in advance but clearly separate a product or service from competitors.  Finding that maintenance for the first 30,000 miles of vehicle usage is provided free is an example.


We typically quantify VOC by breaking customers down into market segments based on demographic criteria.  Understanding how customers use products and services is an important way to understand what is valued by the customer to improve performance.


There are many methods that can be used to obtain VOC.  Each has it strength and weaknesses relative to its quality of information, cost, and ease of obtaining the information.


One of the easiest and most important source of customer information is feedback and complaints.  Other, not so obvious voices are those related to internal pain points such as “hidden factories” that rework and repair products and services.  Another may be the customer frustration created when using call centers to get product or service questions answered.


Many organization use surveys, interviews, focus groups, and customer visits to obtain VOC information.  The information collected then needs to be organized, analyzed, and translated into major customer requirements.  These major requirements are call key process output variables, the KPOVs shown in the diagrams above.  These KPOV variables are then compared against baselines that represent current system performance.  Any performance gap between the KPOVs and the customers needs must be considered for improvement.


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