Voice of the Customer…………is it important?
The April topic in ASQ’s a view from the Q is: Voice of the Customer.
1. What exactly should voice of the customer mean to the quality professional?
2. How important is it?
3. What are the best ways to gather it?
What is the Voice of the Customer?
The voice of the Customer (VOC), is a process used to get information about customer expectations, preferences and dislikes.
The Voice of the customer is a very important process for any quality professional and of course for any organization. It’s a process to understand, and anticipate current and future customer expectations and needs. Customer wants and needs are changing continuously, so new data is constantly needed to keep ahead of the game; this information is really valuable.
To keep improving, quality professionals have to listen to not only their current customers, but also to possible future customers. All organizations need customers to survive, so “Listen” to them.
The Voice of the Customer helps you prioritize on those aspects that are valuable to your customers, and eliminate those that are not (you can absolutely lower your WASTE). The Voice of the Customer also helps in identifying GAPS in your service and or products. It provides early stage warnings, so management can pro-actively react on them. To stay competitive in this modern world, the Voice of the customer is the KEY.
In order to capture this valuable information (DATA) to continuously improve and adapt to customer wants and needs, feedback is vital. And here we are talking about feedback from the customers (EXTERNAL CUSTOMERS). Without feedback there will be no actions, and / or improvements.
This in turn will lead to unhappy customers who will leave, and stop doing business with you. Any organization without customers will cease to exist.
A difficult step in this process (VOC), that challenges almost everyone, is getting people (customers) to talk.
There are different tools/techniques, organizations use to collect useful data from clients and/or customers.
Here I am mentioning just a few:
1.In person interviews
2.Surveys (Telephone surveys, Mail surveys)
The best way is to use a combination of the different techniques.
Gathering data is important, but collecting it and not using the results is called: Waste. It’s waste of money, time, and effort.
So as soon as the data is received, quality professionals must analyze it, differentiate it and use it to improve, and /or adapt.
Management in his turn must prioritize, and act to improve, thus delivering what the customer wants.
“It’s all about Quality”
Roundtable: Voice of the Customer