Voice of the Customer (VoC) is the act of gathering vital information regarding what people think and feel about their experiences with a product, system or process and using that data to inform a myriad of decisions.
Common examples of effective VoC practices are the enhanced safety features on Volvo’s cars, or Netflix’s investment in period-dramas with modern twists. These are a direct result of astutely listening to customers.
In project terms, this line of enquiry will support early design decisions and the later embedding of new and improved models or features.
The term ‘Customer’ references anyone who is a recipient of a process, system or function; therefore this can include external clients, third-parties and internal teams and stakeholders.
Why is it used?
Obtaining a clear and un-bias picture of the way customers consume and interact with products and services enables a team to focus on what is of most value.
Continuing to gather this data ensures the team remains on-track to produce an outcome that is of value to the organisation and its customer.
When is it helpful?
There is rarely a time when some variation of VoC is not employed by a project team. VoC is an essential practice in any deployment, as it ensures delivery in-line with validated requirements.
Unless both the organisation and the customer define what is important in the same way, they may be delivering a product and service that does not provide the value the customer wants and needs.
By collecting clear customer-data a project team is better able to tailor its approach to increase long-term value.
How is it applied?
Customer needs can usually be classified as being related to quality, cost, safety, service, delivery and social responsibility.
There are a number of ways an organisation can capture the VoC that delves in to the detail. Among them are:
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