This post is the second part in a series called 3 Steps to Gain the Most Value from a Voice of the Customer Study.
We frequently hear, “We’re thinking about conducting a Voice of the Customer initiative. What are the best ways to be sure we gain the most value from our VOC study?”
In fact, there are three absolutely critical factors. In our last post we discussed Step One: Choose your customers wisely. For today, we're going to focus in on Step Two.
#2 Define Your Survey Tool Correctly
What is it you really want to learn from customers? Is your market share shrinking? Are your operational performance indicators slipping? Do you worry that customer service is overburdened and not responsive? Is service call volume excessive? Are deliveries late or incomplete? Are lead times driven by your capabilities or by customer expectations? Are revenues contracting? Is there an excessive churn among your customer base? Have too many R&D projects on the drawing board to begin to prioritize which one will create the most value—and it seems all your engineers are advancing pet projects?
For every question, there is a reason ‘why.’ But more times than not, your customers will be less inclined to tell you the direct answer and in full. They may share some with their usual contact. They may even share with the President / CEO making a round of customer calls. However, more times than not, the customer will not be as illustrative as they could be. Unspoken agendas between buyer and seller frequently ‘taint’ the conversation—particularly if there are contractual or pricing changes on the horizon.
This is where a third-party interviewing team can do something unique. A third-party interviewer can become both the customer advocate and the company advocate. It is the researchers’ role to conduct a fair and balanced conversation—with a survey tool that will get to the bottom-line ‘whys’ of your business.
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You can expect Step Three to post next week, same day, same time.