Characteristic #1 of a Customer Intelligent Enterprise: Invest in the Voice of the Customer
The Voice of the Customer can be a key differentiator in today’s hyper-competitive economy. Successful organizations translate customer insight into customer-centric action plans for its people, process and technology. However, the complexity of today’s market often makes it difficult to effectively track and act upon the VOC. Technology, media and the Internet have altered and expanded the channels where brands engage with their customers. As a result, customer data is fragmented throughout multiple channels and reporting systems. The Voice of the Customer provides a map of the customer’s decision environment so that you may prepare a more effective strategy. VOC also enhances your understanding of design-in or purchasing criteria so your value proposition can be tailored to resonate with the organization’s decision-makers. Establishing the VOC within an organization requires commitment to a customer insight program that reflects the channels with which target customers engage. VOC is defined as customer needs, motivators and requirements, stated or unstated. These requirements are identified through a combination of discovery techniques including one-on-one interaction, customer specification, observation, interviews, focus groups, surveys, customer service data collection. The idea of VOC first gained popularity in the 1990s; however, it has become more mission critical to enterprise in the ensuing years. In fact, over 80% of companies now sponsor either formal or informal VOC activities. An investment in establishing the VOC brings the customer to life in 3D rather than in the one-dimensional demographic profiling of the past. Savvy VOC programs embody behavioral and psychographic variables (attitudes, interests, opinions, lifestyle), as well as demographic variables. With a complete Voice of the Customer, a business can better put to work its resources for the customer.