A strong brand, and everything surrounding it, is the holy grail of marketing. What basically is no more than a couple of letters - sometimes matched with a symbol – transformed into a desirable good or service, is actually quite an accomplishment. An icon to which people match their identity. A product or service that people desire to own and for which they are willing to pay more than for other, less desirable brands. What makes one brand more successful than another? Focussing on the needs of the customer is essential. It’s the translation of the voice and needs of the customer and paying attention to this during the operational execution, that can lead to the Voice of the Customer (VOC) being of added value to companies that truly want to be customer-oriented.
Who is your customer?
It begins with thinking about who your customers actually are. Which groups can be defined? What characterizes those groups? And within possible groups: who are your most important and most representative customers?
Getting to the essence
The actual recording of the voice of the customer cannot be done through superficial questioning. One must ask supplementary questions about underlying reasons for behaviour/remarks. A good reminder is to ask at least five times ‘why’ about a subject. Also important: what is essential when it comes to customer service? What turns the customer on or off?
Satisfying customer needs
There has been much research on the voice of the customer, but to keep it simple, I think it’s about true entrepreneurship. Just ‘putting yourself out there’ and sense what the customer wants, by showing a real interest in the needs of the customer, and not only letting the results be the deciding factor.
It cannot be that hard to picture yourself as a customer at ‘your’ company, right? To see the bigger picture and see beyond the horizon: to develop a vision and go for it. Also, you need a good registration of ‘what is actually happening’ in order to accomplish feedback.
Or may you’d like to try out the recipe below? ;-)
1. Determine who your stakeholders (customers) are, SIPOC, Flowcharts, Procedures, Quality Agreements, contracts.
2. Identify the requirements of the stakeholders by using reactive and proactive techniques.
Ask the following questions to the identified stakeholders:
What do you need as output of the process?
If we had to redesign the process, what should we add?
What is the desired process time after which the output will be available?
How much are you willing to pay/invest? (financially, resources, knowledge)
What improvements can be made to the current process?
3. Determine which aspects of the company process are responsible to meet the requirements.
Produce a flowchart to visualize the process and identify the moments in the process where the requirements of the stakeholder are being realised.
4. Determine the specifications for the requirements.
Try to quantify the requirements.
Sometimes the requirements of a stakeholder have already been specified.
Example: I’d like to have my order delivered within 24 hours.
5. Determine the quality attributes of the company process or specifications (Critical Quality Attributes).
Critical quality attributes are attributes that make stakeholders feel satisfied with the final output of the company process.
6. Determine which critical quality attributes are key performance indicators (KPI).
In practice, a KPI can apply to several critical quality attributes.