Your Voice: The customer is always right!
From a process management perspective, the customer is defined as “an individual or a group who is affected by the process or product.”
From a process management perspective, the customer is defined as “an individual or a group who is affected by the process or product.” In fact, this affect is genuinely bidirectional since the customer affected by a process will in turn decide whether the process, or its final product, is a success or failure!
Possessing this originally embedded power of being a major player influencing the success of the process, we have to admit that Mr. Customer must be valued and should receive a great deal of respect on which his needs, wants, and expectations are eagerly sought after and properly analyzed.
The earlier the Voice of the Customer (VOC) is listened to, analyzed, and factored in the process, the better aligned and more effective the process becomes. Nevertheless, making the VOC an integral part of the process development stage helps avoiding the dilemma of blindly developing a process and anxiously waiting for the verdict of Mr. Customer after launching the process/product on which altering an established process would be more complicated and costly as well.
The journey of meeting, or rather exceeding the expectations of Mr. Customer is usually long and requires several steps to reach the desired destination. It starts with identifying all possible customers affected by the process and defining their relevant level of engagement being primary, secondary, direct, or indirect customers.
Based on the customer level of engagement, capturing the VOC needs to be carefully handled by selecting a suitable approach for each customer category. This can be achieved using a wide range of tools developed to capture the VOC. It is worth noting that the VOC collection process should not neglect any piece of this precious input, even if at first it sounds irrelevant or impossible to fulfill.
Once the information is collected and properly filtered, the VOC is then comprehensively analyzed to translate the customer expectations into operational requirements supporting the process/product development. Tools such as the Quality Function Deployment (QFD) can be useful to achieve this vital conversion.
Think of the amount of surveys, ballots, and applications requesting for information that we receive daily through different communication channels; social media, direct phone calls, text messages, and others. Despite the fact that their approach in seeking information is sometimes considered overwhelming and might upset Mr. Customer, people behind this know exactly how the VOC is essential for their businesses’ success and continuity as the more the organization believes in the customer focused approach, its eagerness to collect more information from its customer increases.
Adopting the customer focused approach by taking care of Mr. Customer’s needs, wants, and expectations, provides organizations with a competitive advantage allowing them to survive in the current rapidly evolving competition. On the other side of the spectrum, using a wrong strategy to approach Mr. Customer for information would yield in negative results. Therefore, the overall process of capturing and analyzing the VOC must be well designed to successfully achieve its ultimate purpose.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” — Bill Gates
Your Voice reflects the thoughts and opinions of the writer, and not necessarily those of the publication.