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zaterdag 12 januari 2013

The Voice of the Customer (VoC)

The Voice of the Customer

Quality can be defined as meeting customer needs and providing superior value. Meeting customer needs requires that those needs be understood. The Voice of the Customer is the term to describe the stated and unstated customer needs or requirements.

Up to a few years ago, when companies wanted to know what their customers were thinking, they just asked. It sounds simple enough, but it was anything but. Companies painstakingly pulled together a large random sampling of their customers and then overwhelmed them with dozens of questions about anything they could cram into a half-hour telephone survey. They mailed out questionnaires they hoped customers would fill out and return. They brought a handful of customers together for focus group sessions that could last several hours. Then along came the internet, and companies embraced email and the web to poll their customers without incurring high phone or postage costs.

In any case, collecting customer feedback was a massive undertaking that few companies did more than once a year and response rates were typically very low. Survey fatigue was rampant, mostly because surveys were not customer-friendly: They were absurdly long and structured with the company's interests and not the customer's in mind.

Today, those outdated methods are too slow and infrequent and don't go nearly deep enough to keep up with modern business pressures.

That's why companies today are turning to Voice of the Customer (VOC) solutions.

The Voice of the customer is a term used in business and Information Technology to describe the in-depth process of capturing a customer's expectations, preferences and aversions. Specifically, the Voice of the Customer is a market research technique that produces a detailed set of customer wants and needs, organized into a hierarchical structure, and then prioritized in terms of relative importance and satisfaction with current alternatives. Voice of the Customer studies typically consist of both qualitative and quantitative research steps. They are generally conducted at the start of any new product, process, or service design initiative in order to better understand the customer’s wants and needs, and as the key input for new product definition.

Much has been written about this process, and there are many possible ways to gather the information like focus groups, individual interviews, contextual inquiry, ethnographic techniques, etc. But all involve a series of structured in-depth interviews, which focus on the customers’ experiences with current products or alternatives within the category under consideration. Needs statements are then extracted, organized into a more usable hierarchy, and then prioritized by the customers.

It is critical that the product development core team own and are highly involved in this process. They must be the ones who take the lead in defining the topic, designing the sample, generating the questions for the discussion guide, either conducting or observing and analyzing the interviews, and extracting and processing the needs statements.

Voice of the Customer Initiatives

- A detailed understanding of the customer’s requirements
- A common language for the team going forward
- Key input for the setting of appropriate design specifications for the new product or service
- A highly useful springboard for product innovation.

Qualities of Desirable Voice of Customer Metrics

Credibility: How widely accepted is the measure? Does it have a good track record of results? Is it based on a scientifically and academically rigorous methodology? Will management trust it? Is there proof that it is tied to financial results?

Reliability: Is it a consistent standard that can be applied across the customer lifecycle and multiple channels?
Precision: Is it specific enough to provide insight? Does it use multiple related questions to deliver greater accuracy and insight?

Accuracy: Is the measurement right? Is it representative of the entire customer base, or just an outspoken minority? Do the questions capture self-reported importance or can they derive importance based on what customers say? Does it have an acceptable margin of error and realistic sample sizes?

Actionability: Does it provide any insight into what can be done to encourage customers to be loyal and to purchase? Does it prioritize improvements according to biggest impacts?

Ability to Predict: Can it project the future behaviors of the customer based on their satisfaction?

Definition of Sales 2.0

Definition of Sales 2.0 

The Sales 2.0 approach uses Web 2.0 technology to overlay the reactive style of Sales 1.0 solution selling onto the innovative mechanisms and milestones of the modern internet’s consumer marketing environment. Sales 2.0 is an evolving conceptual paradigm whose vision is to merge sales and marketing into a seamless effort to target buyers more effectively using innovative and integrated tactics in order to bring in more business at a lower cost.  

Key objectives of the Sales 2.0 approach are:

• More Predictability:                        Knowing what is coming down the pipeline.
• Higher Velocity:                             Closing deals faster and with less cost of sales.
• Higher Volume:                              Closing more deals.
• Higher Value:                                 Generating more revenue at lower costs.
• Higher Customer Satisfaction:         Creating and sustaining long-term customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Sales 2.0 is the synthesis of new technologies, sales models, processes, and mindsets.  The paradigm leverages people, process, technology, and knowledge to make significant gains by integrating the power of Web 2.0 and “on-demand” technologies with proven sales techniques in order to increase sales effectiveness and velocity.
Sales 2.0 also leverages increased communication and collaboration between sellers and buyers and members of the selling team, together with a proactive and visible integration of knowledge and measurement of the buying cycle into the sales cycle.

The following table similarly compares the key characteristics of Sales 1.0 to those of Sales 2.0.