Do you truly listen to the Voice of Your Customers?
Many organisations are focused on growth, profitability and efficiency. At the same time they overlook that their markets and customers outside are changing their minds about what they expect from products and services and so do opportunities or threats.
Organisation’s internal improvement work may result in better short-term costs and efficiencies. It may however move an organisation away from what their customers are really looking for.
Two simple examples you may recognise:
- Do you tend to anticipate customer product quality expectations or do you mostly react to customer complaints?
Customer product quality expectations grow and become more sophisticated nowadays; yet some organisations do not invest the time with their customers needed to allow them to anticipate those quality expectations and do something about it. Instead organisations focus mostly on minimising customer complaints, in other words, letting the problem happen first and then react, with all possible reputation damage as a consequence. This reactive approach risks to only get worse, as customer expectations evolve faster and faster.
- How do you balance agility and flexibility towards your customers versus internal productivity?
Each organisation may decide to improve labor productivity, reducing team sizes and costs from time to time. A regularly seen consequence is that your customers need to wait longer for their service. Why? Simply because if work does not get re-organised, it stacks up and depends from less people who prefer to do that work in batch to be productive themselves. The consequence is that the internal or external customer waits longer until he gets tired and goes elsewhere.
The good news is that organisations have a choice to be reactive or pro-active. To be productive at the same time as customer oriented and flexible. I did not say it is easy. It definitely does not need to mean adding people. Lean Management offers some solutions to the problem. However first the organisation needs to be made aware and to listen to their customer’s expectations.
So what is Voice of Customer?
Voice of Customer is a simple technique, every organisation can apply by regularly finding interaction with customers to stay on top of what they expect and how an organisation performs against that expectation. Voice of Customer is about getting ready to get an answer on 3 questions directly from your customers:
- What really matters to your customer in their relationship with your organisation?
- What is your organisation doing well today in the perception of your customer?
- What can your organisation improve today in the opinion of your customer?
Hope this is useful and if anyone likes to discuss, I am looking forward to it, as I believe their is a lot of competitive advantage to get from such exercise!
By Christof Frenay, Managing Partner at Improof Solutions