By Chris Stone, Project Manager for Rocky Mountain Trade Adjustment Assistance Center
Voice of the Customer (VOC) is a process which captures the requirements and feedback from the customer to provide best-in-class product or service quality. The customer can be a consumer of your services, a co-worker in the next department, an investor seeking superior returns on their investment, or a concerned citizen living on the same planet impacted by your greenhouse gas emissions.
The VOC process is all about being proactive and constantly innovative to capture the changing requirements of customers over time
1. xxxThe voice of the customer can be captured through either reactive or proactive methods. Reactive methods utilize data the organizations has already collected, such as complaints, service calls, scorecards, and warranty claims, analyzing the information to capture (or infer) the voice of the customer. These traditional methods provide a limited perspective of VOC. Proactive methods represent research initiatives specifically developed to provide VOC insights. Proactive methods include interviews, direct observation, surveys, focus groups, customer visits, and joint projects. These methods provide a richer, more detailed representation of the voice of the customer. Currently, “big data,” artificial intelligence and mobile phone app methods are being used by companies to obtain a more authentic, direct, and unfiltered voice of the customer. A VOC plan should consider both internal and external customers. internal customers, or “stakeholders,” are found within the organization and consist of management, employees, or sub-groups of these. External customers are the users of the products or services; shareholders and others that have a vested interest in the organization are also external customers. In the VOC process the organization needs to determine customer requirements, needs, and wants. Requirements are the “must haves” of a product or service, product features that fulfil the needs of the customer. Needs represent the critical features required; wants are expectations of the product or service beyond the essential needs.
About Chris Stone
Chris is a Project Manager with The Rocky Mountain Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (RMTAAC) in Boulder, where he helps small U.S. manufacturers improve their competitiveness versus import competition. RMTAAC is a federally funded (U.S. Department of Commerce) program that is managed through the University of Colorado, Leeds School of Business.
Over the course of his 18 years at RMTAAC, Chris has helped turn around more than 100 manufacturers across a wide range of industries in the Rocky Mountain Region.
“With my client companies, I like to focus on what is realistic and “do-able,” given a company’s background, experience, and capabilities. Oftentimes, small companies simply don’t know how or where to get started with change. They lack a vision. I view my role as a facilitator and guide, like a business coach, helping companies get moving with key projects, starting small and building upon successes. As companies get comfortable with change and start to see results, they gain confidence and are then able to refine and clarify their vision for the future.”
Chris has worked in manufacturing for more nearly 30 years, beginning in the quality control department of a Colorado Hi-Tech manufacturer. His educational background includes a BA in Economic History, focusing on regional economic development, as well as an MBA from The Leeds School of Business at The University of Colorado.
Beyond the world of work, Chris is an avid sportsman. He likes to keep fit playing tennis, mostly against his daughter and son, along with the occasional mixed doubles with the wife versus the kids, who, these days, generally win.
See: LinkedIn profile