By: Kathy Kent Toney, CEO & Founder of Kent Business Solutions
As a business leader, have you ever experienced significant shortfalls with your customers that resulted in poor reviews or lost business?
If this rings true for you, there is a solution that can prevent this from happening again—Voice of the Customer (VOC). It’s an invaluable tool for any business leader’s toolbox!
Here's a great example of how one of my amazing clients turned a potentially harmful situation into a multi-million dollar outcome using VOC.
This local manufacturer didn't have a standard process for gathering customer requirements to ensure proper incorporation before new product development efforts started nor to monitor them continually during the process.
This problem became very evident when the following scenario happened.
My client had recently established an innovation arm of their business for developing smart technology products. One day, they called upon an electrical contractor to install a prototype of their first new innovative product at a work site.
Much to my client's chagrin, the contractor informed them that they had made a massive mistake in the housing of the product, making it non-functional in its current state. This mistake could have caused ALL kinds of serious issues, especially if they had to go back through a lengthy UL approval process. Thankfully, that wasn't the case!
That's when the CEO decided to bring me in to develop a new approach they could integrate into their product development process.
We got right to work! I teamed with them to create "how-to kits" for each different VOC type: surveys, focus groups, and customer visits, to name a few. Then we integrated the how-to kits into different phases of their product development process. That way, end users would know how to gather customer feedback at the correct times and places. Not only that, the process helped to ensure they incorporated that feedback into developing products.
The outcome was excellent! The first new product that used the VOC process experienced the following:
My client has been thrilled with the results!
Another great thing about this process is that it's a drop-in system that can be easily adapted to other product development processes and even works for service delivery models. This aspect can benefit a company, allowing quicker and less costly implementations.
And when it comes to process deployments, who doesn't want that?
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As a "thank you" for reading my blog, here's a freebie I'd like to share with those of you who develop products—a Product Development Checklist. If you're new in this space, it can start you down the road of creating such a process or help you improve the one you already have. If you have a mature approach, feel free to adapt any new insights to improve your current process.
Either way, I'd love to have you check it out! Just click the button below to download it.
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