By: Kathy Kent Toney, President of Kent Business Solutions
Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash
How many of you have experienced the following sticky situation of telling one of your best customers that what you promised wasn’t going to happen?
[Big sigh]…"Not again," you may have thought. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time.
It’s definitely not a pleasant experience, but 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!
Not sure what that is?
I like this short-and-to-the-point definition…it’s finding out exactly what your customers need so you can give them exactly what they need.
Here’s a great example of how one of my amazing clients turned their own “oops” moment into a multi-million dollar outcome…through using VOC.
This local manufacturer didn't have a standard process for gathering customer requirements to ensure they were incorporated before new product development efforts start. They also lacked a consistent way to continually monitor customer needs during the development process.
This became very evident when the following scenario happened…
My client had recently stood up a new 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 smart product at a work site.
Much to my client’s chagrin, the contractor informed them that they had made a huge mistake in the housing of the product that made it non-functional in its current state.
This 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 in a VOC expert (me)...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, 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 exactly how to gather the customer feedback…at the right times and in the right places. Not only that, they would know how to incorporate that feedback into developing products.
The outcome was amazing! The first new product that used the VOC process experienced the following:
Needless to say, my client has been thrilled with the results!
There’s another great thing about this process…it’s a drop-in system that can be easily adapted to other product development processes, and it even works for service delivery models. This can really benefit a company…it allows for quicker and less costly implementations.
And when it comes to process deployments, who doesn’t want that?
If you are facing any of the challenges above and/or would like to do a better job of delighting your customers, I’d love to have a chat!
In the meantime, here’s a freebie I’d like to share with you...a Product Development Checklist that can get you started down the road of developing such a process or to help you improve the one you already have.
Either way, I'd love to have you check it out! Just click the button below to download it.
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