Challenges Faced in Conducting Voice of Customer Exercise

The Voice of Customer may sound like a simple exercise. However it would be safe to say that reading at the literature makes it look deceptively simple. Anyone who has an experience with market research will understand the issues involved. For a Six Sigma project to be successful, the Voice Of Customer must be accurate. Therefore, a few common problems faced while conducting the exercise have been noted below:

Contradictory Data: We begin with the assumption that customers placed in similar segments will have similar needs. However, as Voice of Customer explains that this may not be the case. Customers belonging to the same demographic and psychographic segments sometimes have remarkably different needs. This leads us to the conclusion that the initial segmentation of customers had been done on wrong basis.

The Voice Of Customer is a tool which helps understand if the basis used for the segmentation is correct. If customers are consistently giving contradictory feedback, then this issue can be raised with the marketing department. It would be useless to pursue the Six Sigma project and build an efficient process if the output from the process does not meet the needs of the customers.

Continuos VOC: Most organizations look at VOC as a one off exercise. However, nothing could be farther from the truth. The needs of the customers are continuously evolving and so are technological advancements that better enable us to fulfil those needs. Also customers become accustomed to the product features. Hence what provides customer delight today, will tomorrow be an expected feature of the product.

The challenge of successfully creating a process based on the Voice of Customer is to create a responsive process. A process that can listen to the evolving needs of the customers and change accordingly to provide maximum satisfaction. This feedback based control is often used in internal processes of an organization but seldom used in customer facing processes.

Capturing and Organizing: To solve the problem of continuous VOC, many organizations have implemented Customer Relationship Management systems. However, implementing these systems from a technical perspective is not enough. They need to be imbibed in the culture of the organization.

For instance, many customers penalize the agent who is at the receiving end of negative feedback. This builds in them a tendency to hide negative feedback. Organizations must reward their agents that point out the gaping holes in their VOC process. This is a cultural challenge and once again requires co-ordination between marketing and operations department to create a customer centric culture in the organization.

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