Voice of Customer (VOC) input is a critical design tool that helps companies create an initial product design specifications document that captures both the customer’s wants and needs. During VOC meetings, end users, for example are either asked a series of questions as to how they complete a task or perhaps observed completing that task. Meetings are videotaped for review and analysis again later.
Traditionally, marketing has had responsibility for defining customer needs and product requirements. This typically isolates engineering and other development personnel from the customer and from gaining a firsthand understanding of customer desires. As a result, customer’s real wishes are lost during the transfer of knowledge. However, when executed correctly, VOC meetings not only save companies money and time but also raises customer satisfaction because end user needs were understood.
In a recent VOC meeting conducted by SYNECTIC® several key design inputs were established that helped change the direction the customer was headed with a new product design. This knowledge helped to establish a clearer understanding of the customer needs and therefore a better defined path to the development of the product. This saved both time and costs for the customer and has resulted in shorter time to market and quicker time to realized revenue.
At SYNECTIC® VOC meetings are conducted by engineers with the customer. It is the targeted Q & A process during which customer needs and wants are obtained. The ability to ask follow up questions to fully understand a response is critical in obtaining this information.