Voice of customer, often referred to by the acronym VOC, is a tool and research technique businesses’ use to capture and record what a customer expects, their preferences, and what they dislike in a product or service. VOC is an important element in Six Sigma activities and can be considered as the foundation of a quality improvement project. To capture an accurate VOC, research will include gathering customer feedback, reporting results, and sometimes comparing this information to other competitors. Gathering the information and related data is only the first step, in order to make this kind of research valuable to the company, action will need to be taken in a timely manner.
It is important to identify what customers expects that the service or product is not currently offering or is not provided. From there, a company will have the ability to identify areas and opportunities to improve. An organization will then be able to identify areas of improvement in the market itself and decide whether or not certain offerings are necessarily needed by the customer. The product or service can also be evaluated for how well it is currently meeting the customer’s expectations and how well it compares to the competition. Capturing the voice of the customer may reveal a business might be using valuable resources to produce features that aren’t necessarily required in order for purchase. Another advantage of capturing the voice of the customer is the opportunity to gain insights for what customers may be expecting in future product developments.
There are a handful of avenues a manager can use to capture the VOC including focus groups, in-depth interviews with customers, surveys, and more. From the information provided by customers, a manager will then need to translate that information into a need and ultimately a requirement. This will help to qualify those needs and provide a direction for improvement. At this time, a Critical-to-Quality tree can be used to define what the product will need in order to be considered satisfactory. A company should act immediately after receiving information, so customers can enjoy a better experience sooner.