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Apr 5, 2010

The Voice of the customer - VOC

VOC is ensuring that products and services are aligned to customer needs. While Six Sigma often targets the quality of product – you’ll also often see improvement programs embrace a wider strategy of fulfilling customer requirements often including a variety of common issues such as quality – cost – right quantity - right time. Customer requirements can take many forms not just in the physical product.

The importance of voice of the customer (VOC)

So why is the voice of the customer important? Well if we fail to meet our customer’s requirement – quality – cost – right quantity - right time. A prolonged failure to meet customer needs could mean that the customer will move to other suppliers which can have drastic financial consequences.

So the voice of the customer represents an integral building block in how organizations operate. Further to that – in any business improvement initiative, the voice of the customer should always be present to ensure that
1- the product is aligned to customer need
2- Any improvement objectives incorporate customer requirement and therefore don’t build processes that fail to deliver.

Defining and capturing the voice of the customer (VOC)

Capturing the Voice of the customer can be achieved in various ways from questioning the customer through surveys, direct interviews etc, or through information that may be obtained through processes such as the purchasing process (for example product specifications) – While these are the more obvious methods – there is a wide variety of methods of capturing the voice of the customer. Perhaps the most widely available method, and one that is often overlooked, is the customer complaint. Believe it or not an effective customer complaint process can help target customer/business misalignment and drive the right improvement activities.

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