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Article VOC Strategy

Innovation is Driven By a Clear Common Sense of the Customer

How is your business running?

Is it agile and is your team making rapid decisions to evolve your competitive advantage?
OR Do a lot of your innovation ideas fall by the wayside because of a lack of consensus?

The role of the Voice of the Customer is often overlooked in making stronger businesses. Agility and the power to make decision often depends on it.

The Role of VoC

There are many arguments for having a VoC program in your business:

  1. Responding to emerging problem areas earlier (before they become a huge problem)
  2. Gathering customer input before investing in a new product development cycle and 
  3. Gathering competitor intelligence via customers to name a few

If you look at all of these in aggregate, it points to an even higher level role for VoC in your business: being the foundation for innovation.

VoC Driven Innovation

Innovation is different animal than other business inititatives.  it takes what JFK described a very long time ago as ‘every degree of mind and spirit that (we) possess” pointed in a highly aligned effort to change things in dramatic ways.

That alignment is not easy to get but it’s extremely valuable. The greatest uneasiness that exists in any business decision-making process is whether the change will help or hurt the customer relationship.

Many businesses run at half speed as a result — making only the safe decisions and eventually falling victim to what Microsoft did when the iPad came out: a shocking loss of market share due to external innovation.

Customer Centricity = Competitiveness

There are many factors in creating an innovative and competitively positioned company.  But, in my experience, the biggest factor is having a clear common sense of the customer.

While some icons like Steve Jobs believed it was a visionary’s job to know what customers wanted before they did, in reality a big part of it comes from simply asking and listening to customer input.

VoC’s role in your business isn’t just as decision support tool — it’s a decision driving tool.

Alignment around who your key customers are and what their key preferences are the two key foundations of a management teams ability to make aggressive, agile and smart decisions. The last one is still very important — success isn’t only about agility, it’s a combination of intelligence and agility.

Apr 4, 2014  

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