Blog Category: Customer Insights (VOC)

Doing quantitative voice-of-customer? Good. Now do it “the B2B way.”

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Clever companies realize they’ll “hear what they want to hear” without quantitative VOC. To do it right, B2B companies should weight responses based on customer buying power. And don’t just ask for importance ratings: Ask for satisfaction ratings as well. The only hope for premium pricing is pursuing needs that are both important and unsatisfied.

More in article, Constraints to Organic Growth

Finished with your VOC? Not so fast. We need some numbers first.

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Think your VOC work is done if you can splash some pithy customer quotes on a PowerPoint slide? Nope. You must conduct quantitative interviews to isolate the important, unsatisfied outcomes (using 1-10 scales). We all “hear what we want to hear”… so unfiltered customer data is needed. Never spend development dollars until someone “shows you the numbers.”

More in article, Why Advanced VOC Matters (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

Your new product development process is backwards.

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If your new product development process begins with “idea generation,” is it your idea… or your customers’? If you start with your idea, you probably won’t understand customer needs until the end… by seeing if they buy your new product. Why not flip your approach and start with customer needs? Unless you’d rather your R&D kept guessing at customer needs.

More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B (page 4).

If you’re a B2B company, stop using hand-me-down consumer goods voice-of-customer methods.

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Traditional VOC relies on questionnaires, tape recorders and post-interview analyses. That’s fine for B2C, but your B2B customers are insightful, rational, interested and fewer in number. They’re smart and will make you smarter if you engage them in a peer-to-peer fashion, take notes with a digital projector, skillfully probe, and let them lead you.

More in executive briefing, Seven Mistakes that Stunt Organic Growth.

 

Voice of the Customer Data should be Unfiltered

Voice of the Customer data should be unfiltered. IMAGE: Man covering ears

We all hear what we want to hear. So we should require unfiltered, quantitative Voice of the Customer data.

After presenting conclusions from months of Voice of the Customer research, a marketer’s boss said, “No… I think customers want this instead.” A terrible reaction, but why did it happen? The marketer had no hard data—just quotes, impressions and anecdotes. You’ll be more believable, confident and correct—with unfiltered, quantitative VoC data.

More in article, 5 Growth Risks You Can Stop Taking (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

Innovation requires attention to both Problem 1 and Problem 2.

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Problem 1—What’s the right question?—focuses on market needs. Problem 2—What’s the right answer?—is all about your solutions. Most companies put 90+% of project spending into Problem2, yet Problem 1 causes most new product failures. Hmmm… are you sensing a possible competitive advantage here? Will you explore it further? Will you seize it?

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 4).

Mediocre customer insights? You need a different packing list for your next interview.

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Cross “interview guide” off your packing list and add “digital projector.” The former indicates you—not the customer—will be guiding the interview. Not good. Project your notes and let the customer tell you their next problem or ideal state: You’ll learn what you didn’t know you didn’t know, they’ll correct your notes, and they’ll be much more engaged.

More in article, Why Advanced VOC Matters (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

Great B2B innovation starts with customer engagement. Are you applying customer detachment?

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Many suppliers unwittingly detach from customers with a host of risky behaviors: 1) Asking customers to fill in boring questionnaires, 2) using interviews to “validate” their preconceived solutions, 3) failing to probe with insightful questions, and 4) neglecting to follow-up interviews with rich, ongoing engagement. Is it time to learn customer-engagement skills?

More in article, 5 Growth Risks You Can Stop Taking (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

Does tripling your profit growth seem impossible? It’s not with customer-engaging innovation.

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The data are in, the studies are done, and—put simply—customer-engaging VOC improves your bottom line. One study on innovation by Booz & Co. found this: Suppliers who directly engage customers enjoy three times the profit growth vs. those that do not. Want huge profit growth? Engage your customers. It’s not hard, but it is a different approach… even innovative.

More in article, Why Advanced VOC Matters (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter)

Don’t count on your R&D people being brighter than competitors’.

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Will you win because your R&D people are 20% smarter than the competition’s? If that logic sounds shaky, here’s a suggestion: What if your R&D worked only on problems customers truly cared about… while competitors kept guessing what to work on? Would that be a competitive advantage? This is easier than you think… but maybe you’d rather try to hire geniuses.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 4)

You don’t know what you don’t know.

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When developing a product, you know what you know (facts)… what you think (hypotheses)… and what you don’t know (gaps). But breakthroughs usually come from what you didn’t know you didn’t know. Only your customers know this, so you must let them guide you. This provides the spark of innovation, which seldom occurs with old-fashioned supplier-led interviews.

More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B (page 3)

Interview B2B customers in a way that allows—even invites—surprise.

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We’ve coached hundreds of B2B new product teams and here’s the awkward reality: When teams begin using advanced methods to interview customers, they are usually surprised by what customers want. This means the teams had been planning on developing a product that interested them, not customers. This is a sobering experience. Have you had it yet?

More in article, The Cost Cutter’s Guide to Growth (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter)

Closely examine B2B innovation malpractice, and you’ll see a pervasive disregard for customer needs.

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It’s ironic: B2B customers have the only vote on whether our new product is any good. B2B customers want us to innovate on their behalf. B2B customers are eminently qualified to guide us. Yet many suppliers all but ignore B2B customers when developing their product concepts. Today, this is a global pandemic.

More in article, Is Your Innovation Supplier-Centric… or Customer-Centric? (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter)

Do you use Voice of Customer (VOC)… or Voice of Ourselves (VOO)?

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Companies like to talk about the voice-of-the-customer, but most just listen to themselves as they create “conference room” products. The team gathers internally to decide for the customer what they’ll want in a new product. This team will always lose to the team that immerses itself in the customer experience, and designs a product to improve that experience.

More in article, Why Advanced VOC Matters (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter)