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.”
Awkward Reality #34
Awkward Reality #33
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).
Awkward Reality #32
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.
Awkward Reality #31
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.
Awkward Reality #30
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).
Awkward Reality #29
As we begin training employees in B2B front-end-of-innovation skills, the business leader often asks, “Can you make the project teams go faster?” I understand this… but a better approach would have been to not dither away so many months making a decision to start training in the first place. Investing in such skills can never begin too soon.
Learn more about B2B innovation at www.theaiminstitute.com.
Awkward Reality #28
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.