You conduct front-end-of-innovation customer interviews so you can design a great new product, right? Well yes, but… if you do these well, you’re doing more. You’re also 1) learning the unknown unknowns, 2) unlearning the things you do know that simply aren’t true, 3) aligning your development team for action, 4) making better decisions through improved market intuition, and 5) building stronger relationships for near-term sales opportunities.
For more download e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B
Want to build an amazing customer interview team in a stress-free manner? Gradually increase the “stakes” of the interview by starting with easier, safer interviews. You might follow this six-step progression: 1) industry experts you pay to interview, 2) sales colleagues, 3) other departments/experts in your company, 4) your distributors, 5) smaller, safer customers, and finally, 6) larger, high-stakes customers. By the time you reach the later group, you’ll have one highly-polished and confident interview team.
More in article, Virtual VOC: 10 Advantages and 7 tips
Why would a company ever want to be a fast follower? I can only think of one reason: They want to reduce commercial risk, by coat-tailing a competitor’s market success. After all, fast-followers don’t reduce technical risk. This only increases, given the need to work around competitive patents. With B2B markets, you can eliminate most commercial risk through B2B-optimized voice-of-customer interviews. (See e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B.) Turns out the fast-follower strategy is a misguided strategy for B2B.
More in article, Chasing the Fast Follower Myth
While in-person interviews remain the “gold standard,” we’ve found 10 advantages to virtual voice-of-customer. These include 1) lower cost, 2) reaching dispersed customers, 3) viewable probing tips, 4) colleague training, 5) probing suggestions, 6) note-taker assistance, 7) rapid debriefing, 8) easier scheduling, 9) low-impact cancellations, and 10) greater project speed. If you’re not taking advantage of these advantages, you’re forfeiting effectiveness and efficiency in your customer insight efforts.
Download our white paper at www.virtualvoc.com
Reliable growth boils down to three linked principles. 1) Your company’s only path to profitable, sustainable organic growth is to create customer value. 2) You only create customer value when you satisfy customer needs that were important and unmet. 3) You must first understand customer needs. You cannot efficiently, effectively improve that which you do not fully comprehend. So it’s time to stop thinking about voice-of-customer as just “one more initiative.” It’s much more. It’s the first link in the growth you want.
More in article, Predict the customer’s experience with modeling.
If you compare a 2-hour in-person voice-of-customer interview to a 2-hour web-conference interview, the former wins. You can interpret body language better, build stronger relationships, and perhaps get a customer tour. But what if it took you and your interview team 10 hours of (mostly non-productive) travel time for the interview? A better question might be, “When is each type of interview most appropriate?” (See interview examples in the video at www.VOCforB2B.com.)
For 7 factors to consider, download our white paper, Virtual VOC (page 8).
Did you buy home-owner insurance… even though it’s unlikely your house will burn down this year? How confident are you that you truly understand customer needs when you develop new products? Our research shows most companies do not. So why not have your teams trained in the latest B2B voice-of-customer insight methods? Think of it as insurance. Or better yet… as a strong preventative, like fire-proofing your house.
See video on B2B voice-of-customer at www.vocforb2b.com.
Research shows that it’s often “game over” for your product if a competitor’s product has a better Google search ranking. The key is good search engine optimization (SEO), and the key to that is predicting which keywords your prospects will search for. Here’s a tip: In your front-end voice-of-customer interviews, capture customers’ comments verbatim. Then use their language—which is unlikely to change—in your SEO strategy.
More in article, B2B Product Launch: How to get it right
Voice-of-customer interviews don’t really work unless the customer trusts you. You’ll tell your doctor, lawyer or therapist everything they need to know so they can help you. But only if you trust them. The same is true for your customers when you seek information to innovate for them. You build trust with your credibility, reliability, and a sincere interest in their well-being.
More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth
The human brain likes to diverge first (look at all these deserts), and then converge (the chocolate lava cake, please). We shortcut this highly-effective approach when we begin by asking customers if they like our idea, hypothesis, or prototype. First, diverge with an open-minded exploration of all customer needs in B2B-optimized, voice-of-customer interviews. When you converge in a later round of interviews, do so quantitatively, so your confirmation bias doesn’t kick in.
More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth (Lesson 16).