Guest Blog: “Don’t be an ostrich. Listen to what your customers have to say”

Guest Blog: Avoiding Pitfalls in Capturing the Voice of the Consumer (VOC)

March 11, 2015

This is a paper that Jim Stockmal, Vice President and 2015 Conference Chair of the Association for Strategic Planning, did some years ago. As it follows on the theme of my recent blog, “The Competitive Intelligence Disconnect”, that is the failure of senior management to be open to new data and intelligence, Jim has permitted me to share it with you. Jim can be contacted at stockmaljim@yahoo.com. The underlying references can be obtained from Jim.

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Capturing the voice of the customer means more than listening to what is stated; it involves creative thinking, “getting into their heads”, and “walking in their shoes”.  Today an organization that wishes to become customer centered must use a number of tools and methods to stay close to the pulse of their customers, including: focus groups, face-to-face interviews, customer visits, customer panels, blogs, and social media.  Combining more than one method makes good “listening” sense.

But organizations must do more than just listen.  They must hear and take action.  The table below highlights ten pitfalls to avoid and offers suggestions on how to mitigate the risk of inaction or appropriate response.

 

Pitfalls Meaning or Impact Suggestions
The Ostrich Syndrome ·         Managers/leaders “stick their heads in the sand” and avoid hearing anything·         Avoid taking action ·         Prepare leaders ahead of time·         Leader participation (two-way mirror)

·         Quick follow-up

Regret ·         Second guessing the questions used·         Striving for perfection ·         Think about how the voice will be used after capturing
Pseudo-clairvoyance ·         Hindsight·         “We already knew that…” ·         Ask for predictions prior to hearing the voice·         Then circle back on what they actually heard
Comfort Zones ·         Results are way outside of the comfort zone·         Denial and other resistance behavior ·         Prepare to defend validity –find supporting evidence·         Coaching

 

Data-poor Thinking ·         Lack of action after the voice is captured ·         Planning·         Templates for action
Action Audits ·         Failure to evaluate 0r explore unexpected results ·         Probing and moderating skill·         Question design
Unequal Opportunity ·         Failure to give bad news and good news an equal chance of surfacing ·         Mitigate research bias·         Screening participants

·         Timing

Missing Information ·         Failure to explore·         Striving for perfection ·         Recognition that one has to deal with uncertainty·         Use of decision & risk analysis tools

·         Rely on knowledge and experience

Analytics at All Costs ·         Over reliance on mechanical, non-humanistic methods ·         Combine and vary the tools and methods employed
Filtering ·         Hearing what you want to hear ·         Use of third party professionals·         Coaching & education

Not taking action on what your customers are telling you won’t help you become more customer centric.  Listen continuously.  Act purposefully.


One Comment on “Guest Blog: “Don’t be an ostrich. Listen to what your customers have to say””

  1. […] Capturing the voice of the customer means more than listening to what is stated; it involves creative thinking, “getting into their heads”, and “walking in their shoes”. Today an organization that wishes to become customer centered must use a number of tools and methods to stay close to the pulse of their customers, including: focus groups, face-to-face interviews, customer visits, customer panels, blogs, and social media. Combining more than one method makes good “listening” sense. But organizations must do more than just listen. They must hear and take action. The table below highlights ten pitfalls to avoid and offers suggestions on how to mitigate the risk of inaction or appropriate response.  […]


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