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Mo so voc v1, 15_sept 09


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Mo so voc v1, 15_sept 09

  1. 1. MoSO Supporting Information The MoSO MoSO Cooperative Voice of the CustomerLead Author: Terry Rose Status: Draft – Reviewed – ModeratedPeer Reviewers: Tony Brown, Tony KorychiIntroductionThe expression Voice of the Customer, or VoC, is typically used in two ways: 1. We refer to Voice of the Customer as the data that defines or describes customer needs and expectations. This data can either be in the form of numbers or language or both. In other words, VOC defines what is wanted. 2. An organisation may also have Voice of the Customer processes – used to systematically capture and analyse voice of the customer data and drive improvements in products, services and processes. Voice of the Customer (VOC) We typically use the expression ‘VOC’ in two ways: • We refer to ‘capturing’ the Voice of the Customer, which means to fully understand customer needs and the customer environment • A well defined Process used to systematically capture the voice of the customerVoC is shown on the Enhanced MoSO - as one of the three inputs or voices into the PDSA cycle atthe very heart of the model.Why is it Necessary to listen the Voice of the Customer?Because all work starts and finishes with the customer. In other words, the customer defines anddetermines the quality of our work.Ask someone, “what is your job?” and you’ll hear, sales assistant, nurse, doctor, MD, PA, softwareengineer, etc. Ask the same question of someone who works in a truly customer focusedorganisation and you’ll hear the same answers, yet with the caveat, “My real job is to do whatever Ican to satisfy the needs of my customers (clients, patients, etc.)”.These words express their determination not only to ‘do their work’, but also to achieve the bestpossible outcomes for their ‘customers’.Prof. Shoji Shiba in his book, Four Practical Revolutions in Management, makes the distinctionbetween ‘Product-Out’ (doing work according to the established process – an internal focus) and‘Market-In’ (a focus on customer satisfaction). He says that Product-Out is good, but not goodenough – you also need Market-In.Version 1, 15 Sept 2009 1 of 5 Contact: This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License
  2. 2. MoSO Supporting Information The MoSO MoSO Cooperative Voice of the CustomerTo achieve this, you not only have to know who your customers are (both internal and externalcustomers), but also their expectations – both now and in the future. How many of us can say, handon heart, that we have this information to hand?Listening to, and being able to interpret, the voice of the customer is essential to achievingcustomer satisfaction which is the best and only lasting means to organisational sustainability.What are the Consequences of not listening to the Voice of the Customer?It could be said that if an organisation does not systematically listen to the Voice of the Customerit is guilty of being “unknowingly indifferent to customer needs and expectations.”This consequence is most likely brought about by a failure in organisational capability – both interms of a lack of skills and of poor or non-existent VoC processes.You often hear front-line customer facing staff (Sales, Customer Service, nurses, etc.) bemoaningthat their first hand knowledge of customers is not listened to or headed by ‘management’.‘Management’ is often frustrated because the inputs they receive are not in a form that areactionable or factual. Emotional language clouds the real issues. This is a consequence of anorganisation not having the capability to listen to the voice of the customer.The Importance of the Internal Customer ConceptWhen discussing customers, we intuitively think of the ‘external’ or end customer, so it’s worthconsidering ‘internal’ customers and the role they can play in continual improvement. Perhaps asimple example may help to show the importance of internal customers. Phillip worked as a Financial Analyst. He prided himself on producing error-free financial reports – on time, every time. He had an efficient, well defined process to capture the data and format it into reports for department heads. Phillip was therefore surprised that his manager thought there was scope for improvement in his work. His manager suggested that he discuss this with his ‘customers’ (users of his information). A little put out, Phillip went to see one of the department heads. Susan confirmed that the reports she received every month were indeed accurate and timely. But it turned out that on receipt of Phillip’s reports, Susan had to spend a substantial amount of time reformatting the data to produce the figures that she needed to manage her department. Other managers that Phillip subsequently interviewed were also having the same ‘problem’. Phillip had inadvertently got into a Product-Out mentality – his process was working well, and he made sure that he met the requirements. Yet by fully understanding the needs of his internal customers, Phillip was able to rapidly change his process to produce a superior product, satisfy his customers, and play his part in improving the overall efficiency of the company.Version 1, 15 Sept 2009 2 of 5 Contact: This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License
  3. 3. MoSO Supporting Information The MoSO MoSO Cooperative Voice of the CustomerLanguage SkillsVoice of the Customer places a heavy emphasis on collecting, analysing, and understanding data.When we think of data we typically think of numbers. Yet when interacting with internal or externalcustomers (and colleagues), we predominantly use language data.Skilful collection and analysis of language data requires a basic knowledge of the tools & techniquesof semantics - such as being able to distinguish between Language of Affection and Language ofReport and skilful use of the Ladder of Abstraction. The book, Language in Thought and Action, byS.I. Hayakawa is the seminal work on this subject.Listening and questioning skills (based for example on Jiro Kawakita’s 5 Principles for collectingquantitative or language data) are also very important for VoC work. When coupled with semanticskills, we have the capability to exchange information & ideas and come to a common understandingof a situation – including customer expectations.Our language skills impact our capability to manage by facts.VoC ProcessesThe aim of VoC processes is not just to capture the customer’s written or explicitly statedrequirements, but to gain a deeper understanding of the issues and problems that the customer hasto deal with.By having this deeper understanding, we may be in a position to help our customers be moresuccessful in doing their job.There are numerous processes or practices associated with VoC. Putting a process in place changeswhat is often thought of as an ad-hoc or by-chance activity into an agreed way of working that canbe systematically repeated and improved – building essential skills and organisational capability.Four generic processes are outlined here – covering the scale from relatively simple (able to becarried out by all employees if given the basic language skills), to the very complex (typically carriedout by experts – either internal or external to the organisation) 1. Customer Discussion / Interview: Typically internal to the organisation. Discussions are held with staff from a ‘customer’ department. Basic language and listening skills are used to discover present and future needs – and possibly to get the facts associated with adverse performance (errors, defects, tardy response, etc.). 2. Customer Visitation (VoC) Process: A well documented step-by-step process for carrying out customer visitations with a specific aim in mind – e.g. understanding the customer’s current environment and challenges, discovering new product requirements, reviewingVersion 1, 15 Sept 2009 3 of 5 Contact: This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License
  4. 4. MoSO Supporting Information The MoSO MoSO Cooperative Voice of the Customer service level agreements and performance, and problem resolution. This is definitely not a sales related process. Typical steps could be: Describe the Purpose for the VOC Activity Prepare for the Customer Visit (select customers; develop interview script) Conduct the Customer Interview (ideally Face-to-Face, but alternatively by telephone/Internet where customer contacts are distant or geographically dispersed) Analyze the VOC Data (e.g. using a Language Processing diagram and numerically, where appropriate) Develop, Implement, and Monitor an Action Plan (check with the customer) Reflect on the Process (STUDY the process and ACT to improve it based on actual experience) 3. Kano Method: A method to investigate the characteristics of customer requirements developed by Professor Noriaki Kano of Tokyo Rika University. This method seeks to differentiate between Must-be, One-dimensional, and Attractive customer requirements. This type of differentiation, based on the responses to a questionnaire, is useful when defining what customers really need and are willing to pay for – as opposed to ‘would be nice’ but will not pay for. 4. QFD: Quality Function Deployment process. Often a complex process typically used for translating the voice of the customer into high quality products. Key customer product requirements are identified and operationally defined. Used extensively in the motor car industry.A Word about Customer SurveysVoice of the Customer data can be collected by means of a questionnaire (survey) or by interview –which has been the preferred process discussed in this article (excluding the specially formulatedKano Questionnaire). Whilst surveys can be a very valuable tool in search for the Voice of theCustomer, in the view of the author, they do have limitations.Some organisations use an initial survey to highlight possible areas of concern, and then useinterviews – often in the customers’ work environment - to get the underlying facts / data.Breakthrough Management - When Not to Listen to Your CustomersDr Ishikawa is quoted as saying, The customer is king but sometimes blind (perhaps to otherpossibilities or future needs of your organisation).To survive, organisations may need to explore completely new products or even a completelydifferent strategic direction or new ways of working. These ‘breakthroughs’ may be seen by currentVersion 1, 15 Sept 2009 4 of 5 Contact: This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License
  5. 5. MoSO Supporting Information The MoSO MoSO Cooperative Voice of the Customercustomers (both internal and external) as being contrary to their best interests and have beenknown to try to prevent breakthrough from taking place.Self Examining QuestionsIt is hoped that the following open questions will stimulate and assist reflection on the use of Voiceof the Customer: 1. Do I/we know who our customers are (both internal and external)? 2. Do I/we truly know the needs and expectations of our customers – both now and in the future 3. What is the predominant culture in my/our organisation – Product-Out or Market-In? 4. Do I/we have the basic language skills to accurately capture the Voice of the Customer? 5. Do I/we have the appropriate Voice of the Customer processes in place? 6. Do I/we understand that to deliver excellent performance, it is necessary to bring the Voice of the Process into alignment with the Voice of the Customer? (See Voice of the Process)Want to know more about Voice of the Customer?The following books are recommended:S.I. Hayakawa and Alan R. Hayakawa. Language in Thought and Action. Harcourt Brace & Company.Shoji Sheba, David Walden. Four Practical Revolutions in Management – Systems for Creating UniqueOrganizational Capability. Productivity Press. Specifically: Chapters 4 and 5 relating to Customer Focus and Proactive Improvement Chapter 27 for more information about Breakthrough ManagementSee also MoSO button ‘Voice of the Process’.Glossary of Terms:o Voice of the Process defines what you will get from a process / systemo Voice of the Customer defines what you wanto For our purposes, Semantics is the study of how people use language to communicateo An ‘Internal’ customer refers to the people or processes that receive or use the result of our work – be it a product or service.o Breakthrough Management refers to a systemic approach to the exploration of significantly new directions or horizons needed to sustain the organisation. Breakthrough could be in processes, technologies, the way a business operates or a totally new business area.Version 1, 15 Sept 2009 5 of 5 Contact: This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License