Voice of the Customer and Lean: An Essential Guide

Customer acquisition is but the start of a long journey. Businesses work hard to retain customers considering the higher costs of acquiring new customers. Understanding what your customers need at a particular point in time should be your priority. 

Businesses should ask customers what they feel about their products and how they could be improved for the better. Customer journeys need to be mapped in their entirety, to trace customer interactions from across touchpoints. 

What is the Voice of the Customer?

The parameter that helps companies understand the dislikes, preferences, desires, needs, and opinions of their customers is the voice of the customer (VOC). It may be about your products, product type, and your company itself.

There are several ways to collect the voice of the customer, and these include surveys, online questionnaires, feedback forms, and even face-to-face meetings. VOC is not a one-time process, it is a continuous endeavor that should be ongoing. Businesses should strive to know the VOC of both existing and new customers.

Social media is a great place to gather data pertaining to the VOC, as most customers share their views and experiences with products and services on social media platforms.

What is Lean?

Lean is a philosophy that essentially derives from manufacturing and aims to reduce wastes and increase the value delivered to customers. Wastes are any processes that don’t contribute any value, and include waiting times, overproduction, inventory management issues, overprocessing, unnecessary motion, rework, etc.

Lean is basically a mindset that encourages brands to foster a continuous improvement culture where everyone from across the hierarchy works together to mitigate challenges.

How Lean Uses VOC to Improve Value

Lean Six Sigma uses VOC to mean the expectations and preferences of customers with regard to the services and products offered by a company. At the heart of Lean is a relentless focus on delivery value to customers, and cutting down everything unnecessary. Lean emphasizes the need to understand who your customers are and what they want to be able to improve your offerings. In fact, lean begins with VOC.

It’s important to note that customer preferences and expectations change with time, so this mandates brands to constantly innovate and find newer ways to meet dynamic VOC. Because lean is based on VOC, it never really ends. It’s an iterative cycle that optimizes business workflows in a consistent manner.

Voice of the Customer and Lean: The Inextricable Ties

Once customer needs are understood, rather than presumed, Lean can begin to work on systematically eliminating wastes to ensure businesses can achieve profit, productivity, and value delivery targets, every single time. The result is higher customer satisfaction and greater customer lifetime value.


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