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VOC (Voice of Customer) the WOC (Woes of Customer)


Organizations involve in many upstream engagement activities like great product demo, road shows, white papers, catch lines, attractive ads and trade shows et all. After the contract is signed with prospective customer many small and medium enterprises organization that do not live up to the promises made cannot sustain for long in the business. Reasons are many. Ineffective communication between Presales, marketing teams with delivery teams is the major factor in failing to meet customer expectations. There are other reasons like inability to capture customer undefined expectations, non functional, performance, domain specific and safety requirements et all.

Customers particularly the end customers are interested on how the product / service will satisfy his expected and intended requirements rather than any white papers / case studies. We can take lessons from giants like Toyota and other BIG players like Ford, GM and Chrysler on how they implemented the TPS and continuous improvements in their plants by considering the entire Supply chain elements from vendors to end customers. Their checkpoints, rigorous inspection before delivery, feedback surveys and focus group analysis target the real time user experience and incorporate the feedbacks on continuous basis into the product design and evolution. The feel that the customer has on his experience of using the products of these great companies is converted into quantifiable requirements by Business group. These requirements get transformed into user design and finally product is rolled out. Rigorous inspection and testing takes place to validate multiple parameters of all customers and stakeholders. In spite of working on the upstream activities before production, on few occasions there will be some defects after the products reach end customer. Their extensive networks of after sales service takes care of even the few impacted customers and ensures that these companies really are seen as partners in progress for their customers. Customer remains loyal to companies who serve them with real intent of meeting and exceeding their needs and wants.

The IT industries particularly SMEs (Small and Medium enterprises) can learn from these invaluable customer experience patterns of Manufacturing practices particularly from Auto Industries and should develop a systems that focus on Upstream activities like Solid Architecture and a great design and evolutionary feedback systems that continuously take  inputs from the downstream activities to become better on a constant basis. Customer experience from various segments and domains should be captured and senior management should commit to remove the woes of customer by designing the initial phases of the product development in a thought out manner. If we want VOC (Voice of Customer) to be positive and delight to us we should consider eliminating the WOC (woes of customer) in the upstream activities itself.


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